HD Audio System Block Diagram

To date the signal flow of the typical PC has been poorly understood even by the engineers working on it. Until the publication of this block diagram, this information was not available as a whole, especially when viewed as an entire system including software and hardware.

This a block diagram of an entire Windows XP subsystem. As far as we know, this is the only such block diagram available for any computer. For Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 the blue section in the center will be different, but the other layers are pretty much the same. The one exception is that the SPDIF output, if present, will be treated by newer OSes as an additional independent endpoint on the system, and will not be coupled to the analog output.

Audio Design Line has published How the Intel HD Audio system works taken from Chapter 9 of the HD Audio book by Intel Press. This chapter documents the details of the signal flow as shown in this block diagram, plus a few new Windows 7 scenarios. Optimal Sound can provide this same level of detail for your Windows systems, in the form of training in signal flow for Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1, or in the form of customized signal flow charts for your product.

Optimal Sound can teach you and your team how to understand the entire signal flow through the PC, and what kinds of signal degradation are possible at each stage, both analog and digital. Contact us for more details.

Download a high-resolution version of this wall chart, suitable for printing as 11" x 17".

HD Audio Wall Chart