Nvidia High Definition Audio: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Nvidia High Definition Audio

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Nvidia has released its new line of graphics cards, the GeForce GTX 20 series. The company claims these cards offer the highest quality gaming experience ever.

But what does this mean for sound? Nvidia has always been known for producing some of the best video cards out there.

They also produce audio chipsets for PCs. Now they’re bringing their expertise to the audio space.

In this guide, we’re going to be taking you through everything you’ll want to know about Nvidia High Definition Audio.

We’ll explain what it is, how to set it up, and what it will mean for your gaming or general PC browsing experience!

What Is Nvidia High Definition Audio?

Nvidia HDA is a high-quality audio chip that’s designed specifically for use in computers with Nvidia GPUs.

It was first introduced back in 2013 as part of the GTX 700 Series of graphics cards. Since then, Nvidia has continued to release more and more products with HDA built into them.

Today, all Nvidia graphics cards come with an integrated HDA. So if you already own one of those graphics cards, you can skip straight to the next section. If not, read on for our full guide on installing and configuring Nvidia HDA.

How Does Nvidia High Definition Audio Work?

The basic idea behind HDA is simple: it takes the audio data from games, movies, music, etc., and converts it into digital signals so it can be played back over HDMI.

This means that when you play a game like Fortnite, the audio comes directly from the GPU instead of having to go through your motherboard.

Most motherboards don’t even support stereo output at all. That’s because the audio hardware inside the GPU is much better than anything else available on a motherboard.

The result is that you get higher-quality audio playback, especially when playing games. You can hear things like footsteps and gunfire in games that would normally just be muddled by other sounds coming from your computer.

And since the audio is being processed by the GPU, it doesn’t slow down the rest of your system. All of which makes HDA a great option for gamers who are looking to improve their audio performance.

Why Should I Use Nvidia High Definition Audio?

If you’ve got a good enough graphics card, why bother with HDA? Well, the answer is pretty obvious – HDA gives you better audio.

When you play a game, you want to be able to hear every little detail in the soundtrack. Whether it’s gunshots, explosions, or even voices, you need to be able to hear them. With HDA, you can do exactly that.

But that’s not the only reason to consider using HDA. There are two main reasons that people choose to use HDA over onboard audio.

First off, it’s usually cheaper. Most motherboards don’t include any sort of onboard audio hardware.

Instead, they rely on external devices like speakers and headphones to provide the audio. These external devices tend to cost quite a bit more than the HDA solution.

Many people prefer to keep the audio separate from the rest of their computer.

By doing this, you can easily mute the audio without affecting the rest of your system (which might be important if you’re watching something on YouTube).

So while it may seem like a hassle to install HDA, once you’ve done it, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.


Installing Nvidia High Definition Audio

Before we dive into the installation process, there are a few things you should know about HDA.

The first thing to note is that HDA isn’t compatible with SLI configurations. This means that if you wanted to run a pair of GeForce GTX 1080s in SLI mode, you’d have to buy a single card.

You also shouldn’t expect to find HDA on newer graphics cards. Nvidia stopped including it on their latest generation of cards, such as the RTX 20 series. However, there are still plenty of older cards out there that include HDA.

For example, the GeForce GTX 980 Ti has been around for years now, but it’s HDA version is no longer supported.

That said, if you’re lucky enough to own one of these older cards, you can still install HDA. Just make sure you follow the instructions carefully!



Install Drivers

Before you start installing HDA, you’ll need to download the drivers for your particular card. If you haven’t already, head over to our guide on how to install NVIDIA drivers. Once you’ve installed the driver, reboot your PC and then log back in.

Now that you’re logged back in, open up Device Manager. Look for an entry called “HD Audio Controller” under Sound, Video, and Game Controllers.

Right-click on it and select Update Driver Software. Then browse to where you saved the.exe file for your driver and click OK. Thereafter, restart your PC again.



Download And Extract Files

Now that you’ve updated your driver software, you’ll need to extract the files you downloaded earlier.

To do so, right-click on the.zip file and select Extract all…

From here, navigate to the folder where you extracted the files and double-click on the.inf file. It will automatically launch the Setup Wizard.

Follow the prompts until everything finishes successfully.



Select Your Audio Hardware

The next step involves configuring your motherboard to support HDA. To do this, you’ll need to go through each of the following steps.

First, look at your motherboard manual. Find the section labeled “Audio”.

You’ll see a list of items that you can configure. Click on each item and read the description to determine which ones you want to enable.

Some options may require you to press a button or enter some information before they become active. Make sure you understand what you’re enabling/disabling.

Next, check the box next to the option you just enabled. Now, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Save Settings.

Finally, close the window by clicking on the X icon. Now, restart your PC and try to play music. If it works, great! Otherwise, continue reading.




If you’re having trouble getting your sound working, you may need to tweak some settings. Go ahead and open up the Control Panel.

Here, you’ll be able to adjust various audio settings. Try adjusting the volume level, turning off any equalizers, and changing the output device.

Also, make sure that the speakers aren’t muted (if applicable).

If none of those work, you might need to change your system’s default audio device.

To do so, open up Windows Explorer and navigate to C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc. Open up the DefaultSoundDevice registry key and replace the value with something else.

We recommend using the name of your motherboard. So, if your motherboard is named ASUS Z97M-D3, use ASUS_Z97M-D3 as the new value. Restart your computer and test out the changes.

If the problem persists, try rebooting into Safe Mode. This should allow you to reset your audio settings without affecting other hardware.



Test Again

Once you get things set up correctly, you can test your sound by playing a song from Spotify or YouTube.

If you still have problems, follow these instructions to troubleshoot them further.



Tweak Volume Levels

There are two ways to increase the volume levels.

First, you can use the built-in Windows controls. These include the volume buttons on your keyboard and the slider located near the clock on your taskbar.

The second way is to use an external audio amplifier. These devices usually plug directly into your motherboard.

They typically come in three different sizes. Small amplifiers typically cost around $20-$40. Medium amplifiers can run between $50 and $100. Larger amplifiers can cost upwards of $200.

Regardless of how much money you spend, you should always buy the best quality product available. That said, many inexpensive alternatives will suffice for most users.


We hope that this guide has told you everything you need to know about Nvidia HDA. We also hope you now feel a lot more confident about what it is, why you might want to use it, and how to install it on your PC.

Furthermore, we also hope that we’ve helped you avoid some common pitfalls along the way. Good luck!

Kevin is the Editor of PC Guide. He has a broad interest and enthusiasm for consumer electronics, PCs and all things consumer tech - and more than 15 years experience in tech journalism.