Via unveiled the Envy24HT audio chip at the Computex trade show in Taipei yesterday, promising top notch quality, truly immersive surround sound and extensive expansion capability.

The new controller can handle sample rates up to 192KHz and provides 24-bit resolution, stepping firmly on the toes of Creative's Audigy. Creative dominates the PC audio market and has seen off many a contender to its crown.

There's full support for 5.1, 6.1 or even 7.1 surround sound, with a total of 10 output streams. Home musicians will also be pleased to see four simultaneous inputs, providing plenty of channels to play with.

The built in 23-pin GPIO (General Purpose Input Output) enables external Live Drive-style break out boxes — another poke in Creative's eye — so the connectors can be mounted at the front of the PC, which means you don’t have to go scrabbling around the back to plug something in.

Via won't actually make cards employing the controller, but it's working with some big names to bring it to the market. Interested companies include M-Audio, Terratec, Altec Lansing and ESI.

To find out if it sounds as good as it looks, keep an eye out for a full review as soon as we can get our hands on a card.