I am about to buy my new rig coming up here soon and I was wondering if I should buy a sound card or stick to onboard audio, the computer is made for gaming. I have never had a sound card in the past, so that is why I am asking this question here. Is the quality/performance of the sound that better considering the price that it costs? Recommendations on a sound card are welcome. I would really like to avoid that Creative bullshit with the drivers on Vista 64Bit, unless they resolved that already. I don't know of any good sound cards besides the ones made by Creative, except for the Razer Barracudda of course, for the bargain price of $300!
I want your soul...Seriously..
22nd August 2008
A sound card is where you plug in your speakers (duh), but alows it at much better quality. Sound Cards make a enourmus difference compared to most onboard audio. Creative makes some of the best end quality, but there are also plenty of other options. This link here will give you more of what you are looking for: Newegg.com - Sound Cards, Audio Sound Card, Creative Labs Sound Cards, USB Sound Card, 5.1 Sound Cards, External Sound Cards, PCI sound Cards Also, soundcards do make a big difference. The higher quality ones play aduio at much cleaner levels as do to others, and most alow you to use 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound. Hope this helps yeah.
DawnOfDiablo666;4587621most alow you to use 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound. Hope this helps yeah.
Uhm.. You can already use 5.1 surround sound with onboard audio I believe...
Lord of the Peach
19th April 2004
A separate sound card allows your computer to offload the audio processing to a separate card. Your CPU will not have to process audio and you can see a small bump in performance. Sound cards have better audio processing abilities than the integrated sound processor.
Pethegreat;4587641A separate sound card allows your computer to offload the audio processing to a separate card. Your CPU will not have to process audio and you can see a small bump in performance. Sound cards have better audio processing abilities than the integrated sound processor.
Yeah I am aware of that, but I am wondering if the price is worth the performance and sound quality increase, if there isn't a whole big difference then I won't bother. Also I doubt I would need the performance increase anyway, it is a very high grade computer that I am building.
1st January 2005
It depends a lot on how good your speakers are. If you have crap speakers you're never going to get the full potential out of a sound card. When you've got decent speakers though that can produce deep tight bass and accurate extended high frequencies, it's quite a big difference using a good sound card.
Pro-Filer thinks I'm cool!!
10th May 2008
Also depends on what all you want. I've always used Creative cards over the years and although they have had their share of driver issues and taking forever to update them. Overall they are good cards and if don't need a whole bunch of extra crap. Just buy the OEM version with just the card itself. I have an XFI Platinum and I'm glad to have it. Plus since my system isn't the latest and greatest, it's always helped to have a good sound card handle all the audio processing. Plus I record too and with this I can record flawlessly in 24-bit 96hz. If I were to built another machine. I would go SLI setup and get the newer PCI-Express XFI sound card. And disable any onboard crap. Not only does a good card make a difference, but I've always noticed with onboard audio cards, their drivers and software is such crap. The software will give you next to nothing for options. I can't stand a sound card where I can't change the bass/treble settings in Windows. Another reason I went with a "Platinum" card was, I also use Optical IN/OUT which most cards don't have. I've had a few motherboards that had it, but it was buggy at best and it had cracking sounds and delays to it being software driven. Even ones like RealTek or SoundMax-HD are total crap. They don't even have good support for Vista. My friend has a $200 ASUS board with all the goodies and SoundMax-HD 8 channel sound on it. Neither of us could get the analog 5.1 to work to save out lives. With me being a computer tech, none the less it just had too many problems. I got him a XFI PCI-Express and it's flawless, he was so happy. I got it from Newegg.com for a good price. He can now enjoy all his music, movies, games in 5.1 without any problems.
Trust me, I'm a Doctor
25th November 2003
I would recommend a M-Audio Revolution 5.1, but i have no idea on what the driver support for Vista is like for them.
1st January 2005
Apollo75;4587926I would recommend a M-Audio Revolution 5.1, but i have no idea on what the driver support for Vista is like for them.
That's the card I have, bought it for just under $70 nearly 4 yrs ago. They stopped making it a while back though and last I checked nobody had them anymore. It won't record software sound sources though so for now I'm stuck with crappy Realtek AC/97 onboard for Fraps recordings.
As mentioned it depends what you want. IMO if you really want to do a lot of things well sound wise, you almost have to get 2 cards anymore, esp if you like good quality analog sound. Most of the high end sound cards anymore have solid state capacitors, which play loud and last long due to less heat, but they don't have the warmth and depth in the midrange and bass that old style large slit foil capacitors have.
I'm seriously considering getting a Creative Titanium Pro for gaming and Fraps recordings, and an Audiotrak Prodigy for music, movies and HDTV. The Titanium doesn't seem to have the crackle and pop problem the PCI Creative cards have and since it will mount in a Pci Ex 1x slot I'd only need 1 spare PCI slot. That would probably even mean the option to go SLI and still have room for it all.
The Prodigy not only has massive slit foil caps, you can upgrade it's opamps. Lots of people are just getting a couple Burr Browns for the two front channels so their stereo music has better sound. Even stock the Prodigy sounds about as good (if not better in bass due to those caps) as the M-Audio because it uses the same JRC opamps. Having the option to upgrade them just gives you the ability to get a bit more audiophile grade sound.
The Prodigy also has the same VIA Envy24HT DSP as the M-Audio mentioned btw, still the best consumer level one going, and getting harder to find. Many manufacturers are going with C-Media DSP instead now. Just look at the massive caps on this baby. [COLOR=Blue]Audiotrak Prodigy[/COLOR]
I tawt I taw a puddy tat...
30th December 2002
I have a love/hate relationship with my X-Fi Fatality. It's wonderful when it's working properly, but I have some conflict in XP where I occasionally get the "screech of death" upon loading windows. Haven't had a problem in Vista though.
While sorting out the soundcard issues, I tried using onboard for a bit but I couldn't deal with the much lower sound quality so I just deal with the occasional problem. The X-Fi's crystalizer feature really helps make my crap $80 speakers sound much, much better. I can only imagine how nice it would sound if I were using it to it's full potential with great speakers.
In a nutshell, spending $80-$150 on a soundcard can be well worth it.