Are they worth it?
As you'll know by know I'm in the process of setting up a Full HD Home Theater PC. I've been thinking about getting a dedicated soundcard to put into one of the PCI slots I don't have. From everything I've read they arn't really worth it. (Is a dedicated sound card worth the money? - Overclockers Forums) But I'll seek the advice of the sound gurus.
I've always found onboard sound to be more then fine for games and movies, but with my decent speaker setup Logitech X530 and a decent sound card, would I see a worthwhile increase in quality levels?
If you think I will, which sound cards from this list...http://www.msy.com.au/Parts/PARTS.pdf Would be best? (Top, Middle, Second Page)
If its not on there I can have a look at our works suppliers, but I'd much rather MSY this time... I've brought heaps through work at the moment and should probably slow down a bit lol :uhm:
Yes, but if you're still going to use those X530 speakers don't bother. They're not decent, and using a better (dedicated) sound card won't improve them.
I'll ignore what you said about the speakers, Only because they've won many awards for top of the line speakers in their class. And the fact they distort <10% at max volume makes a big difference Considering they were worth 200 when I got them, and continue to remain at 130, and they are some of the best selling Logitech 5.1 speakers, They obviously do something right
You can get them for $60 AUD now and quite frankly considering that the RRP is $150 AUD if you paid $200 for them then...well, do I really need to say more?
Actually, yes I do: Best in class at $60 doesn't mean much.
Are they worth it?
Um. Was that a serious question?
Yes, your going to notice a significant difference in sound quality with a (decent) dedicated card compared to an onboard AC97 chipset assuming your not deaf. Your probably not going to notice as much of a difference as if you had a decent set of speakers or headphones, but you should notice a difference.
Your probably never going to be able to turn your speaker set up to decent levels anyway without annoying people, I would just get yourself a decent set of senheiser headphones along with your sound card upgrade. They have great sound quality, they last for ages and they sell individual spare parts so you can repair them. Personally, I like my set of HD650's, the sound quality you get from them is beyond comparison to what you get from a cheap set of speakers with an onboard sound card.
With the new HD onboard sound processors my main reason for running a sound card was hardware acceleration.
When Microsoft removed hardware sound acceleration with DX10 I no longer bothered running a sound card in Vista.
@Freyer Cranking up my speakers doesn't matter, aslong as I shut my bedroom door if the parents are in bed or watching TV Btw, AZILA (Or W/E the Frick it is) I opted for using HD audio rather then AC97 lol It does sound a tiny bit better, but not to much
Right, well bashing aside the point is that yes dedicated sound cards are worth it, but unless you've got the speakers to back it up you won't reap the full benefit. You need both parts to complement each other. Otherwise it's like playing games on a system with a QX9775 processor coupled with a GeForce 7300LE.
How are the Creative cards doing with Vista now? I am using on-board audio atm, but have an Audigy zs2 from my old XP box.
Well I'm not about to waste money on more speakers, especially when the ones I have are perfectly fine. I've had them since day 1 and they've done me well, it'd be like selling my new computer just to get better sound :( I may consider getting a new Sound Card, but I'll get a new case first. Probably the Coolermaster HAF 932 or Cosmos RC1100