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Are sound cards important?

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Soylent Joe, Jun 1, 2009.

  1. Soylent Joe

    Soylent Joe New Member

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    I just have a couple more things to buy for my gaming rig, and it will be done. I want to know if it's important to have a dedicated sound card in a PC. I know, you don't need one whatsoever to get sound, but what benefits do you get from them? I don't have any real surround-sound headphones (just a cheap plantronics headset) although I do have a 5.1 surround sound speaker system I can connect to the PC. I've never had the 5.1 on a sound card before, but it's always sounded pretty surrounding to me. You know, if something makes a noise in-game behind you, you hear it behind you, so they work find with just the motherboard's sound.

    -SJ
     
  2. Sir_Real

    Sir_Real New Member

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    Almost all motherboards already have perfectly good onboard sound. So no a dedicated sound card is not important. ( Unless you really want top sound quality )
     
  3. DreamSeller Guest

    i read somewhere that if u buy a dedicated sound card u take stress off the cpu i'm not sure but that might be true ;) and if u plan to use the 5.1 system i think it will sound much better:rockout:
     
  4. tigger

    tigger I'm the only one

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    With modern multicore cpu's it dont really matter about onboard sound using a small % of cpu cycles.
     
  5. Sir_Real

    Sir_Real New Member

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    I dont know if things have changed but i remember i had a Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 7.1 in my old P4 rig. Had to remove it & go bak to onboard 3.1 sound. With the sound card in i lost around 10% fps when gaming !

    But yeah as tigger says sound isn't going to bogg down a multcore.
     
  6. department76

    department76 New Member

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    ya it will take stress of the cpu, but that was much more important back in the single core 2ghz days. now, i'm not sure a soundcard would make a noticable performance difference at all.

    but yes, if you're after top SQ and/or want some additional features like surround encoding to make use of digital i/o then by all means start shopping.
     
  7. Soylent Joe

    Soylent Joe New Member

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    Alright. Well, a sound card is something you can always get down the road. If I hook up the speakers to it and it sounds crappy, I might get one.
     
  8. DreamSeller Guest

    yup;)
     
  9. DaveK

    DaveK

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    I've never looked back after getting my X-Fi Platinum, it really makes a difference even on my 30w speakers.
     
  10. twilyth Guest

    I got a little kit with electro-magnets mounted on a baseball cap. These are controlled by the output from my sound card. So if you're going to screw around with your brain chemistry, it's pretty important. Of course in my case the damage is already done so I'm using the cheesy onboard audio. :toast:
     
  11. CJCerny

    CJCerny

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    I think a lot depends on whether or not the games you frequently play support EAX 3-5. If they do, you'll want a soundcard that also supports them. If you don't--and most games, especially new ones, do not have EAX 3-5 support--then the only thing you would be getting from a sound card would be maybe a few extra FPS and a little better sound quality.
     
  12. JATownes

    JATownes

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    I might carry the minority opinion, but I love my Razer Barracuda Soundcard and would never go back to onboard sound. :rockout: If you have the extra slot...why not...but be careful, as they can interfere with spacing of triple crossfire.
     
  13. hat

    hat Maximum Overclocker

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    You're going to need a better video card for that computer, and, in turn, a better power supply... trust me, I ran an integrated 8100 for the longest time, it was horrible. Also, even with an 8500gt, everything still pretty much sucked. Get yourself at least a 9600gt and a respectable power supply.
     
    Crunching for Team TPU
  14. Geofrancis

    Geofrancis

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    most people who have used a decent sound card will tell you how bad onboard audio is. you notice it mostly when the volume turned up and there is nothing on you will hear crackling, buzzing and popping caused by electromagnetic interference from other components on the motherboard. using a dedicated soundcard eliminates this.

    i just sold my audigy 2 and i regretted it immediately.
     
  15. Stearic New Member

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    I am running a beaten old Audigy 2 in the gaming rig, and with a pair of 2.1 Logitech X230 speakers, it's a passable combo. The high levels of ambient noise in my environment and the lack of space for setting up 5.1 speakers dissuade me from investing more in the audio dept. I use my headphones (reasonably good) most of the time when gaming.

    If you are in a good listening enviroment with a set of good 5.1 speakers, then it's definitely worthwhile to get a decent soundcard. I've heard the Logitech Z5500s connected to one of the high end creative cards, and they sounded awesome. You could hear every nuance of the audio in the game and the surround effect was really immersive.
     
  16. Stearic New Member

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    I second this. I've noticed this too, and the effect is magnified when you use headphones.
    Even an old Audigy 2 is better than the on-board sound IMHO.
     
  17. Reventon

    Reventon New Member

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    It's not too important. The only reason it'd be needed much is if you wanted everything to be really loud and crystal clear. In which case some expensive speakers would do well too.
     
  18. Tau

    Tau New Member

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    A soundcard takes the slight overhead off the CPU, though anything faster than a P4 and i doubt you would see any real life performance.

    If you like how onboard sounds dont waste the money, on the other hand if you have $800+ of audio kit you already have a better soundcard ;)
     
  19. Darknova

    Darknova

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    Same here. I was creating a set of modded drivers for the Barracuda (Razers last drivers are WAY too old), and I was also messing about with an Auzentech X-plosion and my onboard. There was just no contest, the X-plosion was SLIGHTLY better than onboard, but the Barracuda was head and shoulders above them both.

    Personally I won't use onboard anymore, I have to have a discrete card.
     
  20. Naekuh

    Naekuh New Member

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    a friend a long time ago told me, that the difference between onboard and dedicated is determined when you use really nice amplifiers to connect your sound card.

    Also if you use more then 3 speaker setups, sound card comes nice because of features like EAX on creative cards.

    Other then that, dedicated sound cards are kinda pointless when we have quadcore processors, because the old arguement, it saves process tree's dont apply anymore when you have excess.
     
  21. ste2425

    ste2425

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    ever since i got my mixer ive never looked back o onboard audio, yes my on board supports 5.1 and my mixer is just stereo bu the sound quality from a dedicated card is hugly different. Explosions rock my floor now the high end's allot crisper and it no longer makes me cringe every time i hear a crash cymbal but not only that the actual audio artifacts as a way of putting it are no longer there. Say when someone turned a light on down stairs my sound would make a pop noise with on board coz its the same circuit and thats the way sound works with electric but thanks to my mixer i dnt get any of that. Plus you get EAX support with a dedicated card wich i dnt think u get with on board
     
  22. trickson

    trickson OH, I have such a headache

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    I do not think they are as most every mobo I have had has a great sound card built into it any way why spend , more and get the same ?
     
  23. intel igent

    intel igent New Member

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    my opinion, YES sound card is important. how much you value your sound is up to you ;)

    you can get $50 sound card or $500 sound card :)

    i don't care what anyone say's; the more my CPU can concentrate on being a CPU and not deciphering audio/video code the better it will be and the happier i will be :toast:
     
  24. Naekuh

    Naekuh New Member

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    what if your one of the freaks like i am who has 8 threads at there disposal? and less then 3 is always being used? Then the "extra processesing" power is pointless. Even the kentsfield and Yorkfield days, programs just started coming out for quadcores.

    Also... i am willing to bet you will not hear the difference between onboard and dedicated sound card if you were playing them off a 2.1 channel speakers. Well not on the decient priced boards at least.
     
  25. ste2425

    ste2425

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    get the same? it is completally different its like saying you crnt hear the difference between an mp3 and a wav file, you deserve to be shot if thats the case. (and i no that most pc games audio is mp3 but the quality of the product and the algorythms used to encode the audio is far greater then your everyday home made stuff)

    and i say the same to...
    but then again i am doing a sound engineering course so i may just be very picky when it comes to sound lol
     

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