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Does a sound card give better overall performance than onboard sound?

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by MiST91, Dec 17, 2006.

  1. MiST91 Guest

    I am building a new rig :) :cool: , the Abit motherboard has onboard 6 channel sound, and i found an oldish creative 4 channel sound card (i am pugging my pc into my sony stack system so it wouldn't matter if it was a 2000.1 channel sound card :wtf: ) will a sound card make the pc any faster than if it were using onboard sound?
     
  2. xylomn

    xylomn New Member

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    It will give a small performance benefit as the sound is offloaded from the cpu and processed bu ther sound card insted, not a massive perfromance improvement though
     
  3. Canuto

    Canuto New Member

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    Unless we're talking about a X-Fi Fatal1ty i hear the dif. can be up to 20fps in games.
     
  4. francis511

    francis511

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    usually a sound card is better(quality),but in that example teh onboard sounds better.
    does the card support 24-bit sound.thats a good reason to try a
    card.
     
  5. aximbigfan New Member

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    there will be a differnce. prolly not that noticeable, but a differnce non the less.


    chris
     
  6. GLD

    GLD

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    On my current system, before my 2ZS, BF2 wasn't so smooth now and then. After purchasing my sound card the game is flawless, (well besides any inherent EA problems). So a sound card (with a onboard audio processor) will offload the audio crunching from the cpu. It may not be alot of FPS difference in games, but it will take some of the burden off the ole' processor. I would say yes to a (good) sound card.
     
  7. ktr

    ktr

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    BF2 actually uses xram...but again, it does pull of the load from the cpu.
     
  8. GLD

    GLD

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    Damn ktr! You proved another wrong again? Any game can use Creatives X-ram. Does BF2 or any game need it?? Not that I am aware of. Any soundcard with an onboard audio processer is a different thing then X-ram. From what I have read, the jury is still out on weather or not the X-ram really is worth your (or your parents) hard earned money. I do know that the 2ZS has no X-ram but still has its own audio processor, so BF2 sound can be rendered by hardware rather then just sotware. Also, X-fi is different then X-ram, but i imagine you know that.
     
  9. AshenSugar

    AshenSugar New Member

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    acctualy newer onboard sound can use LESS cpu then an addin card good or otherwise, saw one report of cmedia and ADI onboard HD audio using less cpu then x-fi, audigy or via based cards.

    alot of game developers today are not using EAX above 2.0 because more and more people are sticking with onboard sound, also they can use alot of intresting fx using software mixing, things a fixed hardware mixer isnt that good for.

    my realtek hd audio and adi hd audio both are VERY good, better then the audigy zx/2/3 i have are, with current soundmax drivers the adi onboard(used by asus) uses less cpu then the audigy cards the only fx it dosnt support are beyond eax2.0, and they could support it, IF creative allowed 3rd party companys to support eax3-4-5 but thats a creative thing, they want to keep a reasion for people to buy their cards.

    oh and hd audio supports 24-bit and 192khz audio rendering, the best codec for hd audio is cmedia, the other 2 common ones adi and realtek are about even as long as you keep the drivers updated!!!
     
  10. AshenSugar

    AshenSugar New Member

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    http://www.soundmax.com/benchmarking.pdf

    adi chipsets/drivers use true eax2.0 according to creative.

    also cmedia drivers propery empliment eax2.0 as long as you download the current ones form their forums(sites updated rarely due to forums drivers being "beta".

    realtek uses eax2.0 in diffrent ways depending on how old the driver you use is, the latest ones give far better eax2 then older versions that come with your boards, its best to update to latest versions.

    there are some other ac97 codec makers that are used, but most have been abandoned because they dont perform as well and have far worse driver support with higher cpu use, also none of them meet hd audio requierments so newer boards arent likley to use them till they do.

    what onboard audio are you looking at using?
     
  11. INSTG8R

    INSTG8R

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    I would hope my X-Fi helps in offloading some CPU cycles and the X-RAM is being used(why I bloody well bought it)
     
  12. AshenSugar

    AshenSugar New Member

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    xram has yet to show any advantage from the reviews i have seen, so sorry you spend so much extra on an addin card to try and offload some cpu cycles and get xram, specly when in many cases good onboard hd audio uses LESS cpu then even an x-fi card :O
     
  13. INSTG8R

    INSTG8R

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    Nah I mean I didnt buy it expecting it too be a singing and dancing solution YET but I expected it to be more utilized in the future(barring the fact the MoBo Manuf. are making PCI slots fewer and less easy to use with anything else in the same area or they finally start making PCI-Ex1 Snd cards)if the latter becomes true THEN I will have wasted money on this.
    I had an Audigy 2 ZS and the difference in quality is truly staggering and I did try my Onbrd HD Audio and frankly it sounded like crap even compared to the Audigy(sounded like everything was in a plastic tube, and no this was flat, dry setup)I suppose if you have only ever used Onbrd Audio solutions HD may sound pretty good but when compared to a dedicated Snd Card they have NO comparison.
     
  14. AshenSugar

    AshenSugar New Member

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    i have addin cards abou 18 diffrent ones, your sound problems sound like 1 you used OLD drivers, probbly the first gen ones the board came with, 2, you didnt turn up audio acceleration in the audio sub panils.

    the diffrance from first gen realtek drivers and current ones is INSAIN, the cpu use is below 1% and the quility jumps dramaticly, do not expect board makers sites to have the latest drivers for your onboard sound, use realtek site OR http://www.softpedia.com for driver updates, there is a huge diffrance between older drivers and newer ones.

    also some board makers dont do a great job with onboard circutry, my boards with hd audio and good ac97 all come from makers who acctualy bother to do a good job. abit is normaly good but there quility since being bought out has gone down a good bit.

    honestly your problems most likely came from the drivers if ur talking about the board you have now.
     
  15. WarEagleAU

    WarEagleAU Bird of Prey

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    Only true Audiophiles can discern the difference in onboard sound and a soundcard. I prefer a sound card just so my pc has more time to due manly pc duties/chores. It will slow you down some in a game, and hardcore gamers hate this, thats why Creative has a niche in the soundcard market. With Asus and others (DFI) using the PCIe 1x slot (sometimes 4x) slot for Add in daughter cards, the noise and interference associated with onboard sound is pretty much eliminated (unless they leave the audio codec on the board, but thats a whole new can of worms) So in a word, yes, it will help your gaming. Enough to make a difference, depends on what you play. IF you play a physics, graphically intensive game that not only taxes your graphics card but also your cpu, then, unless its dual core (and even then Im not sure how much that helps) the CPU has to, while doing the previous task, switch to and also calculate the sound effects and all that, then it would slow you down. But as I digress, it all depends on what you play and what other stuff you have in your pc. Hope this helps.

    -The Eagle
     
  16. AshenSugar

    AshenSugar New Member

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    um less then 1% cpu use under current onboard audio isnt gonna make a notable diffrance to game perf, i have tested audigy1/2/3 as well as newer cmedia,via,and even an sblive against cmi9661a and 2 versions of hd audio, and with updated drivers the only diffrance is taht in some games(mostly older ones) you can enable eax3/4 support, anymore tho creatives niche is a loosing battle because game devs know real gamers are mostly sticking to onboard sound so they dont use eax3/4/5 they use openAL/eax2 and other methods to get the sound fx they want.

    oh and a true audiophile wouldnt get an x-fi they would go for an a http://www.auzentech.com/ card as they offer beter audiophile fetures :) like dolby digital live and such.
     
  17. WarEagleAU

    WarEagleAU Bird of Prey

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    OMFG! That card is sweet. And OMFG that card is 200 dollars ::faint:: Just reading the features on it makes it lurvely. I mean, a card that can output true sound to a digital surround sound receiver ::Drools:: I would love to take a crack at that card.

    How come I never seen this in one of my pc magazines being reviewed? Also, I never heard of Auzentech....interesting. I may wind up buying this card someway...... ::drool:::

    Thanks for the plug Ashen, its beautiful....

    -The Eagle
     
  18. Jeffredo

    Jeffredo

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    For whatever reason (age of mobo, attention to how the onboard was setup by the manufacturer) when I disabled the onboard Realtek AC97 and installed a Creative XtremeGamer X-Fi sound card not only did I get better sound but I did get about a 3-5 FPS boost in Oblivion (which in that game is a big boost). "Middle-aged" system yes (Athlon64 3700+, Nforce3 250 AGP mobo, two gigs of PC3700 RAM, 250 SATA HD, Nvidia 7800 GS AGP), but my Realtek drivers were up to date. The onboard sound was sub par and it caused popping and suttering in a graphically intensive game like Oblivion. The X-Fi card made a very nice difference in game play.
     
  19. WarEagleAU

    WarEagleAU Bird of Prey

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    so you see, i wasnt that wrong after all...haha!

    -the Eagle
     
  20. AshenSugar

    AshenSugar New Member

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    your on an OLD board pre- hd audio and OLD realtek chipset, the poping is normaly a driver issue in my exp but still, old realtek codecs pretty much sucked, had it been the vnf3-250 i had you wouldnt have had any problems with onboard sound, chaintech made a great choice using cmedia insted of realtek, cmedia has better support(via forums) then realtek and higher audio quility to boot!!!!

    WarEagleAU: hes got an OLD board using an even older realtek chipset, these are 2 totaly diffrent sound systems, hdaudio is not just an ac97 codec but uses chipset based hardware audio support(kinda like sound storm compared to ac97) your boards hd audio should be FAR better then his, as long as you installed the latest drivers.

    and oblivion is horribly unoptimized, but for me 3-5fps isnt gonna make the game more or less playable, god i love my system.
     
  21. GLD

    GLD

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    The only one who is wrong is the one who is always right, about every damn thing. (And its not you Eagle that im talking about)
     
  22. MiST91 Guest

    thanks guys for you replys, i am not sure of the sound card model, but i may as well use the sound card, even if it only gives me a 0.01% performance boost, it's still somthing
     
  23. niko084

    niko084

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    Well be careful of which sound card you choose at that point, for the performance gain, like my audigy actually slows down my machine, if I have the support software running, which I always do. But now its so little that it just doesn't matter.
     
  24. Ketxxx

    Ketxxx Heedless Psychic

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    its largely driver related. soundcard or onboard, typically neither will have cpu usage varying that much, an actual soundcard just might give you better quality sound, but that again depends on drivers and the quality of the onboard in the first place. buying decent speakers will always have a more noticable impact than changing the soundcard itself. with the arrival of HD audio as well, add-in soundcards are all but a thing of the past really, only thing to watch for is proper implementation of the onboard sound chip and decent drivers.
     
  25. WarEagleAU

    WarEagleAU Bird of Prey

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    HAHA! I stand corrected. Its all moot anyways as its a personal preference. I love sound cards, and Id like to get my hands on that one Ashensugar talked about ::drool:::


    -The Eagle
     

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