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Is buying a sound card necessary

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by u2konline, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. u2konline

    u2konline

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  2. Frick

    Frick Fishfaced Nincompoop

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    Improves performance how? It sounds silly.
     
  3. KainXS

    KainXS

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    that card might be worst than your onboard, keep using your onboard
     
  4. Jansku07 New Member

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    It's supposed to move some of the load (sound does take some horsepower) from the onboard sound to external card which gives a performance boost.

    In reality (in my opinion) the performance boost is very neglible and in this case when there isn't any specific need and the onboard sound works without a hitch it's not worth it. Espesicially when the product in question isn't anything special.
     
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  5. DarkEgo

    DarkEgo

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    It could improve performance because it is taking the stress of rendering the audio off off of the CPU. Having said that it usually doesn't improve performance because modern processors are so powerful. It does however make audio sound a lot better.
     
  6. LittleLizard

    LittleLizard

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    unless you are an audiophile or have a good pair of headphones, then no.
     
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  7. KainXS

    KainXS

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    what he said lol
     
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  8. CDdude55

    CDdude55 Crazy 4 TPU!!!

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    I never found a reason for getting a sound card when the onboard sound sounds fine. So no you don't need it, but it does supposedly offer more clear and crisper sound quality.
     
  9. DaveK

    DaveK

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    Don't know about performance as I don't care, but it does however make your audio sound better, which is what I care about.
     
  10. Frick

    Frick Fishfaced Nincompoop

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    But not the card he linked to.
     
  11. MN12BIRD

    MN12BIRD

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    Yes a high end sound card with TRUE hardware based decoding can improve performance slightly in some games by offloading some decoding work from the CPU. This would be such a small amount of work it might not even be noticeable with today's processors! Best case scenario would be a game and soundcard combo with true hardware EAX support vs one with software emulation using your CPU to decode all the surround channels and effects. Its possible to gain a few FPS in this example as the processor on the sound card is doing the EAX decoding instead of your CPU. This would free up a few clock cycles for the CPU to do other things like graphics or physics etc. But a few FPS is hardly anything to get excited about and these days less and less games support true EAX hardware IIRC.

    But cheap sound cards like the one you are looking at do NOT have any hardware based decoding. In fact most of them use similar chipsets to the sound hardware already on your motherboard. They are more or less for replacing onboard sound that has gone bad. They also have cheap or minimalistic pre amp and filter hardware just like your onboard sound so they won't really sound any better either.

    Basically if you are going to replace the onboard sound you need to do it with a high end sound card otherwise its pointless.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2009
  12. Lionheart

    Lionheart

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    I think it will only make a difference if you get one of those Creative sound blaster cards, they are the only ones worth buying if ur really desperate or rich! :D:eek::roll::rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2009
  13. DanishDevil

    DanishDevil

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    Agreed with these points:

    A sound card with a decent audio processor built to do most of the audio processing will increase your system performance (i.e. 10% > 5% CPU Utilization).

    Buying a sound card isn't worth it unless you're an audiophile.

    Here's an easy test: How much are you willing to spend on speakers + sound card? If it's $200 or more, then you need a sound card. If it's less than $200, you're probably going to be happy with onboard and a cheaper set of speakers.
     
  14. AphexDreamer

    AphexDreamer

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    Well from my experience and research. If you get an expensive high quality sound card like an X-Fi Titanium or the likes it can take the load of Sound Processing off of your CPU.

    If you get a crappy cheap sound card like an Audigy Sound Blaster SE then your CPU is still doing the work and it doesn't even have onboard RAM on cards like that compared to the X-Fi line, which can have 4MB to 64MB of dedicated RAM which help aid in the DSP.

    Your onboard is probably just as good if not better than a cheap sound card these days, especially if its a modern board. However if your board does only 5.1 Surround Sound and your looking for 7.1, then a cheap sound card that offers that would be a good buy.
     
  15. u2konline

    u2konline

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    Thanks for all the information, guess i will save that 20 dollars. And pick up GTA 4 :)
    Because my onboard sound is working perfectly, no issues :)
    Just to let you guys know, that diamond card is a really good card for the price, but yea i guess its not point in buying it.
     
  16. Chicken Patty

    Chicken Patty WCG Moderator Staff Member

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    I must say and some of you know this from the rate the system above you thread. I didn't believe in sound cards. everybody bugged me about it until I bought a used x-fi on here. I will now tell you I will never go back to onboard. It DOES increase performance as the CPU now does not have to do nothing with the audio and it is handled by the sound card. not only that, it sounds 10523054054 times better than the onboard on my x58 board which is pretty darn good!
     
  17. Kursah

    Kursah

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    I definitely agree...I wouldn't have an add-in sound card had my onboard not died on my ooold P5B Deluxe years ago...and the replacement was a fairly cheap $50 X-Fi Xtreme Audio, which was worlds better than any onboard at that time that I listened to and still to this day is a marked improvement. I eventually splurged on an Auzen X-Fi Forte, which had all the X-Fi goodies, better and cleaner output and a headphone amp built in...I couldn't be happier and I can't stand going back to onboard. Doesn't mean I have the best or most expensive headphones or speakers, the difference was noticable on cheaper stuff too...again much improved.

    But getting a super cheap sound card like that diamond might reap minimal and not necessarily value-worthy rewards...tbh, that low end X-Fi I used to run was a solid performer with driver issues many complained about being a rarity for my uses. If you wanna replace onboard, get something better than onboard, it won't be cheap, but if you like better sound, it can be worth it. On the performance end, meh...I don't really worry about it with modern hardware, but being able to enjoy my audio on my PC much, much more than with onboard, is where I find the value.
     
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  18. CDdude55

    CDdude55 Crazy 4 TPU!!!

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    I need to try a sound card one day, i just don't see how you could improve audio to the point where it would be noticeable. Plus i use regular speakers with some crappy CD player type headphones, so i don't think it would make a difference for me or for others that don't have ''highend'' headsets/speakers.
     
  19. Kursah

    Kursah

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    I use a set of $30 refurbished Logitech X-230's I've had for years and a $33 pair of JVC HARX700 headphones (though tbh, they compete with headphones in the $100-200 range from what many state, they definitely compete with my $100 JVC HADX3's) primarily...the difference was VERY noticable to my ears...clearer, more crisp, better bass and treble, better EQ control and more noticable EQ modulation, much improved output. It's not a necessity by any means, but if you listen to a lot of audio on your rig, it can be worth it.
     
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  20. Chicken Patty

    Chicken Patty WCG Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree with you also. But my card new is $90. I got it for like $40 I believe. If you shop around you can still waste just a few bucks and get a card that will make a huge impact on sound.

    Dude, I think the biggest difference with the sound card were my headphones. They sound soo much louder and clearer. Plus at least my sound card simulates surround sound with headphones so if you game, set it on gaming mode and bro headphones never sounded this good.

    As far as improving audio, you just gotta try it bro. Movies now have sounds you never heard before, and the surround capabilities is just insane. It's one of these things that you have to see for yourself.
     
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  21. ERazer

    ERazer

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    pretty happy with my onboard SB:) thats bc got no room for addin SB:banghead:
     
  22. KainXS

    KainXS

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    there you go GTA4, good 20 bucks spent, but if you do upgrade later, pick up an audigy se or value for like 5 bucks off ebay or something and install x-fi xtreme audio drivers on it.
     
  23. Chryonn

    Chryonn

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    i own an Audigy 2 Pro Platinum (ancient i know) but i'd still pick dedicated to on-board. currently my board is off being replaced and i had to dig out an old machine to at least keep me sane while i waited. i've turned on the on-board and while it does its job, the sounds are flat sometimes.
    if i ever sell off or throw away my Aud 2 i'd go with whatever SB have currently on offer.
     
  24. DaveK

    DaveK

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    I have 2.1 Dell 30w speakers that I got with my PC like 4 years ago and my $90 Skullcandy headphones, both sound better with my X-Fi Platinum.
     
  25. Zubasa

    Zubasa

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    I personally will not go for a Creative card anymore. The "performance improvement" is cancel out by their crappy drivers and bloatware.
    I am saving up for a good Xonar and kick ass my XtremeLoser.

    The point is any half decent soundcards are better than onboard, but $20 soundcards are garbage.
     

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