1. Welcome to TechPowerUp Forums, Guest! Please check out our forum guidelines for info related to our community.

Sound Card vs. onboard

Discussion in 'Audio, Video & Home Theater' started by Zaspera, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. Zaspera New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2011
    Messages:
    500 (0.37/day)
    Thanks Received:
    11
    Location:
    Mapleville, RI
  2. KainXS

    KainXS

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Messages:
    5,600 (2.19/day)
    Thanks Received:
    501
    what speakers/headphones do you have though
     
  3. Hayder_Master

    Hayder_Master

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2008
    Messages:
    5,176 (2.21/day)
    Thanks Received:
    638
    Location:
    IRAQ-Baghdad
    for me i see no difference, i have great sound card also great speaker and headset, and i didn't notice anything better in sound quality on sound card compare with on board sound, maybe just in "Stalker clear sky" just a bit, other gamers or music - movies = nothing.
     
  4. natr0n

    natr0n

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2012
    Messages:
    1,910 (1.98/day)
    Thanks Received:
    984
    A real sound card is usually always better than on board.

    I read about Xonar series have crappy drivers, but there are some fan made drivers for it. so that's not an issue.
     
  5. INSTG8R

    INSTG8R

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2004
    Messages:
    2,837 (0.79/day)
    Thanks Received:
    431
    Location:
    Lost in Norway
    Yes you would hear a difference with that sound card if you had a decent set of headphones or speakers. If you just using a cheap headset/speakers then the "cheap" onboard will be fine.
     
  6. erocker

    erocker Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Messages:
    39,671 (13.28/day)
    Thanks Received:
    14,066
    It depends. I've had onboard sound that is simply horrible. I've also used onboard sound that worked great. It depends if you are satisfied with what you are using. Do you have any specific complaints about your onboard sound?
     
    erixx says thanks.
  7. D007

    D007

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Messages:
    3,141 (1.14/day)
    Thanks Received:
    401
    Location:
    Pompano beach, Florida
    In regards to performace I'd think having a SC is better than not.. Having sound independently run on the card relieves stress on the system from what I've been told. I have seen game sounds make a game stutter and even crash. Can't help but think better hardware could alleviate some of those issues.
     
  8. erocker

    erocker Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Messages:
    39,671 (13.28/day)
    Thanks Received:
    14,066
    It's true, but on modern computers the difference is negligible and not a factor in getting a sound card. Personally, whenever I get a new motherboard I test the onboard sound first. If I like it, I use it. If not, I have a few sound cards to pop in to see what I like best for that particular configuration.
     
  9. Zaspera New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2011
    Messages:
    500 (0.37/day)
    Thanks Received:
    11
    Location:
    Mapleville, RI
    I don't have the mobo yet. It's for a new build and was just wondering if a sound card would help sound. I usually use cheap speakers for like $30 and have never complained about sound quality. I just thought maybe a sound card would make a HUGE difference. If it's pretty minimal (if any at all), then I'll save the $30 and get some cheeseburgers.
     
  10. erocker

    erocker Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Messages:
    39,671 (13.28/day)
    Thanks Received:
    14,066
    Good idea. Cheeseburgers are awesome. Really though, test it out. If you're satisfied with the onboard you're good.
     
    Jetster and BumbleBee say thanks.
  11. Kei

    Kei

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Messages:
    2,122 (0.89/day)
    Thanks Received:
    618
    In my experience I've found that I cannot live without my Xonar D1. I used onboard sound on everything until one day I decided to try out a card, and that particular one happend to be on sale for a good price with rebate.

    My main reason was that I couldn't run surround sound with games on my motherboard without a soundcard (important to me), so that was my only choice or live with 2 channel sound. After installing the card I wanted to cry it was soo good (just listening to music and watching movies, not to mention games at all).

    For my the difference is absolutely night and day, a few months back my card didn't start up and I had to enable onboard sound again...I was hunting on newegg within 20 minutes after hearing onboard again lol. Thankfully there was nothing wrong with the car, it was just me being lazy for a bit and I hadn't dusted my case in a while. Cleaned it off and not a hiccup since.

    I wasn't a believer before, but now there is no way I'll go back. :D

    Asus Xonar D1 <3

    Kei

    edit: I forgot to say that I use a Razer Carcharias headset, and a 600w 5.1 Home theater system with my PC (most of the time it's the theater system)
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2012
  12. repman244

    repman244

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,103 (0.87/day)
    Thanks Received:
    453
    It does if you have higher end headphones/speakers. It would be insane to use $300 Headphones from onboard, heck even using it from better sound cards (Xonar ST/STX) is really pushing it (you get limited by the amplifier of the sound card).
    In your case, you would probably hear a small improvement but not much.
     
    INSTG8R and Kei say thanks.
  13. BumbleBee

    BumbleBee

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Messages:
    4,867 (2.40/day)
    Thanks Received:
    1,302
    Location:
    Cybertron aka Canada
    bank some money and buy something nice or buy the cheeseburgers :D
     
  14. micropage7

    micropage7

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2010
    Messages:
    5,814 (3.54/day)
    Thanks Received:
    1,345
    Location:
    Jakarta, Indonesia
    another the reason why add on soundcard is better beside better hardware/chip is it has its own board so it would minimize any electric interfere that could affect the sound quality thats why some highend motherboards put dedicated pcix 1x soundcard in their package
    add on card made for serious needs not like onboard (except for high end motherboards)
     
  15. rectifryer New Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2012
    Messages:
    44 (0.05/day)
    Thanks Received:
    7
    Reference wont necessarily sound "Better" but it will be a more fathful representation. Its had to discern at first until your ears are familiar with how things should sound so its a bit of a catch 22.
     
  16. hat

    hat Maximum Overclocker

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    16,922 (5.91/day)
    Thanks Received:
    2,064
    Location:
    Ohio
    I have an Asus Xonar DG. It's a pretty good card, never let me down. The internal headphone amp is great as well. I'm sure the quality is lacking in the face of discrete headphone amps, but it's a nice feature to have.
     
    Crunching for Team TPU
  17. SnoopKatt

    SnoopKatt

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    Messages:
    202 (0.12/day)
    Thanks Received:
    31
    Location:
    SoCal
    I love my Auzentech CMI8770. I got it off another forum for really cheap, and it does an amazing job. My speakers are pretty old (literally about 30 years old lol), and even on those, I can totally hear the difference between the sound card and onboard audio.

    However, an internal sound card isn't always the best solution. It really depends on what you use. If you use strictly headphones, an external DAC paired with a headphone amplifier will probably be more suitable. If you can solder, this guy came up with an excellent design:

    http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/

    Hope this helps!
     
  18. rectifryer New Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2012
    Messages:
    44 (0.05/day)
    Thanks Received:
    7
    Latency is also another factor to consider.
     
  19. eidairaman1

    eidairaman1

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2007
    Messages:
    12,447 (4.71/day)
    Thanks Received:
    1,477
    Audio is not as speed intensive as video is.

    The PCI and PCI E x1 bus have low enough latency and enough bandwidth to transmit audio data from a Program to the Audio card to be decrypted by it.
     
  20. SnoopKatt

    SnoopKatt

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    Messages:
    202 (0.12/day)
    Thanks Received:
    31
    Location:
    SoCal
    Very true. Some audio cards also use the CPU to decode audio. Doesn't sound like a big deal, but I kid you not, when I installed my card, I could've sworn I lost 5 to 10 FPS ( roughly 60 to 50)!
     
  21. eidairaman1

    eidairaman1

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2007
    Messages:
    12,447 (4.71/day)
    Thanks Received:
    1,477
    sounds like a issue elsewhere, because when you have a card installed it offloads the audio processing from the CPU to the Sound card so that the CPU can handle other tasks.
     
  22. SnoopKatt

    SnoopKatt

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    Messages:
    202 (0.12/day)
    Thanks Received:
    31
    Location:
    SoCal
    Perhaps. It was installed on the PCI bus; maybe the transport is eating up the CPU time?
     
  23. eidairaman1

    eidairaman1

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2007
    Messages:
    12,447 (4.71/day)
    Thanks Received:
    1,477
    more like a driver issue, or something else u have running is eating time into it
     
  24. cadaveca

    cadaveca My name is Dave

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2006
    Messages:
    13,946 (4.52/day)
    Thanks Received:
    7,068
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Some cards are no different than an onboard CODEC on a seperate PCB.


    Mind you, audio processing by CPU that most people use onboard audio/seperate cards for on newer systems amounts to less than 1 % CPU usage.

    Audio quality for onboard CODECs can vary greatly. I just recently tested one motherboard that very nearly put my D2X to shame, and it's from a company i bet none would guess at first.


    I've tested many many boards now...only four have what I personally consider decent audio. However, would that cheap Xonar card be better? In most instances...yes! Would you notice on cheap speakers? YES, if they are set up properly...proper stereo imaging requires speakers about 6 feet apart...at when set up properly, spacial cues like positional audio do tend to be better with the majority of add-in boards. This same exact reason is why most people would prefer headphones for gaming, and rave about positional audio...because desktop speakers are rarely, if ever, spaced properly.


    That said, onboard audio, today, is miles above and beyond what it used to be, even just three years ago. But of course, there are some really poopy audio circuit designs that really negatively affect the ability of onboard CODECs to do a decent job.
     
  25. eidairaman1

    eidairaman1

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2007
    Messages:
    12,447 (4.71/day)
    Thanks Received:
    1,477
    its odd i never had the issue with positional audio from speakers even if they werent spaced properly, I also notice certain DSPs are shared. I still use X230 speakers because they work just fine. If i need team communication id hang a headset around my neck because of how uncomfortable they can be (no matter what headset ive used my ears always get sore- not from the sound but from them laying on my head)

    The biggest advantage for sound cards is the audio processing is isolated better from other noisy components compared to onboard audio.

     

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guest)

Share This Page