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Do you use a sound card?

Do you use a sound card?

  • Yes

    Votes: 56 58.3%
  • No, onboard is fine

    Votes: 40 41.7%

  • Total voters
    96

MxPhenom 216

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#1
I have noticed that the options for sound cards are pretty small these days, and some of the better ones are plagued with hardware or software issues. Do you run a sound card, or is onboard at that state now where sound cards are barely justifiable?
 
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#2
Going from a realtech 892 to a $10 xonar dg new seemed trivial enough for a soundcard skeptic like myself to try. I was shocked that it could be that much better, and even more so for the price. Sad to say, xonar dg's have gone up in price since then. There were noises in games, music, etc that I did not even know were there. Onboard is fine but soundcard is nice. I have been reading that an external dac is even better.
 
Last edited:
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#3
The issue people have with sound card software is they f*ck with them too much. Just set it and forget it is what I do. Never have an issue. Only years ago with the x-fi 4gb of ram driver conflict.
 

erocker

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#4
I have a few sound cards... I'm currently not using any of them. The onboard on my Maximus Formula is very nice.
 
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#5
Xfi XtremeGamer its almost 6 years since bought it, had no major problem with it and the games i played. But i am curious about this newer integrated sound cards and how they compare to dedicated ones like mine.
 

btarunr

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#6
Definitely an upgrade over onboard audio, drivers are quite stable.
 
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#7
Love my HT Omega. Had it for a good 3 years now. I built this rig around it. I had to have a PCI slot to run it so mobo options were limited and the 690 came to be since I didnt have enough room for 2 separate cards.

Ill take my sound card as far as I can. Drivers are wicked good and have not found any conflicts with anything else.
 
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#8
Using onboard but I've been contemplating on buying a soundcard.. :)
 
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#9
planning on getting one but still saving stuff so I can water cool my wife's rig XD.
 

rtwjunkie

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#10
I have definately noticed an increase in both sound volume and sound quality when using a sound card on every motherboard I have owned. My 5 year old X-fi Extreme Gamer is an improvement over the onboard in my Z68, and my son has a GB EP45-ud3p and we put an Asus Xonar in there. THAT was a huge improvement last month. no longer does he have to turn up the volume on speakers all the way just to hear dialogue, and alot of smaller noises he didn't used to hear in games are there. So no, IMO, altho onboard sound is light years ahead of where it is, a sound card that you "set and forget" like Natr0n said is almost always an improvement.
 

anoobarak

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#11
Everything what others said. If you're mainly using headphones on your rig, a sound card upgrade (even a cheap one) will definitely make a difference. The increased sound volume is much needed with headphones. Totally worth it.
 
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#12
I've used many Soundcards and some aren't worth upgrading over onboard audio, but if you pick the right one you'll notice night and day difference.

Some onboard are very good tho, the one that is on my RIVE is miles ahead of what was in the past on motherboards.

The best discrete I've had was an Auzentech and I recommend it even now.
 

Aquinus

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#13
Most of the time the ALC898 works pretty well but there are times when a dedicated headphone amp and a little extra EMI shielding could be nice, but it's certainly not needed.
 
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#14
I've used many Soundcards and some aren't worth upgrading over onboard audio, but if you pick the right one you'll notice night and day difference.

Some onboard are very good tho, the one that is on my RIVE is miles ahead of what was in the past on motherboards.

The best discrete I've had was an Auzentech and I recommend it even now.
Would have to agree. I use the Auzentech Bravuria 7.1 (Built in headphone amp) and it is a flawless card for the past 3 years.
 
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#15
saving up for an amp+DAC and some good cans.
 
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#16
Most of the time the ALC898 works pretty well but there are times when a dedicated headphone amp and a little extra EMI shielding could be nice, but it's certainly not needed.
Agreed, I got the ALC 898 on my ASRock Z77 Extreme6 and I immediately noticed a difference from the older ALC 892 on my ASRock Z68 Extreme4. I use a Roccat Kave 5.1ch headset which has a built-in amplifier, but I have the sliders at about 35% as even with that I usually keep the sound card's volume at 12-30%.
 
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#17
Well I was a bit surprised to find my Realtek 892 onboard on my Z77e-itx was noticeably better than my X-Fi XtremeGamer...but it is old now. So the chip itself definitely matters (as I guess is obvious); it's not always "sound card is better, period". I am still thinking about a USB sound card though...
 
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#18
yes i have x-fi titanium but i see it's no more useful in windows 7 when use USB headset, only when put my 7.1 speaker seem a bit different over my on board sound card.
 
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#19
Still using my 5 year old x-fi extremegamer as well. Still works great. I have a second one I have brand new just for when it finally dies or gives me problems.

Question: This doesn't exactly pertain to the topic being discussed, but does digital sound like the one that can be transmitted through the HDMI cable from the video card (ex. my 5850) any good? How does it compare to a stand-alone analog card like the x-fi extreme gamer?
 
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#20
Question: This doesn't exactly pertain to the topic being discussed, but does digital sound like the one that can be transmitted through the HDMI cable from the video card (ex. my 5850) any good? How does it compare to a stand-alone analog card like the x-fi extreme gamer?
As good as your receiver is. The HDMI port passes an unlatered digital stream so no DAC interferes.
 
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#21
I have 2 sound cards in my system and the onboard Audio: Titanium HD, Xonar DX and the onboard Realtek (it's enable but i never use it). And a second PC with a X-Fi Titanium. Never had an issue with Creative or ASUS (although i use the unified ones) drivers.

Is justifiable?

Only if you have good Speakers and Headphones.

&

It depends on the person. Me, i'm never using onboard again, with my Headphones (AKG K240 MKII & Audio Technica ATH A700) the onboard sounds lifeless compared to the Titanium HD, and the extra detail you hear in games is way ahead of what the onboard reproduce IMO.

Onboards i have listened to:

Abit IP35 Pro (Realteck ALC888), Giagabyte Z68X-UD3-B3 (Realtek ALC889), ASUS P5E Supreme FX2 (Analog Devices ADI1988D)
 

FreedomEclipse

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#22
Been using a soundcard since i built my first PC. Obviously I didnt use one at first then i got curious and bought a Creative Audigy 2 ZS just to try out and it was one of the best investsments ever - the Audigy 2 ZS now belongs to my dad who loves it and wont give it back lol.

I used to have a XFi Xtreme Music which was awesome, I sold that to a friend who loves it very much. I had a XFi Titanium Fatality Pro which died in about a year then I went to a Asus Xonar D2X and STX and after that, back to Creative with their Sound Blaster - Z

As far as soundcards are concerned, this will most likely be my last one as I am moving over to AV recievers and bookshelf speakers in 5.1
 
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#23
I am using the onboard Realtek ALC 892 with Creative X-Fi MB2 drivers and sounds good enough for me. :)
 
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#24
Agreed, I got the ALC 898 on my ASRock Z77 Extreme6 and I immediately noticed a difference from the older ALC 892 on my ASRock Z68 Extreme4. I use a Roccat Kave 5.1ch headset which has a built-in amplifier, but I have the sliders at about 35% as even with that I usually keep the sound card's volume at 12-30%.
This. ALC 898 sounds good to me.
 
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#25
Do I own a couple: yes.

Do I use them: no.

HDMI pass through to a television for everything except gaming. A Corsair headset and mic for gaming is all I've ever needed.


Sound quality is better on a discrete card, assuming that you've got a decent mid-range stereo setup. I qualify this statement with mid-range for one reason; mid-range is the only place where the DAC would be from the computer, and not from the stereo system. My surround sound runs through my receiver, and converts the HDMI pass-through into amazing sound.

As far as headphones, they're hit and miss. USB based ones generally have more than enough oomph to beat out onboard sound. At the same time, they're more expensive than the standard mono-jacked ones that are so often utilized. With a mono output the headphones need a better sound source, that is generally not there with onboard.