That is to say, compared to both desktop computers I've tried. My laptop is a Dell studio 1558. Under the category of "Sound, video, and game controllers" in the device manager, I find "ATI High Definition Audio Device" listed alongside "IDT High Definition Audio CODEC". For one particular desktop, the sound card I have seems to be a Realtek Digital Output card, which came onboard.
I use Audacity to record sound from a small microphone on both computers, but the sound is much louder and cleaner when I record on my laptop. On my desktop, the sound comes out terribly muffled and a bit static-y. I don't think there's a connection issue, as the sound is recorded the same way on both of my desktops, one brand new and one which is around a decade old.
Is it that the realtek onboard sound card is terrible? Did my laptop just happen to come with a fantastic audio card? I'd like to know before spending money on a new sound card.
Thanks for any help.
P.S. Recording the audio on my laptop is not ideal as the hard drive is failing, causing frequent shut-downs, and it has an overheating problem to boot. I've not been able to successfully record and transfer any audio so far.