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Benefits of an actual sound card in 2016?


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8 replies to this topic

#1 GameGuru

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 09:46 AM

I have been building PCs since the late 90's and up until around 2003 or so I had always bought a sound card for my systems.  Sound Blaster was my brand of choice and the last one I owned was the original Audigy.  After that I just always used the integrated sound card on the mother board and it seemed to perform well.  I have build a nice system (see my signature) and wondering if I should actually go with a dedicated sound card or is it just a waste of money.

 

I use my PC for gaming, movies/television and music.  Should I go with a dedicated card and what card should I get? 


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#2 Captain_Chicken

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 10:44 AM

Modern motherboard manufacturers have middle end sound cards built in. Unless you do professional sound production you probably won't need one.

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#3 mjd420nova

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 12:10 PM

I have had to go with a sound card to get the best sound.  The onboard is quite adequate on most system boards and some have surround sound (quadraphonic)  and even line inputs.  All my analog (tapes and vinyl) inputs are for archive so they need 24 bit and 144K to get the most content.  Specs on plugin and external units(USB) match but system board specs vary from mfgr to mfgr. Consideration needs to be taken when system boards are at high levels during gaming and sound has sync problems, often switching from one method to the other can change the process order and speed things a bit to make sync.  I had it work both ways.  For laptops it's a big deal, very good sound from an LT.  External units, the best being FireWire fed are exceptional but quite pricey.



#4 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 07:19 PM

It also depends on the quality of equipment you are using for audio playback. If you are using the standard type of speakers bought or supplied as 'computer speakers' you would probably notice very little difference if any. If you are using reasonable hi-fi quality speakers and amplifier then, since the sound card is the signal generator, as good a sound card as you can justify will pay dividends.

 

Chris Cosgrove


Edited by Chris Cosgrove, 16 March 2016 - 07:20 PM.


#5 GameGuru

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Posted 17 March 2016 - 01:33 PM

It also depends on the quality of equipment you are using for audio playback. If you are using the standard type of speakers bought or supplied as 'computer speakers' you would probably notice very little difference if any. If you are using reasonable hi-fi quality speakers and amplifier then, since the sound card is the signal generator, as good a sound card as you can justify will pay dividends.

 

Chris Cosgrove

I am using Creative Gigaworks T40 Series II, are these considered low end for audio?

 

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#6 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 17 March 2016 - 08:10 PM

I think they would probably justify a sound card !

 

It also depends on your ears. The efficiency of hearing varies a lot from one individual to another. I know my hearing has been damaged due largely to spending too much time on rifle ranges before the British army cottoned on to ear protectors.

 

Chris Cosgrove



#7 the_patriot11

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Posted 17 March 2016 - 08:24 PM

I havent bought a sound card in ages. but I guess a lot depends on your personal tast and preferences, you can certainly get better quality with a high end dedicated card, but the ones onboard anymore are more then adequate. I stopped using a dedicated when I built my current system, and had a crossfire setup and room was tight so i threw it out for better cooling, and I run a 6 speaker surround sound with a 8 inch subwoofer, and have noticed no serious issues with sound quality.


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#8 jonuk76

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 12:19 AM

I decided to upgrade from decent on board sound to an off board USB DAC, which works well with my studio monitors and Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro headphones.  I get considerably better performance out of those with the DAC (particularly the headphones), but it loses some of the bells and whistles on the internal audio like surround sound, which I didn't use anyway.  But it depends on your speakers etc.  For most purposes, I'd think internal audio would be fine.


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#9 MadmanRB

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 05:01 AM

Unless you are running a high end sound setup sound cards are practically obsolete. I rather spend money on a good GPU then something that went out of fashion ages ago

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