A few days ago, my sound completely cut out. I went through the standard diagnostics everybody tells you to do, reinstall drivers, disable reenable, etc, and nothing worked. I checked through the BIOS and everything was enabled. Eventually I became suspicious the issue wasn't software based, so I booted into Ubuntu via a USB drive instead of Windows 7. I used Ubuntu's sound settings to ramp up volume to 300% and played a test sound. The sound played very low and extremely staticy, so I instantly assumed it was a hardware problem. I had tried multiple jacks and all produced the same result, so I narrowed it down to a sound card problem.
I'm running with a 990FX Extreme3. Would getting a new sound card fix problems with the onboard sound on my motherboard? Or would I have to replace the motherboard altogether?
You should not have been able to reproduce "very low and extremely staticy" sound from multiple jacks when you tried. They are not tied together like that. The standard output if properly color coded is green in color.
Since you have not confirmed as having established that your audio output device outside of the computer is safe to use as a control for the purposes of testing, would you mind plugging in some other device you are certain is functioning to assure that the speakers / headphones you are trying are not the culprit? :-) Plug your computer's speakers into a Walkman or other music player to be sure the amp or some other part in them didn't poop out.
Tried headphones or a different set of speakers yet?
Are your speakers self-amplified?
Do you have an external amplifier you are running sound to?
Do you have the speaker configuration set to the default, 2-channel?
Windows doesn't care how many sound devices you have, when properly configured. If you're concerned, you can easily add a sound card to your machine without first disabling the on-board sound.
well, unless you are limited in budget, you should get a new sound card as they are better than the built-in ones anyway. so money not really wasted.
but then again if you are limited in budget, buying a sound card will lower your budget for a new board
Depending on your on-board chipset, that's not necessarily the case. $20 sound cards often ship with older codec chips than newer motherboards. The only thing you usually get that is an improvement is the amplification circuitry, which isn't exactly all that necessary when dealing with digital audio. Since Windows Vista, all sound in Windows has been mixed in software, so buying expensive sound equipment is more for the software package and connectivity options than any sort of hardware acceleration, as Windows doesn't use it.