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Does this build require a sound card, and if so which do you recommend for at or under $100?

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May 29, 2013 8:07:29 PM

Hello fellow Tom's Hardware members,

I'm a newly introduced custom PC builder, and have spent some time trying to find the best parts to make (in my own sense) the perfect gaming rig. I have it pretty much setup, but a friend is telling me that I need a sound card. I know as much about sound cards and their need as a plumber knows about rocket science (I know the name says what it is used for, but I didn't look into when I would need to get one or not). So I was wondering, does this setup really need a sound card? Because I saw several others with the same motherboard that didn't have a sound card attached, so I was pretty perplexed by the whole situation. And if it does need one, which one would be good for this rig that is at or under $100. Excuse me for making such a long post, I just wanted to make sure my situation was outlined haha.

The setup:
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/11c2H

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a b B Homebuilt system
May 29, 2013 8:16:07 PM

I have that mb there is an audio chipset on the mb from Realtek. depending on your hearing,most of the new audio chipset are as good as a third party sound card. When you add a sound card on older systems you freed up some of the CPU resources. Because the sound card did te audio decoding for games not the CPU. If your going to record audio or find the sound lacking from the Realtek chipset. The asus xonar cards are a good buy. Right now I haven't seen any real feedback on the new z cards from creative labs.
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 29, 2013 8:19:14 PM

As almost all current consumer grade motherboards, including the one you've selected, includes relatively good audio. Whether you need a discrete soundcard is a different matter.
Most people don't.

Try it first. If you find the sound not adequate, get a discrete sound card. Assuming you have good speakers to actually tell the difference.

Just as an aside:
The PSU is a bit overkill
The RAM is a bit overkill unless you really, really need 16GB
The case....well *I* wouldn't spend that much for something that sits under my desk and I never see
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a c 93 B Homebuilt system
May 30, 2013 2:49:52 AM

Pretty much everything in that build is overkill, with the exception of the GPU, SSD, and screen. Also, you might want a CPU & cooler.

Suggest you wait a week for Haswell, MB manufacturers seem to be going overkill on sound this coming gen.
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