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SoundBlaster Z vs Onboard Audio for Z5500 Speakers (connected with optical)

Last response: in Components
June 7, 2013 6:33:29 AM

I currently have a Soundblaster Z in my machine, hooked up to a set of Logitech Z5500 speakers via the optical connection.

I'm getting a new motherboard with the Realtek 1150 onboard (supposedly a fairly good chipset). I'm trying to decide if keeping the Soundblaster Z is worth it.

I'm not an audio expert by any means, so I was hoping you folks might have some insight on these questions..

1 - If I'm using optical, it would make sense that I'm not using any of the onboard amplifiers or filters. I'm sure the Z's amps are better quality and better shielded than the onboard audio, but are they even being used in this configuration?

2 - How much processing and signal difference is there between the SoundBlaster Z and the onboard Realtek is there for games and music? Anything noticeable or really noteworthy?
June 7, 2013 6:56:41 AM

Even the second worse discrete Audio card from Creative has better quality than the realtek 1150. Keep your Soundblaster Z.