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Mobo w/Realtek onboard audio OR sound card...let the debate end here

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November 22, 2013 3:11:51 PM

I have a Sabertooth 990FX mobo and have been using the onboard sound.

I would like to install a new sound card if it would give me better audio performance. Almost solely for gaming, Skyrim, Mass Effect, CoD, etc. But, despite all the reviews and forum posts I've read, it seems there is no agreement on which is the better option. Can anyone recommend a sound card that definitely outperforms my onboard audio? Or is there any need in installing a card??

I have a Logitech 5.1 speaker system.

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November 22, 2013 3:24:42 PM
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The debate won't end here. That much, I know.

I honestly don't hear a huge difference in gaming between my onboard Realtek device and the SB 5.1 X-fi card I had in my rig. Not in gaming anyway. I use my onboard device for all gaming but, when it comes to my music, I only listen on my Asus Xonar Essense ST Headphone card with my Sennheiser 558 cans. It is, apples to oranges, especially on music recorded before the 1990's
November 22, 2013 3:29:28 PM

there two issues with onboard vs third party cards. the first is how the sound card sounds to you. having owned both soundblaster cards and using the onboard real sound chip on my asus mb I can tell that the soundblaster live card sounded better. the second issue that was posted a long long time ago online is that on a gaming rig with onboard sound a few clock cycles of the cpu and some of the system resorces had to go when you used onboard sound. with a third party sound card the cpu and gpu did not have to worry about sound in the games.
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November 22, 2013 3:33:14 PM

smorizio said:
there two issues with onboard vs third party cards. the first is how the sound card sounds to you. having owned both soundblaster cards and using the onboard real sound chip on my asus mb I can tell that the soundblaster live card sounded better. the second issue that was posted a long long time ago online is that on a gaming rig with onboard sound a few clock cycles of the cpu and some of the system resorces had to go when you used onboard sound. with a third party sound card the cpu and gpu did not have to worry about sound in the games.


That was nearly ten years ago at this point. Most people were barely breaking the 1GHz barrier on single core CPUs(AMD 700MHz Slot-A Thunderbird etc..). This is not an issue with todays hardware.
November 23, 2013 12:02:37 AM

I have the same mobo (R 2.0 ver) with an HD7850 GPU. I added a Creative Sound Blaster Z card. I'm more about graphics and music, for my part, I really notice a vast improvement over the Azalia sound on the mobo. On the other hand, I run the Optic Out to a Denon reciever thru the Tape In port and then to the speaker system. I also run the Tape Out optic port back the the Optic IN on the on the sound card. This allows me to record the Directv and SiriusXM music on my hard drive. It's a beautiful setup!

P/S I also tried the AMD HDMI audio: but really like the SB Z.


Asus SaberTooth 990FX R2.0 - AMD FX8350 - Samsung 240G EVO - AMD Radeon HD7850- 12GB DDR3 GSkill 1600 - Sound Blaster Z - Denon Reciever - Ext. OPPO Dvd player - LG HL-DT-ST BDDVDRW on board dvd burner
!