My motherboard, a Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3, has a built in sound card. The speakers plug into the motherboard on the rear panel. But I have to admit something about the sound is off. I was hoping someone could tell me the cost of a decent soundcard.
By decent I mean better than the one on the motherboard. its Realtek ALC889 codec, and has High Definition Audio. Is a $40 soundcard worth it?
The sound in your motherboard is really more than you need. You won't benefit from a new sound card. In what way is the sound off? Make sure the audio jack is all the way in the speaker output. If the problem persists, go to control panel > sound > playback devices > right click on speakers and select properties. Go to the enhancements tab and check you don't have any effects enabled.
as above, there should be no problem with your sound form the mobo, it's recent enough. If it sounds strange, it could be your speakers. What's the problem with the sound?
FYI. surround sound is where you have 5 or more speakers, front, L, R, Rear R, Rear L + sub driven by a surround amplifier. Lots of game utilise this to good effect, so you can hear realistic sounds coming from each direction (like at the cinema). Many AV amps now have HDMI inputs, so you take the HDMI from your PC, pass it through the amp to the monitor. The amp then outputs the surround sound.
But your stereo + sub sound should be good enough.