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Do i need a sound card?

Last response: in Components
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April 22, 2014 10:33:05 AM

I'm starting to buy parts for my (budget gaming) pc and i was wondering if i need a sound card and if so which one would be best?


My specs so far:

Zalman Z11 plus case

Asus M5A97 EVO R2.0 Motherboard

550W XFX Pro Core Edition PSU

WD 1TB 3.5 inch Internal Hard Drive

LiteOn IHAS124-04 24x SATA Half Height Internal DVDRW Drive

AMD FX8320 Black Edition 8 Core

AMD R9 270x

G.SKILL Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB)

Windows 8.1 pro



I would really appreciate some help.


More about : sound card

a b 4 Gaming
a b V Motherboard
April 22, 2014 10:36:29 AM

no you don't need a soundcard. your motherboard has built in sound for up to 7.1 channels.
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Best solution

April 22, 2014 10:38:46 AM

No. Motherboards have built-in sound. It is quite decent, you wouldn't notice much difference at all compared to a cheap sound card.

The more expensive ones have tons of professional features for program suites such as Adobe and also have a much wider range of sound (think more in depth bass). In terms of gaming unless you are an audio freak you won't notice a difference (if you did it wouldn't be worth the money).
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a b 4 Gaming
a c 171 V Motherboard
April 22, 2014 10:38:48 AM

oczdude8 said:
no you don't need a soundcard. your motherboard has built in sound for up to 7.1 channels.


Yeah, sound cards matter with older computers or if you're an enthusiast. The cheaper/mid-level sound cards are no better than the one built in your motherboard.
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April 22, 2014 10:55:02 AM

gumbykid said:
No. Motherboards have built-in sound. It is quite decent, you wouldn't notice much difference at all compared to a cheap sound card.

The more expensive ones have tons of professional features for program suites such as Adobe and also have a much wider range of sound (think more in depth bass). In terms of gaming unless you are an audio freak you won't notice a difference (if you did it wouldn't be worth the money).


thanks for the help!
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April 22, 2014 12:12:36 PM

I have a top sound card (asus xonar essence stx), and it improves like hell the sound of my headphones. But first, you need good pair of cans, those normally go for 200 bucks or more (up to + - 2000). If you dont have it, your cans wont even require an amp/dac, which is the paper of a sound card. So you won't see a difference. Top motherboards have sort of ok amps, but still they can't drive high end cans. We're talking on a whole different level of budget here, but its just so you understand the basic; no good cans, no need for sound card. Btw, even my card can't drive high end cans like sennheiser hd 800 or audeze lcd-3.
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a b 4 Gaming
a c 171 V Motherboard
April 22, 2014 12:18:43 PM

HumdrumPenguin said:
I have a top sound card (asus xonar essence stx), and it improves like hell the sound of my headphones. But first, you need good pair of cans, those normally go for 200 bucks or more (up to + - 2000). If you dont have it, your cans wont even require an amp/dac, which is the paper of a sound card. So you won't see a difference. Top motherboards have sort of ok amps, but still they can't drive high end cans. We're talking on a whole different level of budget here, but its just so you understand the basic; no good cans, no need for sound card. Btw, even my card can't drive high end cans like sennheiser hd 800 or audeze lcd-3.


And this, children, is the enthusiast in its natural habitat...

JK, but as you said, good hardware costs a lot and since we're talking about a gaming pc here, the money would be better spent on something else.

By the way, since you seem to know a fair bit about PC audio, what's your opinion on HDMI audio? As in is it better/worse quality than what you get from sound cards?
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April 22, 2014 11:08:46 PM

Eduello said:
HumdrumPenguin said:
I have a top sound card (asus xonar essence stx), and it improves like hell the sound of my headphones. But first, you need good pair of cans, those normally go for 200 bucks or more (up to + - 2000). If you dont have it, your cans wont even require an amp/dac, which is the paper of a sound card. So you won't see a difference. Top motherboards have sort of ok amps, but still they can't drive high end cans. We're talking on a whole different level of budget here, but its just so you understand the basic; no good cans, no need for sound card. Btw, even my card can't drive high end cans like sennheiser hd 800 or audeze lcd-3.


And this, children, is the enthusiast in its natural habitat...

JK, but as you said, good hardware costs a lot and since we're talking about a gaming pc here, the money would be better spent on something else.

By the way, since you seem to know a fair bit about PC audio, what's your opinion on HDMI audio? As in is it better/worse quality than what you get from sound cards?


Depends just where you conect it. You can't use hdmi on sound cards, so it's not the best option. It's all just digital audio. EVERY digital audio needs a dac (digital to analog converter), since it gets the audio fom 011001000 to analog audio, waves you can hear. You plug your hdmi cable on your mobo, you'll use the dac from the mobo, you plug it on your tv, you'll use the dac from the tv. Now... you plug it on an external dac/amp, and things change, you'll be using a dedicated dac. Same applies to sound cards, but there's no sound card with hdmi in. So a dedicated dac/amp (sound card or external dacs) will always give you better sound than the one you get if you conect cables direct to a tv or a mobo or whatever hell you're using. But again, can't improve a piece of cheap work. So to see the difference, you need everything to be good. The source (sound), the dac/amp, and the speakers/headphones. And as a final thought, headphones created by gaming companies, cof cof steelseries, are normally so bad that makes me cry (and other people too).

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a b 4 Gaming
a c 171 V Motherboard
April 23, 2014 5:57:39 AM

HumdrumPenguin said:
Eduello said:
HumdrumPenguin said:
I have a top sound card (asus xonar essence stx), and it improves like hell the sound of my headphones. But first, you need good pair of cans, those normally go for 200 bucks or more (up to + - 2000). If you dont have it, your cans wont even require an amp/dac, which is the paper of a sound card. So you won't see a difference. Top motherboards have sort of ok amps, but still they can't drive high end cans. We're talking on a whole different level of budget here, but its just so you understand the basic; no good cans, no need for sound card. Btw, even my card can't drive high end cans like sennheiser hd 800 or audeze lcd-3.


And this, children, is the enthusiast in its natural habitat...

JK, but as you said, good hardware costs a lot and since we're talking about a gaming pc here, the money would be better spent on something else.

By the way, since you seem to know a fair bit about PC audio, what's your opinion on HDMI audio? As in is it better/worse quality than what you get from sound cards?


Depends just where you conect it. You can't use hdmi on sound cards, so it's not the best option. It's all just digital audio. EVERY digital audio needs a dac (digital to analog converter), since it gets the audio fom 011001000 to analog audio, waves you can hear. You plug your hdmi cable on your mobo, you'll use the dac from the mobo, you plug it on your tv, you'll use the dac from the tv. Now... you plug it on an external dac/amp, and things change, you'll be using a dedicated dac. Same applies to sound cards, but there's no sound card with hdmi in. So a dedicated dac/amp (sound card or external dacs) will always give you better sound than the one you get if you conect cables direct to a tv or a mobo or whatever hell you're using. But again, can't improve a piece of cheap work. So to see the difference, you need everything to be good. The source (sound), the dac/amp, and the speakers/headphones. And as a final thought, headphones created by gaming companies, cof cof steelseries, are normally so bad that makes me cry (and other people too).



I see, so it all depends on your amp... Then I should have nothing to worry about (I have the Denon AVR-1911), thanks for the info.

And how right you are about those headphones... Don't even get me started on Skullcandy! :D 
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