Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Realtek ALC850 Integrated Sound Card vs. Audigy or X-Fi

Last response: in Components
Share
December 1, 2005 2:20:08 PM

My son is building a computer from scratch and has decided to pass on a Sound Card to save money. He is installing the ASUS A8N SLI Premium motherboard, which includes Realtek 8 channel integrated sound. I'm thinking of getting him a sound card for Christmas, and have been looking at the Soundblaster Audigy 2 Zs and the X-Fi Fatal1ty cards. My questions are:

1. Is the integrated card he has good enough, or will he notice a big difference with a stand alone card?
2. If sound quality will improve, which card would you recommend: the Audigy 2 Zs or the X-Fi Fatal1ty?
3. Does the I/O port for the X-Fi Fatal1ty install in the front of the computer? My son is very picky about the way the computer looks and I think he might be bothered with the jacks in the front.
4. Are there any compatiblity problems that I should be aware of?

The specs for his computer are as follows:

Motherboard: ASUS A8N-SLI Premium with Realtek 8 channel sound.
Video Card: EVGA GForce7800 GTX.
Power Supply: Antec TPII.
CPU: AMD 64 4400+ Athlon X2939P RT
HD: HD 300G ST 8M SATA
Monitor: Samsung 19" LCD
DVD+/-RW NEC ND 3550A

Thanks for your advice!!
December 1, 2005 5:14:36 PM

most integrated sound chips are pretty good compared to a few years ago. But they still cant touch the add-on cards extra power and processing ability. trust me he wont be dissapointed with either card.
If the extra money isnt a problem get the x-fi card.
December 1, 2005 6:00:32 PM

1. Is the integrated card he has good enough, or will he notice a big difference with a stand alone card?

I HAVE AUDIGY 2 ZS AND WHEN I LISTEN TO MUSIC ITS A HUGE DIFFERENCE BTN THE BUILT IN S/C AND AUDIGY2 ZS. EVEN SB LIVE IS BETTER THAN THE BUILT IN S/C.

2. If sound quality will improve, which card would you recommend: the Audigy 2 Zs or the X-Fi Fatal1ty?

I DONT KNOW ABOUT X-FI BUT AUDIGY 2 ZS HAS VERY CLEAR SOUND. MUCH IMPROVED OVER SB LIVE. YES, THE DIFFERENCE CAN BE NOTICED EASILY.

3. Does the I/O port for the X-Fi Fatal1ty install in the front of the computer? My son is very picky about the way the computer looks and I think he might be bothered with the jacks in the front.

I HAVE NO IDEA. SEE THE MANUFACTURER WEBSITE.

4. Are there any compatiblity problems that I should be aware of?

THERE SOULD NOT BE ANY. CHECK MINIMUM SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS FOR THE S/C.
Related resources
December 1, 2005 7:31:03 PM

stand alone card is still better than integrated and if you want to record forget about integrated card they pick noise from the board....didididid gzzzzzz brrr tididididi. kind of noise :roll:

i have a board with realtek high definition audio and i plugged back my old sb live !
December 2, 2005 2:42:04 PM

Most newbies are impressed with all the wiz-bang user interface controls on Creative products, but they're all show and very little go.

The sound card will probably sound a little better, but most people won't notice the tiny difference

Creative's cards DO NOT connect to a cases front-panel audio ports.
December 5, 2005 5:59:23 AM

I'm using the same board on my system and I'm pretty happy with the integrated soundcard. A friend of mine has the Audigy 2 and to be honest I don't notice that big a difference.

I don't use any sound or music editing progams though, it could make a difference if you use those I guess.
December 5, 2005 6:16:23 AM

The Realtec 850 is a good chipsetl
December 5, 2005 9:02:49 AM

OK, let me tell you I upgraded from Audigy to X-Fi and have no regrets. Onboard sound is good enough, but once you use solid dedicated audio card you do not want to go back to onboard. X-Fi is really great card. In reply to your questions:

Quote:

1. Is the integrated card he has good enough, or will he notice a big difference with a stand alone card?


Although onboard sound are decent these days, X-Fi will defenitely deliver better quality sound and, also, offload CPU especially in games while processing all the latest EAX effects for audio in games. Your son will appreciate that, i wish my Dad came up with the idea ;) 

Quote:

2. If sound quality will improve, which card would you recommend: the Audigy 2 Zs or the X-Fi Fatal1ty?


Note that price is like 3 x higher for Fatality. ZS is defenitely better value option. Still I picked Fatal1ty for myself. If you do not want to spend over $100 get him X-Fi Xtreme Music.
Quote:

3. Does the I/O port for the X-Fi Fatal1ty install in the front of the computer? My son is very picky about the way the computer looks and I think he might be bothered with the jacks in the front.


If you get him Fatal1ty version with break-out box and he decides not to use that that would be lame ;)  Btw I replaced flat cable with round one (normal IDE-like cable but round) It looks much better. If you get him X-Fi as main gift get him this standard IDE round cable, too, it costs a few bucks but your son will be moved you took care about details...
Quote:


4. Are there any compatiblity problems that I should be aware of?

I have heard from ppl with this mobo they had no issues. Just make sure onboard sound is off in Bios before installing X-Fi.
December 5, 2005 11:33:24 AM

Diamond Multimedia has a better card than the X-Fi for only $55. It uses some cheap C-Media codec, and it's better because it has DDL, allowing you to get surround gaming through your home stereo using a single digital audio cable.
December 5, 2005 2:31:52 PM

I would not get this Diamond card.

Diamond does not do anything that X-Fi does. Diamond is 16 bit / 48 kHz card falsely advertised as 24 bit but in fact it only has 24 bit DAC... No EAX HD support in games, no THX certification for home theater.

Note, that Diamond started selling soundcards just before this Xmas again so there is no guarantee they will even take care for driver updates for Vista etcetera.

Also note that Dolby Live encoding is not real Dolby as it introduces compression and latency to the signal. I'd steer away from that even if I had digital receiver needed for DDL and would rather use DTS encoding.

Do not harm your boy - do not buy him crap for Xmas ;) 
December 5, 2005 5:58:16 PM

Turtle Beach also sells a card with the same audio chip...the Montego DDL
December 7, 2005 6:08:22 PM

I don't care what else you read, I'll say this much.
I have a RealTek 8100 on my MSI board, and with the latest A377 drivers it has the clarity and SRS abilities to match.
It has every facet of 16 bit digital recording capabilities and will record comfortably at 48khz without so much as a strand of static.
No it's not the top dog, but it is a definite Sound Blaster Live 5.1 rip-off
as it even features EAX and all of those silly features like Carpeted Hallway, Stadium, etc. that can be adjusted through the EQ.
I crank up the DVD's and Audio's and my buddy asks me what card am I running. I tell him it's integrated and he can't even believe me.
I had to pop the cover to Prove It!!
I even record audio from DVD sources with the chip via Stereo Mix in AV rack and listen to them in the car.
What a treat.
The Realtek chip is awesome and Only the Audigy 2 can really outdo it,
but for an integrated set it kicks some serious butt!! I would suggest getting some Kick ass speakers with the woofer and see what ya think before you plop down the money on new audio.
!