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do i need a separate soundcard?

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February 11, 2006 2:55:49 AM

i was going to buy an x-fi xtreme music card with z-5500 5.1 logitech speakers, but a friend told me i don't need a card, the onboard is fine, is this true?

I want to listen to music at max volume and play fps games and other things, i just want to know if it will distort at high volume or reduce the qualiy of sound that much.
Also, i forget, what board was it that came with the best onboard sound, audigy or something in it, can't remember, too tired to look.

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February 11, 2006 8:25:03 AM

If we're talking AMD, then the MSI K8N Diamond comes with SB Audigy SE onboard.

The DFI LanParty boards come with the Karajan Audio Module onboard, which has very low CPU usage (but is still based on the RealTek ALC850 codec).

As regards quality, I guess most ppl would say that it is better to have a separate sound card.

I have the X-Fi XtremeMusic in my system with the Logitech Z-5450 speakers, and I do notice a difference compared with the onboard sound. Never turned it up to max volume though (I value my hearing :D  )

Hope this helps
February 12, 2006 6:09:55 AM

Onboard sound is not likely to be the greatest. If you're investing a lot in speakers, or like to listen to loud stuff (which is where you'll get the most distortion), I'd recomend it.

Onboard sound also tends to pick up distortion from the motherboard components a bit more.

There are a few places that have the Audigy 2 ZS Gamer Limited Edition with a a $50 rebate, so it runs around $60. Probably a good compromise from onboard sound. If you're realy looking for a deal, an old Soundblaster live 5.1 runs around $25 or so depending on where you look.
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February 13, 2006 2:56:35 AM

Toss onboard audio. It's almost always terrible and you don't realize what you're missing until you get a decent replacement -- but thats from a gamers point of view... the only place I really scrutinize sound is when im trying to figure out how far away the sniper is and whether tanks are driving to me or away from me.

The new boards out from Creative are pretty expensive, but an Audigy 2 for 50-60 bucks will do you just fine. If you've got more to spend and you dont mind buying an OEM board, u can get an XFi card for about 130, check new egg.
February 13, 2006 11:53:58 AM

Quote:
i was going to buy an x-fi xtreme music card with z-5500 5.1 logitech speakers, but a friend told me i don't need a card, the onboard is fine, is this true?

I want to listen to music at max volume and play fps games and other things, i just want to know if it will distort at high volume or reduce the qualiy of sound that much.
Also, i forget, what board was it that came with the best onboard sound, audigy or something in it, can't remember, too tired to look.


With the latest sound developments the ON BOARD card might be more than sufficient.

The Mobo with Realtek 850 (7.1) performance is exceptional.

I would rather swap the speakers from z-5500 5.1 logitech speakers, to klipsch Pro Media 5.1!

After you got your best speakers if you are still not satisfied you can always buy a new additional dedicated sound card.

I really dobt as some said that the on board sound is inferior. It all depends on Mobo as you get what you pay for.

Volume comes from the amplified speakers!
Well it is NOT a max volume as you might get death very fast, but the quality of reproduction!

QUALITY OF SOUND DOES NOT COME FROM VOLUME, BUT FROM DISTORTION FREE crystal clear REPRODUCTION, WHERE POWER MEANS DEPT OF SOUND, NOT HIGH VOLUME.

When enjoying music once less volume means more sound.
At high volume you blast all the frequencies and kill the warmth of saound a cross all bands!

Klipsch is better than the best!

Klipsch

Pro Media Ultra 5.1
February 13, 2006 1:33:48 PM

Personaly I have Logitech Z-680 paired with a X-FI Elite Pro and damn that pair rocks. I give out before either gets to even 60-70% volume, they are that loud. In my experience, even with a top sound card if you max out the volume on it the sound becomes distorted even with the speaker volume turned down. The trick I have begun to use is to turn your speakers up to about 60% then on your PC turn the volume up slowly.

With regards to onboard audio, I have a friend using his onboard audio and for him it works just fine. his FPSs are reletively stable and the sound quality is pretty good. If you plan on playing Battlefield 2 or any FPS game you will want to spent the extra cash for a sound card. Excellent speakers/sound cards can mean life or death (figureatively speaking of course). If you only plan on listening to music you can probably get away with onboard audio, its all depends on whether you have the free cash for the sound card, and your need to have the best sounding music.

From a pure performance stand point I'd say add-in sound card always.
February 13, 2006 1:40:52 PM

I'm actually happy with the onboard sound on my board. It's the old Realtek ALC658 (the common one on most AMD boards...) but with the latest drivers it does just fine.
It has everything SB Live 5.1 delivers so I can't really complain.
I thought about upgrading because Audigy 2 prices are good, but installation hook ups and wires and...
damn that 2001 AIW & SB 5.1 Gamer upgrade still haunts me.
Wasn't till 2002 that I figured out I didn't need half those wires...
(Oh...that big grey belt goes to the soundboard too? Well, hmmm.)

Bottom Line for me? It's all working just fine and I ain't messin wit it.
February 13, 2006 1:46:59 PM

Dedicated hardware is always going to perform better than onboard. Just compare the components and price involved between the two. An onboard solution probably costs $5 for the mobo maker and the vast majority of them are using 5 year old technology. That's 50 years in computer years!

I don't know how many mobos support the various EAX standards either. They're up to what, EAX 5.0 now with the X-FI?
February 14, 2006 12:05:29 PM

Hi, I signed up just to ask this Q.

Here is my beef with the x-fi, why isn't there an optical output on it? I have a set of z5500's and am using the optical out from my onboard realtek. I think they sound pretty good right now, and have thought about getting an x-fi, but what's the advantage of buying a card with an analog output which IS able to be changed from interference vs a digital signal on an optical cable which isn't?
February 14, 2006 1:38:23 PM

Quote:
I want to listen to music at max volume and play ... i just want to know if it will distort at high volume or reduce the qualiy of sound that much.


Why do you think they call it max volume? That's because that's the point where the sound quality will break down. That's why your nobs don't go to 11.
February 14, 2006 1:44:58 PM

Unless your using a z5500 set. Then you turn it all the way up, and just keep turning the knob until it gives you boost 1 - 11. 8O
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