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Onboard sound (ALC850) or Soundblaster Live 5.1

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July 18, 2006 10:37:12 AM

Hi,

I have recently upgraded my system, which had a Soundblaster Live 5.1 card attached to it. The new motherboard has a built in soundcard (ALC850). Which should I use? Which will consume the least CPU power? I only have a 2.1 speaker set, and play games mostly. I am not an audiophile by any stretch of the imagination...

Thanks
July 18, 2006 11:06:50 AM

The onboard card will draw less power, but might also sound crappy. Sound Blaster Live is a very old card...
July 18, 2006 1:02:47 PM

Yeah, a very old card. When the budget allows, X-fi it is :) 
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July 18, 2006 1:56:40 PM

Quote:
The onboard card will draw less power, but might also sound crappy. Sound Blaster Live is a very old card

I don't think that is correct. In general onboard sound will use more CPU resources than an SBLive. Use the Live.
July 18, 2006 3:32:15 PM

Quote:
Hi,

I have recently upgraded my system, which had a Soundblaster Live 5.1 card attached to it. The new motherboard has a built in soundcard (ALC850). Which should I use? Which will consume the least CPU power? I only have a 2.1 speaker set, and play games mostly. I am not an audiophile by any stretch of the imagination...

Thanks


Use the Live! It's not a bad card and will offer audio quality that still sounds better than the ALC850, IMO.
July 18, 2006 3:47:48 PM

Quote:
Hi,

I have recently upgraded my system, which had a Soundblaster Live 5.1 card attached to it. The new motherboard has a built in soundcard (ALC850). Which should I use? Which will consume the least CPU power? I only have a 2.1 speaker set, and play games mostly. I am not an audiophile by any stretch of the imagination...

Thanks

i would use the soundblaster. But if i didnt have the soundblaster i would use the onboard. it's good enough for most uses.
July 18, 2006 3:53:28 PM

Use the SoundBlaster.
It has a MUCH better sound quality and EAX support.
I can't think of any Realtek onboard audio solution that can come not even close to a SoundBlaster. :wink:
July 18, 2006 4:07:08 PM

Onboard sound is there just to help sell mobos.
The fact it is integrated means it is more prone to any electrical interferences.
Also buffering problems with audio streams (internet radio etc) occur a lot more often. Dedicated device is always better then any all-in-one solution.
Having said that you have to keep in mind that Live card is about 8 years old. I think the latest drivers I saw for it are 2 or 3 years old.
You can get a brand new Audigy 4 with hardware audio acceleration and latest EAX for $40 and this would be probably the best way to go.
July 18, 2006 4:10:26 PM

Yeah, that's true. I would buy myself a X-Fi if I could.
But Tardomatic asked about whether he should use the onboard audio or the SB Live!. I say: SB Live! :D 
July 18, 2006 4:32:11 PM

Quote:
Onboard sound is there just to help sell mobos.
The fact it is integrated means it is more prone to any electrical interferences.
Also buffering problems with audio streams (internet radio etc) occur a lot more often. Dedicated device is always better then any all-in-one solution.
Having said that you have to keep in mind that Live card is about 8 years old. I think the latest drivers I saw for it are 2 or 3 years old.
You can get a brand new Audigy 4 with hardware audio acceleration and latest EAX for $40 and this would be probably the best way to go.


Aaaah, but a Live! card with the Kx Project drivers ( http://kxproject.lugosoft.com/ ) is quite sweet. Unfortunately, the Live! 5.1 is not yet supported.
July 18, 2006 4:40:58 PM

I think it is, all emu kx chip based cards are supported. Good point indeed.
But keep in mind kx drivers do not support EAX.
July 18, 2006 4:54:13 PM

Quote:
Most of the 5.1 cards are supported by kX:

http://kb.kxproject.lugosoft.com/list.html


Cool. I thought I'd read elsewhere on that site that the Live! 5.1 cards were not supported but they're on that list, cool. New life into older cards, yea. ...yeah, no EAX, and that'd be a true bummer for the gamers.
July 18, 2006 6:17:32 PM

Quote:
yeah, no EAX, and that'd be a true bummer for the gamers.

Doesn't look like that will be happening the next version either. I kind of doubt if it will happen at all. I think Eugene, the developer, is busy with other aspects of life and also I don't think that Creative Labs is supplying him with much info.
July 18, 2006 8:04:24 PM

Quote:
yeah, no EAX, and that'd be a true bummer for the gamers.

Doesn't look like that will be happening the next version either. I kind of doubt if it will happen at all. I think Eugene, the developer, is busy with other aspects of life and also I don't think that Creative Labs is supplying him with much info.

Actually, its not all that bad to me. Most serious gamers are using more contemporary audio solutions from Creative and other manufacturers. When a poster pointed me in the direction of the Kx Project drivers and I installed them I was totally blown away by the difference in audio quality when listening to music. With Kx, it took me some time to be able pinpoint the audible differences between the SB Live! the X-Fi. I'll have to read more details.

...but if I was into gaming I'd likely not be using one of the supported older cards anywho. ...but for music, Kx is good stuff.
July 20, 2006 8:23:16 AM

If your motherboard can switch between the two sound processors then install the SoundBlaster and try them both.
Adjust Bios setting to selective your audio card to Auto and adjust your Audio Properties to which sound processor you prefer.

My experience tells me that ALC850 take fewer resources from CPU and SoundBlaster take more due to its software programs to process.

I could be wrong though.
July 20, 2006 9:27:15 AM

Quote:
If your motherboard can switch between the two sound processors then install the SoundBlaster and try them both.
Adjust Bios setting to selective your audio card to Auto and adjust your Audio Properties to which sound processor you prefer.

My experience tells me that ALC850 take fewer resources from CPU and SoundBlaster take more due to its software programs to process.

I could be wrong though.


I know I could that, I was just looking for some subjective opinions before expending the effort. This is the first time I've heard it suggested that an onboard solution would use less CPU than a dedicated solution. I'm not gaming, however, so that's really not a concern. If I get bored I may be give it a whirl. Thx.
July 20, 2006 12:37:05 PM

Quote:
My experience tells me that ALC850 take fewer resources from CPU and SoundBlaster take more due to its software programs to process.


8O
July 20, 2006 6:49:15 PM

Quote:
If your motherboard can switch between the two sound processors then install the SoundBlaster and try them both.
Adjust Bios setting to selective your audio card to Auto and adjust your Audio Properties to which sound processor you prefer.

My experience tells me that ALC850 take fewer resources from CPU and SoundBlaster take more due to its software programs to process.

I could be wrong though.


I've gotta disagree with you on that given that Creative solution's APU's are designed with the goal of relieving the CPU of audio related tasks in mind. Most benchmarks, if not all, support this.
July 20, 2006 7:25:46 PM

Speaking from experience, I was using a SB Live card and it died. I'm now back to using the onboard sound and hating it. I'm just struggling with the justification of spending the $40 just for enhanced sound...granted, if I was rich it wouldn't be a second thought. :wink:
July 23, 2006 10:14:26 AM

hey, that onboard sound card will be using your cpu to do some calculations, you will get better fps and sound quality with the sb live!
July 23, 2006 3:57:22 PM

Thank you. I certainly noticed that when doing some initial tests when I got my graphics card a couple years ago. With onboard sound and sound quality turned down, I noticed that my fps were pretty good. When I turned the sound quality up, the fps went down. That was my reason for getting the sound card the first time. I can't believe it died on me after only a year. I hope it was just a fluke, because the quality I got from the card (SB Live 24-bit) was terrific and I certainly noticed a difference in fps.
July 23, 2006 5:36:40 PM

I'm sorry to all, But I meant memory.
!