The X-Fi will take some of the load off your processors for the audio part of gaming. Sorry I can't provide any links, probably someone eventually will, but you can actually have higher framerates, even if marginally so, by using the X-Fi. You will also be making sure you won't get noise caused by components near the onboard audio chip.
only get a soundcard if it actually matters to you.
me for instance could care less about the soundcard. onboard audio has pretty been fine for me ever since the Nforce2 days *time before that you HAD to have an audio card, onboard sucked big time*
but these days onboard is usually jsut fine for me.
easier way to put it
if you are happy with the stock stereo system in your car..u probably dont need a soundcard.
if you absolutely need a aftermarket deck speakers and amplifiers..get a sound card.
Also depends on speakers and what kind of connection you have. I would get the X-Fi, but I need an optical out to connect to my receiver which powers my sound system. But for an optical out with the X-Fi I need the play at a minimum, which is quite a bit of money.
One thing about the X-Fi though is that you get to use EAX. Depends if that matters also or not..
I don't think so, Tim... Unless you go into your bios settings and specifically exclude it from starting.
But maybe your motherboard is different / uses a different bios than I'm used to.
"a sound card always kills onboard sound." = A seperate sound card is always better than onboard sound, or a sperate sound card always gives better qaulity than onboard sound.
You read it like he was saying that a seperate sound card kills, or makes the onboard stop working.
Eh I'm confusing myself, both your posts could be taken three different ways, except I understood the first one just fine. I didn't get a visual of a sound card shooting lasers at the onboard sound though.
Using the Digital I/O module allows you to do 3 things with the Creative soundcards:
1) Save at least $65 in digital connectivity when compared with the breakout boxes included with the Platinum, Fata1ity, and Elite Pro versions while providing the same functionality
2) Allows pass-through via optical or coax of the Dolby Digital decoding ability of any software DVD-player you may have that is capable of Dolby Digital decoding since Creative soundcards do not provide Dolby Digital or Dolby Digital Live decoding
3) Allows 2-Channel Stereo PCM output via optical or coax connections.
#3 is important only if you have a receiver/pre-amp/outboard DAC that is higher quality than the X-Fi's onboard DACs. You typically want to use your highest quality DACs so if you have say a higher-end DAC than what the X-Fi offers you'd want to push the digital signal to that DAC as opposed to letting the X-Fi handle the conversion. Also, as I understand it, digital connections, especially optical, are not susceptible to the same noise that can affect analog interconnects, such as those used to connect your soundcard to your speakers. So, if you have a digital connection to your Z-5500's you can bypass some potential noise as well as having a single-cable solution. There may be other benefits to digital connections that I've omitted. I'm learning all this as well, so hopefully someone will correct me or fill in what I've left out.
The thing to keep in mind is that with some very popular (and in some cases, less expensive) non-Creative cards you get the Dolby Digital and DDL decoding as well as coax or optical digital output directly on the soundcard so you don't even have to buy a $15 module (though, admittingly that's not a lot, it makes one wonder). Its as if since Creative is offloading the CPU with the APUs and giving the gamer 3-4 more fps all the other features for the movie and music enthusiast are not worth including. At $120 for a low-end X-Fi kinda makes you go "Hmmmmm....."
You'll only need the module for connection to your Z-5500s if you want the quietest connection for music or if you have a software DVD-player with Dolby Digital and want to pass that signal, digitally, to your speakers.