Soundcard impact on performance?

I read a comment in the forum that using onboard sound rather than a separate sound card can have a noticeable effect on performance e.g. slowing things down during game play. This got me thinking.

Has anyone else noticed this - any figures recorded?

Would adding a £20 SoundBlaster actually make a difference to a PC that would otherwise struggle just using the motherboard?

Thank you for any input.
10 answers Last reply
More about soundcard impact performance
  1. It seems like someone asks this question every single day.
    It will make a very, very, tiny, little difference as far as perfomance.
    You might get 1-3 fps more in certain games. If you have a fairly recent processor and motherboard, it probably isn't going to make any difference at all.
  2. Yes, if the onboard sound card is demanding bandwidth that the CPU needs to run the game...............otherwise no.
    Then only if your a demanding audiophile that needs the latest and greatest in sound reinforcement, late model motherboards have more than adequate sound capabilities including simulated surround and 8 channels.
    Only the most demanding gamers or a audiophile can justify a PCI sound card.
    Or maybe if the builder chose a CPU that is too small and needs a PCI sound to take a load off the motherboard...........
  3. It will make a big difference because it takes a load off the CPU. I know
    because back in the castle wolfenstein days when I went from onboard
    sound to a dedicated sound card there was no stuttering in my games.


    iknow
  4. Quote:
    It will make a big difference because it takes a load off the CPU. I know
    because back in the castle wolfenstein days when I went from onboard
    sound to a dedicated sound card there was no stuttering in my games.


    Now that CPUs are more faster, the CPU cycles eaten by onboard sound is very, very small. Having a dual core CPU will also reduce any apparent drop in performance.

    I've always prefer installing a dedicated sound card no matter how fast or slow my PC is.
  5. Yeah, and if something was true about PCs in Wolfenstein days, it MUST be true now! :lol:
  6. My....my, how times have changed
  7. GOOD sound card, such a screative Xi-Fi, can support better sound effects and more 'voices' in games. 3Dmark03 has a test for sound and my onboard sound card would not provide 60 voices, my Sonicfury does.
    Mike.
  8. So the consensus appears to be that on an older, single core PC a soundcard might lighten the load enough to make a difference, but on anything current it shouldn't really be noticeable.

    Now where's my mate's 386 gone that I played Castle Wolfenstein on? :lol:

    Thank you.
  9. Yes and No, it all depends on the type of builder and the person holding the joystick.
    Atermarket sound cards can help to create added depth, immersion and realism to an otherwise so-so game so don't discount them entirely, because they definately don't hurt anything but the gains in FPS to be found from them are much less than "Days of Ole".........

    I even found myself at Creative's home page drooling over the highly advanced hardware during this build so don't beat yourself up over it, it's truly ok to look at stuff that you don't really need but would like to have cuz it looks cool and fills a empty slot in that TT Armor........butttons, knobs, switches, sliders, led's ARGHHHHHH :arrow: Calgon take me away
  10. Nowadays on-board sound is good enough for most people. Sound quality isn't that great compared to a separate sound card and as someone else has pointed out, there won't be as many independant voices.

    If you are borderline between onboard sound and a separate sound card, then I would recommend using onboard sound first to find out if the quality is good enough.
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