Currently i am just using my onboard sound while playing company of heroes and sometimes when alot of stuff is going on in-game the game lags up nad makes an annoying noise. I have a 7800 an amd 4000, so that should be adequate. Is not havvng a sound card lagging me up???
do you mean having a soundcard that isn't the motherboard onborad sound? if you do then not likely, motherboard sound uses around 3% of your processors usage, so having a separate card mibbee wouldn't make a (notable) difference.
Although getting an creative x-fi wouldn't be a waste of cash just because they are the bees knees. And according to creative they have something like 24 x more sound proccessing kick than pentium IV
Uses 3% on average, but that spikes to 33%+ of CPU at times, sometimes just for 50ms or so, sometimes longer (but it always feels like it lasts 5 times longer than it does in MP combat, eh ?)
If you have a dual-core then I wouldn't worry about it.
If you are running a single core Athlon 64 4000+ then a Creative X-Fi XtremeMusic might be in order by the 'sounds' of it. - :|
I've played Half-Life 2: Team Death Match, and Death Match, and while it made little difference on average an X-Fi XtremeMusic was enough to ensure lag during heaps of 3D positional audio effects was minimized.
Run-Off wasn't exactly lag city during heaps of audio though, one of the indoors ones with 12+ people in teams really slowed down if audio got out of hand (only on peoples PCs without dedicated sound-cards).
Motherboard sound usualy tops out at 44khz, thus using a small percentage of the cpu, and the more cpu usuage > the less the frame rate > more the lag. The cheaper the soundcard, the less likely it will have it's own processing unit, therefore a clear 96khz will use more of the cpu resulting in small frame loss overall and more at heavy times. The X-FI's on-board cpu, while being a chunk of change, will allow you to have beautifuly clear sounds without using your AMD 4000 crunching to process them, freeing it up to process the frames. I'd likely bet the X-FI would be the last soundcard you'd have to buy, @ 32bits and almost 200khz, the soundcard side of the industry is topping out. If you happen to buy an X-FI, get the whole 'shibang', remote, 3 1/2 inch tuner drive, ect. Make it worth you while. We may hit 64bits, but you'd have to have a crazy amount of 'voices' going on at one time. I can't remember if 32bit can process 32 voices or higher, but think about that in a game :? Woa!
And according to creative they have something like 24 x more sound proccessing kick than pentium IV
The thing that got me to stop using onboard in the past was
Lag cause from processing sound
Quality of sound
and the ammount of sounds processed.
its not all the time of course or everygame but in the past i have had my crappy onboard or $5 sound card cause large lag spikes in games. Simply by using a SB live or something comparable all that lag went away.
Is it effecting you? not sure but it can have a large effect in some cases depends on alot of things.
You are ignoring all the positional 3D code, the effects that go into each voice (such as distance, reverb, materials, EAX 2.0 - 5.0 HD, and the game code loop + DirectX offloading required to process audio).
Audio uses more than 10% of peoples CPU power at times, and when there is heaps going on a 'soft sound card' (eg: a chip that then re-offloads back to the CPU) really hurts performance. (Heck, the game code pushes it via DirectX using Audio Engine, then DX pushes to the Audio chip [hardware acceleration], which pushes it back to the CPU [what I call hardware deceleration]).
Considering how much CPU power this can use, (not 'on average', but 'during re-creatable worst case scenarios, eg: heavy action in an online FPS') gamers really need an Audigy 2 at the least, if not an X-Fi XtremeMusic (but nothing more costly, as they all provide equal audio processing performance).