Is on-board sound necessary?

I want to make a statement to whoever might be reading this. I think that motherboards should be more widely available without on-board sound. I guess I'm just not sure if my opinion is shared with the masses.

I'm not saying ALL motherboards should not have on-board sound. However, it seems like you hardly get the option even today when sound cards seem to be quite popular. I just hate the idea of owning hardware I know I'll never use. I also don't think it's fair for the consumer that knows he/she will buy a soundcard from their favorite manufacturer to be forced into "buying" AC '97.
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More about board sound necessary
  1. Few people really buy external sound cards. I own an Audigy 2, but its in a draw atm because I cant tell the difference between that an the Realtek HD and I'd rather have more airflow.

    Those that want external sound can simply disable the onboard sound, or use the onboard sound for their VoIP/Teamspeak/Ventrillo headset, meaning games can still play over the speakers through the external sound.

    I dont see a reason for them not to put onboard sound on, it has gotten to commodity level pricing, and while it would reduce material costs of a motherboard by maybe $2 to omit it, it would increase support costs, BIOS autoring costs, marketing costs, increase stock lines to be held by distributors, etc etc to have two models of a board, one with sound and one with out.

    As such everyone would probably end up paying more.
  2. AC97 sounds cards are cheap and small.
    Not as good as a modern sound-card, but at least you can hear something incase your card breaks, can't found drivers, etc. I still hear people swear sounds cards are still much better.
  3. Quote:
    I want to make a statement to whoever might be reading this. I think that motherboards should be more widely available without on-board sound. I guess I'm just not sure if my opinion is shared with the masses.

    I'm not saying ALL motherboards should not have on-board sound. However, it seems like you hardly get the option even today when sound cards seem to be quite popular. I just hate the idea of owning hardware I know I'll never use. I also don't think it's fair for the consumer that knows he/she will buy a soundcard from their favorite manufacturer to be forced into "buying" AC '97.


    I don't want a parallel port. Why should I pay for it? Same with firewire. Take it off. And the sata ports, take 4 of them off for me please, I'll never use the raid ones....

    If MB manufacturers made a model to cater to everyone's whims, they'd have to make them to order. A $500 dollar hammer would be cheaper, methinks. Just disable the dam ting in bios and quit whinging. Or look for a MB without an ac 97 chip... I'm sure there is at least one model.
  4. Quote:
    use the onboard sound for their VoIP/Teamspeak/Ventrillo headset, meaning games can still play over the speakers through the external sound.


    Not to hi-jack the thread, but how would one go about doing that?
  5. I voted "No" because it can increase manufacturing costs. Increasing the number of different mobos manufactured means more production lines even if the difference is just the lack of integrated audio. I'm not saying that there will be two completely different full fledged production lines, but at some point a mobo will have to be diverted to two seperate production branches; one that adds integrated audio chip, and one that doesn't.

    It can also increase manufacturing costs because fewer audio chips may be purchased per order. That means smaller economies of scale since it is likely to cost slightly more per chip if fewer chips are purchased.
  6. Quote:
    AC97 sounds cards are cheap and small.
    Not as good as a modern sound-card, but at least you can hear something incase your card breaks, can't found drivers, etc. I still hear people swear sounds cards are still much better.


    Yup.
  7. I hate waste, kstrat, and think you are downward right!
    Especially that sound cards last years - you do not need to upgrade a sound card often, so when you buy new mobo you quite often know you do not need onboard sound. Removing onboard sound would take a good few $$$ off the price of a mobo, too.
  8. Quote:
    I voted "No" because it can increase manufacturing costs. Increasing the number of different mobos manufactured means more production lines even if the difference is just the lack of integrated audio. I'm not saying that there will be two completely different full fledged production lines, but at some point a mobo will have to be diverted to two seperate production branches; one that adds integrated audio chip, and one that doesn't.

    It can also increase manufacturing costs because fewer audio chips may be purchased per order. That means smaller economies of scale since it is likely to cost slightly more per chip if fewer chips are purchased.


    I agree, what is being proposed can increase cost.
  9. The cost of the AC'97 codec chip is less than $2 in volume

    So while you are saving $2 in materials, you are proposing that motherboard makers produce twice as many variants, keep twice as many BIOSes updated, etc etc.

    This would lead to a SIGNIFICANT increase in motherboard costs.

    Even if you said ALL motherboards should have no sound onboard, then yeah, you save $2, but everyone else that doesnt care about high end overpriced soundcards pays out an extra $50 (at least) for one because there is no alternative.

    Anyway, if we go back to the 486 days, motherboards didnt even have onboard IDE etc, and there are some people who dont want this, they want SCSI. As such how about we go back further.


    How about it:

    *Motherboards come without onboard LAN. If you want it, pay $20 for an add in card.

    *Motherboards come without onboard USB. Old 386/486 mobos came without Serial and parralel, so why not? If you want it, pay £30 for an add in card.

    *Motherboards come without IDE or SATA. Again, some people might only need SATA, or only need IDE, or even want SCSI or SAS, so this makes sense. Old 386/486 motherboards didnt have IDE. Pay $80 or more for a decent IDE/SATA controller - not just some 33MHz PCI piece of crap.

    Hell, motherboards never used to have a way to connect a mouse without a serial card.

    Omitting onboard sound will gain you nothing, and cost plenty of people dearly.
  10. It is necessary. Most people, even gamers, do not bother with a sound card. The onboard sound chips today give excellent quality that is suitable to the average gamer. These onboard sound chips are also very inexpensive to put on a motherboard. In mass production they are extremely cheap and it would make any real cost difference if the onboard chip was put on or not.
  11. Quote:
    use the onboard sound for their VoIP/Teamspeak/Ventrillo headset, meaning games can still play over the speakers through the external sound.


    Not to hi-jack the thread, but how would one go about doing that?

    Curious about this myself.
  12. Quote:
    use the onboard sound for their VoIP/Teamspeak/Ventrillo headset, meaning games can still play over the speakers through the external sound.


    Not to hi-jack the thread, but how would one go about doing that?

    Curious about this myself.

    Install sound card as usual. Leave onboard sound enabled. Goto "Control Panel" and then "Sounds and Audio Devices".

    On the Audio tab, set the speakers/sound card as the default for "Sound Playback" and "Midi Music Playback". Set the headset/onboard for "Sound Recording".

    On the Voice tab, set both options to the headset/onboard sound.

    Most applications, for example MSN messenger, Skype, Google Talk, Ventrillo, Teamspeak, have their own settings in the options menu that will override this. If it is set to "default DirectSound device" then it should follow the control panel settings however.
  13. Simple enough. The advice is much appreciated.
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