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Do Sound Cards Affect System Performance?

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May 25, 2008 3:57:33 PM

Do Sound Cards Affect System Performance?

I currently have an 8800 GTX p6n Q6600 Quad and 4 gigs of ram. I am using the motherboard audio piece.

I have heard that getting a "real audio card" will improve game performance(currently running AoC at about 30-60 fps). How true is this?


If it does, would you guys say this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102006 is a good card?


Thanks for your time.

-Mike

More about : sound cards affect system performance

May 25, 2008 4:09:59 PM

sound cards wont affect gaming performance.... the only place you will see a difference is when using professional audio apps like cubase or pro tools.
May 25, 2008 4:16:07 PM

no, not really, the amount you spend on that, which could be spent on more ram or a better cpu cool, increasing OC'ing potenial will be far greater.

if you got it, it would give you a couple extra FPS but not many.
if you have a decent set of speakers or headpones, then thing like games and music will sound allot better, especailly when loud.

psyman: IDK there are many people whp use protool and/or cubase that would use a sound card like the one above. i record my self, and almost all the work is done with external (optical or firewire) sound interfaces. or for bigger thing, digital mixers. this becasue sounbd card like creative one do not support ASIO, audio stream input output.
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May 25, 2008 4:21:59 PM

i've read it might do 1-5 fps increase. iam using x-fi music with 2 mb ram.
May 25, 2008 4:33:00 PM

A good sound card might add a few FPS because your offloading the CPU. And offcourse the sound quality will be better but you will only notice it if you have a good sound system, and i,m not talking about a sub $100 speaker system.
May 25, 2008 4:49:56 PM

The short answer is yes. It does have an affect on performance. There will be a slight boost, although it might not be noticible.

Back when I got my audigy 2 I had winXP, an athlon 3000+ and 512mb of Ram... I noticed a nice little boost in FPS. With my current system, I dont think if I switched back to onboard I would notice a performance hit. I do however think that onboard sounds like poo... but thats not the issue at hand.
May 25, 2008 5:03:42 PM

Yes, definitely. Even a logitech usb headset has better performance compared to onboard HD audio. The difference is more pronounced on the min framerate and in events such as big explosions .
May 25, 2008 5:19:43 PM

Even tho it will improve your FPS slightly I would only recommend it if you also want an improvement your sound quality, otherwise it is just an expensive way to get a few extra FPS.
May 25, 2008 5:22:14 PM

A small increase in fps but it would give you crisper, clearer sound. But you wont notice if you have some fairly cheap headphones OR speakers (~$100).
The sound card just offloads the CPU so it will give you a slight increase in performance but not very noticeable compared to modern day CPU's and Integrated sound chips.
May 25, 2008 6:42:27 PM

A few year's ago, I read that having a separate sound card can result in approximately a 5% improvement in CPU performance. I'd guess that with modern equipment, you could get a few percentage points of an improvement, but probably not even noticeable.

However, there's another problem with Vista -- no support for Creative Labs drivers (EAX). Which is the reason I have 2 SB cards at home sitting on a shelf, while I use the onboard sound on the ASUS motherboard. You can read a little about the Vista problems here:
http://apcmag.com/creative_puts_eax_back_into_vista.htm

Given that the only Creative Labs card that will now work with Vista is the X-Fi, you're much better off putting that money elsewhere, as noted above (extra RAM, better graphics card, etc.).
May 25, 2008 7:14:10 PM

I actually stopped using my sound card(original Audigy) for about a week because the Drivers for Vista in general were lacking and had bugs, e.g. When using either Teamspeak or Windows Live Messenger(sound clips via speaker button)My voice would become garbled, only a restart would fix it, I first noticed it when my friend with the same card switched to vista(64bit)....and then i had the issue as well when I upgraded my system and installed Vista Ult. 64bit.

so i got pissed and just started using my onboard sound. Till i played World In Conflict and the sound was cutting in and out and popping and hissing. I tried various driver versions all with the same result, So i compromised, I now use onboard for my Mic(no garbling) and the Audigy for my speakers. I also installed Daniel_K's drivers but i have yet to try using my mic on it as the onboard is just fine for that.
May 25, 2008 7:23:11 PM

mcavey said:
Do Sound Cards Affect System Performance?

If they are from Creative, YES they do affect badly
May 25, 2008 8:54:44 PM

I noticed a slight improvement going from onboard to my Audigy 2 Platinum. I did it more for the 5 1/4" front-panel with L/R inputs, though. (And any way I look at it, an $11 investment on ebay was worth at least TRYING.)
May 25, 2008 9:32:37 PM

It depends. Mixing the channels and calculating the 3D would use some of the CPU, but that's done on the HW nowadays - even with cheap chips.
However, I don't think all effects are done on the HW.
And how about the on-board memory? If the card has it's own memory, the samples can be loaded there so there's no need to constantly transfer (DMA) the sound data.
May 25, 2008 9:50:45 PM

Onboard sounds horrible compared to a decent sound card.
May 25, 2008 10:19:58 PM

JAYDEEJOHN said:
Alchemy is now a free download for even the older SB audigy series. Theres also an unofficial ability to have dolby digital live on the x-fi cards found here http://forums.creative.com/creativelabs/board/message?b... This was done by Daniel-K

Creative was makeing people buy a "Vista" sound card when all that was needed was a driver...and -all- their sound cards would work with Vista (their Vista drivers are still crap).
When the public found this information out the sh!t hit the fan.

Unless your system is more than 5-6 years old you have no reason to use a sound card as the onboard sound is just as good for almost everyone.
If your so into music an think you can hear between them than you should be using a stand alone high end music system anyhow.
May 26, 2008 1:29:08 AM

Quote:
Yes, definitely. Even a logitech usb headset has better performance compared to onboard HD audio.


Can someone confirm or deny this? Why would a USB headset work better than onboard, isn't the sound still decoded from the cpu with USB? (Other than it just decoding in 2.1 instead of a say, 5.1)

Just double checking cause that seems contrary to what i've heard in the past.
May 26, 2008 1:29:52 AM

Quote:
Yes, definitely. Even a logitech usb headset has better performance compared to onboard HD audio.


Can someone confirm or deny this? Why would a USB headset work better than onboard, isn't the sound still decoded from the cpu with USB? (Other than it just decoding in 2.1 instead of a say, 5.1)

Just double checking cause that seems contrary to what i've heard in the past.
May 26, 2008 4:40:00 PM

I've personally tested that using fear and company of heroes as benchmarks. The headset got higher min and average fps with the same sound settings.
May 26, 2008 4:40:47 PM

kad said:
If they are from Creative, YES they do affect badly


I shed a tear of joy reading this one. So true, so true.:D 
May 27, 2008 12:36:27 AM

modtech said:
Onboard sounds horrible compared to a decent sound card.


No it doesn't.
May 27, 2008 1:14:05 PM

In oblivion, when firing an arrow at a longer than medium range you can hear a crisp but subtle thud (using a decent sound card). With onboard such as ac97 or HD soundmax, there's either no sound or an annoying static-ish whimper and this is just an example scratching the surface.
May 27, 2008 2:32:08 PM

YEARS ago (we're talking 10+ years), I had a setup where I'd sometime get audio stuttering with my board. Turned out to be an issue with shared IRQ on the PCI slot I was using. I think it was being shared with the USB ports or something like that that got a lot of usage. Moving the audio card to a different slot solved the problem.

I always paid attention to IRQ sharing after that, don't know if that sort of thing is still an issue - PCI-E pretty much solves the whole problem if I'm not mistaken (which I could be).
May 27, 2008 3:59:24 PM

there was a article the compared the two and there is like within 1 to 2% difference. It was awhile since I seen it. And your partially wrong Modtech. While there are different knids of onboard sound chips they all don't suck. My board uses a Realtek HD Audioand it sounds great. And I use Klipsch prodmedia 4.1's. Not exactly your $100 pair of speakers.
January 30, 2009 9:55:04 PM

Yes, but i also got a Realtek HD onboard autio and its sounds ugly :cry:  thats why Im getting an x-fi extreme gamer sound card. :whistle:  so lets see how the sound quality goes after i installed it :??:  .
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