Do I Need a Sound Card or can I use Onboard?

answered my own question.
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  1. From what I hear with PC Speakers (ie Z5500) you won't hear much of a difference between onboard audio and a Sound card but this is a question that is perplexing to me as I am getting ready to start on a Media only PC and have to answer some difficult questions myself.

    Not to hijack your thread but I don't see the purpose of starting a new one that is going to ask the very same question.

    Old System:
    3 Carver Amps 2 TFM 35X and a 15
    PreAmp Carver CT-27V
    CD Player Carver 360
    The 15 was stolen and one of the TFM 35X's is dead so I have left:
    1 TFM 35X
    Preamp
    Carver 360

    I'm going to take the one dead TFM 35X and make it the PC and I want to mod the Carver 360 and make it a Blu-Ray / DVD Drive.
    So 1st question: Can you Mod an old CD Player so it can Blu-Ray Disks?
    I could mod the Amp into a Media Server and then make the PreAmp a HTPC. Most of all I want to keep the looks and the sound of the past just upgrade it to current.
    So should I keep the Preamp as it is or Mod it into a HTPC and make the one Amp a Server?
    The speakers are kind of old but unbelievably powerful.
    The front was Cerwin Vega 15's, Center was Cerwin Vega, and rear was Bose 401's. I want to keep the speakers so I'm going to have to get a 5 Out Amp which means I'll need two more rears which will probably be Bose 201's. I can probably get by with 100 Watts per speaker for the back 4 and Center plus finding the Carver Amp won't be hard.

    If I can get by with just running straight from the PC to the amps (and still have surround) then the choice would be pretty easy to bypass the receiver/preamp as there wouldn't be a real need to do so. So do I need a Preamp or Receiver?
    I did this early on while building my system by hooking the CD Player directly to the Amp.
    If I can should I go ahead and move towards having a Sound Card?

    With the above system would I need HDMI or can I get away with just a DVI to the TV? I haven't gotten a display yet as I use the computers for watching and recording right now.

    The Pre-Amp in it's current condition has an S/PDIF input and 5.1 Dolby Surround (switch in the back made it 5.0 and I had no need or need a subwoofer) so should I just leave it alone and use the PreAmp?
    If that's the case then the onboard should be fine as it's Digital to Digital and it wouldn't make a difference if I had a Sound Card or not... or am I wrong?

    Now if I got a Sound Card could I use both the onboard and the Sound card at the same time? Such as listening to music in the shower while at the same time my kids could watch a movie in the living room all from one computer? Is that possible?

    Lot's of questions and hopefully I can get them all straightened out here.
  2. imo i wouldnt spend more money on a sound card when you could spend it on a better video card and get a better gaming experience... sound doesnt make much difference to me.
  3. If you game onboard sound EAX 0 ...Creative Xfi soundcard EAX 5 . You do see a big difference.
    For music who knows i'm tone deaf..maybe a bit of a difference but i've not noticed anything earthshattering
  4. Does True EAX Work in Vista yet? Last I heard about it the new driver model for Vista breaks the X-Fi cards. They were making a open AI wrapper patch for it.

    EAX support is only software emulated now.

    So my X-Fi extreme Music card has a high class DSP processor on it that sits idle while my CPU runs all the sound files in software.

    Because I have that card in my system, I am allowed to emulate EAX but I really wanted the hardware excelleration of the sound processor.

    This is because Vista doesn't allow drivers to directly access hardware like it used to in XP.

    I have noticed EAX capable audio is available on the new X48 and X58 boards. They don't have a creative labs processor on board. They just emulate it like my X-Fi has to now.

    Anyone know if this has been fixed.
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