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Buying first Sound Card in 15 years. Help me Choose.

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August 27, 2009 3:45:22 PM

Recently built a very nice Quad Core gaming machine. It is working very fine except for the sound card.

Since the last patch for Left 4 Dead, the voice chat in game will blue screen Windows. All of the information I can google on this leads me to believe it's time to replace my on board sound.

However I have not purchased a sound card in well over a decade... What should I get? Driver stability is very important to me, so I should skip anything made by Creative Labs, right?

Give me some input, please.

Thanks in advance
Witt
August 27, 2009 4:00:02 PM

I know this doesn't answer your question, but I am curious what motherboard you are using?
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August 27, 2009 4:24:56 PM

Okay, Going to make a long story short.

Yesterday I formatted my machine for the first time in a year. I was starting to develop a few little glitchy problems. Problems that included this sudden blue screen while playing Left 4 Dead.

(Motherboard is an Asus P5E Deluxe. It's basically a Rampage with one less Ethernet port.)

After the format, 95% of my problems were fixed. However, the problem in L4D still persists.

I know I am using the latest drivers for both my video and sound boards, since I just downloaded the newest drivers from the net, yesterday just after the format. (Video = 2X, ATI Radeon 4870's linked in Crossfire) (Just put CCC 9.8 on the PC)

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Okay, this crash appears to be an issue with the last L4D patch. It was quite easy to use Google to find forum posts from people having the same problem as me.

On the other hand, there are plenty of people in game, whom use the voice comms with no problems at all.

In the past, when I built computers I would cut some corners to save some money. When I built this computer, I decided to go "All Out".

The "On-Board" sound "Card" is the only crappy part in my entire machine. (It really is a PCI-E card. It came with the motherboard, but it's not actually "On The Board" There is a PCI-E card that fits into a special... Sound Card only PCI-E slot on the MB)

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Anyway... To avoid writing a book here... I kinda figured that I could wait for the next patch for a fix... Or perhaps I could get a decent sound board and solve the problem a little faster.

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You like the Asus cards, huh? I wonder if I would gain some stability by running an Asus sound board with an Asus Motherboard...

What about those HT/Omega cards? Never heard of some of these companies... I'm familiar with the old companies like Turtle Beach and Creative.

- Witt
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August 27, 2009 4:57:37 PM

I don't go with Creative; their products are sub-standard and their drivers stink. Why people continue to put up with them is beyond me. HT/Omega lacks many of the features a lot of us need and other budget cards fit into their segment (the same applies to turtle beach).

For strict gaming, head Auzentech (Prelude and Forte)
For HTPC/movie usage, go ASUS (Xonar D2/D2X, Xonar DX, STX Essence, HDAV1.3)
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August 27, 2009 8:30:15 PM

Witt78 said:
I know I am using the latest drivers for both my video and sound boards
Are you actually using your old PCI or PCIe expansion card for sound? If so, try removing it and just using the integrated sound on the motherboard. I don't know how old your sound board is, but you may be surprised at how far integrated sound has come since you bought it...
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August 28, 2009 3:31:28 AM

sminlal said:
Are you actually using your old PCI or PCIe expansion card for sound? If so, try removing it and just using the integrated sound on the motherboard. I don't know how old your sound board is, but you may be surprised at how far integrated sound has come since you bought it...


Oh, no... I think you miss understood. My Motherboard has a very unorthodox setup with it's sound...

The motherboard has on it, a PCI-E slot that is colored differently from the others. The only thing you can seat in that PCI-E slot is the sound card that came with the motherboard...

In other words, my motherboard came with onboard sound... It just wasn't "On Board"

- Witt
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August 28, 2009 6:27:20 AM

Witt78 said:
In other words, my motherboard came with onboard sound... It just wasn't "On Board
Ah, ooookay.
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August 28, 2009 9:16:47 AM

+1 for an ASUS Xonar, -1 for any Creative card.
IMO the ASUS Xonar line offers the best consumer cards out there.

I recently replaced a driver retarded Xfi Gamer with the lowest Xonar offering, the PCIe DX, and the difference is immense.
Even with a cheap set of Logitech x540's, the Xonar is much crisper, cleaner and just sounds right.
Also, now I do not get crackling sounds and my speakers do not randomly migrate while gaming (it would move the sound one speaker to the left :??:  ).
On the flip side, I upgraded the Gf's onboard sound to the Xfi and IT sounds so much cleaner also :lol: 
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August 28, 2009 9:33:56 AM

OT
Is it me, or are sound cards like the refridgerators of pcs? Buy 1, it last forever
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August 28, 2009 9:40:08 AM

jd, you could always hit with a hammer. :) 
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August 28, 2009 9:42:49 AM

Yeah, no one I know has ever had a sound card fail naturally.
As long as they keep making drivers it probably can last for ever.
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August 28, 2009 10:58:02 AM

Witt78 said:
Oh, no... I think you miss understood. My Motherboard has a very unorthodox setup with it's sound...

The motherboard has on it, a PCI-E slot that is colored differently from the others. The only thing you can seat in that PCI-E slot is the sound card that came with the motherboard...

In other words, my motherboard came with onboard sound... It just wasn't "On Board"

- Witt

Beg to differ with you on that pci-e (black) slot. I built a friend a computer using ASUS Maximus II Formula (has same layout as your board) and install a discrete sound card in that slot. But you also have 2 other pci-e 1x slots and you can install a discrete sound card in the lower of the two also.

This is the sound card I would recommend below, mainly since it has better drivers then the Creative cards and also comes with X-FI.
AuzenTech AZT-FORTE X-Fi Forte 7.1 Low Profile PCI Express Sound Card - Retail $139.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

More info on Sound Card
http://www.auzentech.com/site/products/x-fi_forte.php
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August 28, 2009 1:07:37 PM

Well, I will add my 2 cents here as well.
ANYTHING, and I mean anything, is better than a Creative product.
You could not pay me to take anything made by Creative. I am so pissed at them ever since the Vista driver support fiasco. Well, maybe you could pay me to take another of their products. I would pocket the cash and use the product to help my 4 wheel drive get traction in the snow by placing it under 1 of the front tires.
That is what I think of Creative.
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September 5, 2009 6:07:47 PM

Yoosty said:
Beg to differ with you on that pci-e (black) slot. I built a friend a computer using ASUS Maximus II Formula (has same layout as your board) and install a discrete sound card in that slot. But you also have 2 other pci-e 1x slots and you can install a discrete sound card in the lower of the two also.


Interesting, I can install a sound board into that PCI-E? Okay....

Oh, btw. Yes, I currently have several free spots, though two of them are covered up by my crossfire video card setup.

I currently have a PCI-E and a regular PCI slot available. (That does not include the black PCI-E that my motherboards sound card is seated in.

- Joe
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