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Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi vs Realtek ALC888

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November 16, 2009 4:53:06 AM

Hey guys, one of my friends has Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio VARPAK 7.1 Channels 24-bit 96KHz sound card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I would like to know how would onboard Realtek ALC888 stack up against the sound blaster card.

I am specifically looking into Gigabyte 770t motherboard (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

It has realtek ALC888 onboard audio. So I would like to know how much difference would the sound blaster make. Also what are the points of improvement in the Creative sound blaster card. What is better/bad about the sound blaster card compared to the ALC888 onboard audio
November 16, 2009 6:42:40 AM

On board sound has come a long way in the last few years. If you're gaming, the onboard sound will be better than you need and CPUs are powerful enough, it doesn't effect in game performance either. The speakers/headphones are where the real performance comes in. Aftermarket sound cards are only needed these days if you're doing audio production work.
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November 16, 2009 8:12:41 AM

I am going to disagree(sort of)...

Yes with all the new tech the performance hit you take when using an onboard sound card over a detcated is ultra tiny, but its still there.

The second thing is if you are going to use your pc to watch a movie on a desent speaker setup you will want the sound blaster, the audio quality is way way better than any onboard.

On my new system i tried the onboard(ADI® AD2000B), yes it was a huge improvement on the older onboard sound cards... 2 weeks later i was back on my 3 year old SB Audigy 2 simply because the sound quality it produces is better...

But in all honesty, it's a personal prefence that you will have to deside on, luckely your friend has one, so you can compair for yourself.


*Just a note. never go for the "value" range on SoundBlaster, they are only there if you don't have any form of sound and realy need it(again my opinion)...
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November 16, 2009 9:40:50 AM

N@n0 said:

Yes with all the new tech the performance hit you take when using an onboard sound card over a detcated is ultra tiny, but its still there.

True. But with the multi-core processors, CPU utilization rates are becoming less and less important.

N@n0 said:

The second thing is if you are going to use your pc to watch a movie on a desent speaker setup you will want the sound blaster, the audio quality is way way better than any onboard.

Also true. You just need to decide if it is $100 or so better.

Having said all that, I keep transferring my Audigy 2ZS to what becomes my new gaming and multimedia computer. :) 
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November 16, 2009 10:31:25 AM

Onboard sound is crap.

I have an X-Fi Platinum, sadly the breakout box is not working any more. I'm a bass player and I practice along drum loops playing on my PC. I have to plug my bass into the line-in of my mobo since the breakout box of my X-Fi has refused to work. Sometimes I forget to switch audio back to the X-Fi before loading a game and I have to say that the difference in the sound is huge.
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November 16, 2009 6:40:38 PM

Thanks for all your answers guys! I actually did test and compare my friends creative SB card and my onboard audio. There really isn't a lot of difference for me since I dont have a high-tech speaker system So I dont see any reason to shell out the extra 50-60$$$ for a sound card

Thanks all
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