I already own both of those dedicated cards so I'm not out the money, I just want the best sound quality as well as ingoing sound from my MIC. (I realize non of these cards are going to be amazingly fantastic at ingoing, it's just for gaming and such).
Thank you in advance for your answers, they are appreciated.
Of the three, the 'X-Fi' would give you the best sound, if you can get it working...
The Audigy SE, however, will sound virtually identical as it has the same chipset and virtually identical board.
Look into Daniel_K's fixed driver packages as Creative is trying to entice everyone to buy one of their new cards by breaking their Vista/Win 7 drivers.
If you end up having unfixable driver issues with either of the Creative cards in your new rig, defiantly ditch them for the onboard.
It will sound slightly worse but at least it will have working drivers.
I've tried a real x-fi and on board. The x-fi does sound just a tad better if you go through and adjust all it's filters, also it's great for games where there are a lot of sound effects happening at once like the battlefield series.
However I ended up removing the x-fi because it doesn't play nice with openAL. Creatives drivers will keep some games from loading, without any indication why whatsoever, it took me weeks to figure this out. I'd rather have sound that's 2% worse than games that don't work at all.
I have taken everything I ever owned "Creative", which was several cards, all the back to the old Sound Blaster 16, and a couple in between up to a X-Fi Gamer, and drove my car over them, stomped them all twice, hit them with a hammer, and used them for .22 target practice. After buying the brand new X-Fi gamer, then upgrading to Vista, I cannot think of 1 single nice thing to say about them.
Out of those cards you have, I place another vote to just use the onboard.
i had my hopes up because i thought you were talking about graphics.>
Same, but this is a unique thread.... I use onboard without paying much attention to my sound.... are the sound cards that come with the X58 boards any good? I dont have one yet(x58) but I am waiting for prices to drop and for some to come out with usb3.0 then I will buy one next year....
It really depends on the included codec and how picky you are about your sound.
Generally speaking, most any decent sound card will blow onboard sound out of the watter.
Give the onboard a try before you buy a new card, most people seem to think they sound good enough.
For gaming purposes at "dont wake the kids up" volumes, onboard sound is good enough for me, especially with typical pc speakers...
On my guitar amp \ media player rig I use a dedicated sound card with the gigaworks 750 speaker setup as there it makes a huge difference to quality and importantly when playing music, latency. Its only a Audiigy 2 sound card and the speakers are far from "professional quality" but even so the two together are a night and day difference when playing guitar over regular speakers and onboard sound.
I just dont feel that my gaming sound "needs" that hardware. Although I can and have used it in the past for gaming, I just dont feel it make anywhere near enough difference to the experience to justify the cost. Personally I feel good headphones over pc speakers add far more to immersion than the difference between sound card and onboard sound for gaming.
I know... there is a special place in hell for me replying to an old thread.
I came across this during an Internet search on the VIA VT1708S. I was comparing it to an old Audigy 4.
The VT1708S sounds EXCELLENT especially when setting ALL settings in VIA HD Audio Deck to 192/24-bit and SPDIFs at 96/24-bit. Games and music sound great!
The Audigy 4 on the other hand hates Windows 7 64-bit. Audio plays at 192/24-bit, BUT recording sound is a whole different story. As I recall, "What U Hear" maxes out at 48/16, Analog In was 96/24, and the mic was also 96/24.
Here are the specs on the VT1708S. I highly recommend using the current VIA driver instead of the motherboard manufacturer's version...