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Sound Cards Why do I need one when my onboard sounds good?

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April 3, 2010 7:24:48 PM

Sound Cards
  • Onboard or Dedicated?

    You dont see alot of people asking the onboard vs sound card question too much these days, but it should be addressed still. Even though onboard sound is much better then it used to be it is still not as good as an add in card.


    Why get a sound card if my onboard sounds good?

    For the most part the onboard sound is all you will ever need these chips have come a long way since they started incorprasteing them on the motherboard, but they still do not have the quality of an add in sound card. Onboard sound chips need to use your CPU to process sound now its not as a big deal as it used to be but it still can rob your FPS games of precious power. Depending on the sample rate settings you have your onboard at you can see on average a 5fps boost by going to a add in card.

    You may think hey my onboard sounds great but what happens is you get used to it. You will be pleasently surprised by the quality of sound you can get with an add in sound card. You will notice music sounding more crisp and clear you will hear sounds in games previously not heard on the onboard. You will relize once you heard the quality of sound that you were being robbed by your onboard sound. Most people will spend all there efforts on getting the best CPU and the best Video card and then use a very less then impressive onboard audio system. When you are playing these great games like Call of Duty and Battleield 2 Bad Company these devolpers have spent just as much time on devolping the audio as they do on the video, with eax , surround sound and directional audio, all were made to make the gaming experience even more impressive. But for the masses that still use their onboard sound are missing out on some great sound.


    Some of My Favorites

    I will start at the most expensive.

  • HT|OMEGA Claro Halo XT
    This card is not for the average user it provide some really impressive sound. Its not really a gaming card though it does have full EAX support but that is not what this card for this is for the audiophile that needs to be able to hear every little thing in there music really an impressive card but not really practical for the gamer.



  • ASUS Xonar D2X
    The D2X has just about every feature known to man for a sound card it is really quite special. This card isnt the best for gaming it will be about 2-3 fps slower than the Sound Blaster X-FI but the sound quality is really spectacular.


    And now for my Favorite card and is still the best gaming card

  • Creative Sound Blaster X-FI Titanium Fatal1ty
    I know I am gonna get alot of people saying that creative sucks, but I have not had one problem with this card and yes I use windows 7 64bit. I have had this card for 5 months now and I love it, the sound quailty is great, and I gained 7 fps over my onboard useing this card. I will admit creative fell off a little when vista came and all the drivers problems but most if not all have been solved.



    Better Sound Without Breaking The Bank

  • [bHT|OMEGA Striker
    For $89.99 this will give you a full cinematic experience without breaking the bank. This card is loaded with features and will blow you away with its sound quality.


  • ASUS Xonar DS
    This card for $49.99 is a pretty basic sound card no extra frills really just clean crisp full sound and that is what counts you will notice a difference.


  • Note that there are many models in between from these manufactures basically all the cards made by HT|OMEGA will blow you away ASUS will be a great card no matter which model you get Creative stay away from the Xtreme Audio and their cheap Audigy SE cards they really do suck but their higher end cards are very good. If you run into an AuzenTech X Raidar they usually run around $50 and have great sound quality.

    Auzentech Forte
    Auzentech Prelude
    ASUS Xonar D2/D2X
    ASUS Essence STX

  • These are some great cards that I didnt list so look for these too in your searches.

    Now the purpose of this thread isnt to say you have to go out and buy a sound card if you are happy with your onboard sound and you are content with a basic audio setup then by all means stay with it, but if you are like me and likes to hear your music the way it was meant and to hear all the effects in your game like they were meant to sound then go out and get yourself a nice sound card.


  • Remember your choice of speakers will play a huge part in your overall experience dont expect audiophile quality sound thru a cheap pair of speakers.



  • For some great reviews on cards check ourThe Guru of 3D Reviews
  • [/b]
    April 3, 2010 9:29:25 PM

    I think you're missing the point of why people don't ask much anymore. It's because onboard sound has gotten to a level that most people find acceptable. It's like the onboard network card, it generally works good enough that there isn't much of a reason to get an add in card.

    The cards you listed make great sound, but they also cost more than what I paid for my CPU. Only audiophiles would even consider getting cards at that level. Plus it would be a shame to hook them up to the $30 speakers someone gets at Walmart.

    So people could spend $400+ on a great sound card and speakers OR go with the built in sound that works good enough.
    April 3, 2010 9:52:17 PM

    Probably 95% of the kids with "good discrete" sound cards are wasting it with speakers they think is the best thing since sliced bread because they've never walked into an audio shop or Magnolia in Best Buy.

    There's nothing wrong with discrete sound cards, but 95% of kids here are basically filling up Honda Civics (their speakers) with 106 octane gas (their sound card) and thinking they've got the best thing money can buy.

    And if you try to convince them their Civics aren't the best thing out their, pointing out they could have bought a better car and be a little more economical on the fuel, they start raging like crazy and calling you a hater or a snob, or an "audiophile."

    The perfect computer analogy is those guys who spend a ton of money on an SLI/dual video card setup and run it on a $180 22" monitor. And you call them out on that, (point out you could have spent the money on a better monitor and a single card and get more out of your money) the classic response is "I'm not rich like the rest of you to blow money and what I have is good enough."

    Oh the irony.
    Related resources
    April 3, 2010 11:56:20 PM

    calinkula said:
    I think you're missing the point of why people don't ask much anymore. It's because onboard sound has gotten to a level that most people find acceptable. It's like the onboard network card, it generally works good enough that there isn't much of a reason to get an add in card.

    The cards you listed make great sound, but they also cost more than what I paid for my CPU. Only audiophiles would even consider getting cards at that level. Plus it would be a shame to hook them up to the $30 speakers someone gets at Walmart.

    So people could spend $400+ on a great sound card and speakers OR go with the built in sound that works good enough.


    I think you are missing the point what I am saying is people got so used to the crappy sound that most onboards have yea they are good but you can not beat the quality of a add in card. And people really have no clue what they are missing by not having a good card. I have my X-FI on a logitech z5500 5.1 and I can tell a big difference in clarity and overall depth of music and games and its not like I have a cheap motherboard I have an ASUS P5K premium board. Even the $50 to $100 cards you will see much improvement.

    I am gonna add a few cheaper cards to my list.
    April 3, 2010 11:57:43 PM

    astrallite said:
    Probably 95% of the kids with "good discrete" sound cards are wasting it with speakers they think is the best thing since sliced bread because they've never walked into an audio shop or Magnolia in Best Buy.

    There's nothing wrong with discrete sound cards, but 95% of kids here are basically filling up Honda Civics (their speakers) with 106 octane gas (their sound card) and thinking they've got the best thing money can buy.

    And if you try to convince them their Civics aren't the best thing out their, pointing out they could have bought a better car and be a little more economical on the fuel, they start raging like crazy and calling you a hater or a snob, or an "audiophile."

    The perfect computer analogy is those guys who spend a ton of money on an SLI/dual video card setup and run it on a $180 22" monitor. And you call them out on that, (point out you could have spent the money on a better monitor and a single card and get more out of your money) the classic response is "I'm not rich like the rest of you to blow money and what I have is good enough."

    Oh the irony.


    I could not agree more with you. Everyone is all about the best graphics and the best CPU and then forgets the rest of the system. I garantee you try even a cheaper add in card like the ASUS Xonar DS which is $49.99 you will notice a pretty nice amount of difference in depth of the sound.
    April 4, 2010 12:16:51 AM

    saaiello said:
    I think you are missing the point what I am saying is people got so used to the crappy sound that most onboards have yea they are good but you can not beat the quality of a add in card. And people really have no clue what they are missing by not having a good card. I have my X-FI on a logitech z5500 5.1 and I can tell a big difference in clarity and overall depth of music and games and its not like I have a cheap motherboard I have an ASUS P5K premium board. Even the $50 to $100 cards you will see much improvement.

    I am gonna add a few cheaper cards to my list.


    No, I hear what your saying. I got a low end X-FI and I can tell the difference between onboard sound. Expecting that the general public can tell or cares is something else. Example: my wife couldn't tell the difference, probably because she didn't care, even though she listens to music all the time on the PC.
    April 4, 2010 12:30:31 AM

    I feel bad for the people that actually think that onboard sound chips actually sound good. To me they have no depth no realism and they definitely lack clarity. If I reach 10 people with this thread and show them what they are missing I will be happy. :D 
    April 4, 2010 9:05:32 AM

    Well done. I concur about having a dedicated sound card over onboard sound, especially in regard to sound quality and in terms of cutting down on cpu usage a bit. Sure, on board sound is much better than the old days when it sounded like one was listening to an AM radio, but overall, I like many other audiophiles out there have grown use to the better sound of a dedicated card, regardless of price, etc...
    April 4, 2010 12:05:26 PM

    I've been on the fence about whether or not to add in a sound card for the current gaming build i'm working on, since i've never really bothered with them and dont know squat about sound. I'm trying to keep the whole build (sans monitor) under $900, and i'm certainly no audiophile, but I can tell the difference between stock tv speakers and my entry-level onkyo surround receiver :)  My big worries in a sound card are price, and will it fit in the case feasibly.

    As I mentioned in the other post you helped me in (thanks, btw), I'm looking at a single video card build in a Mid-tower case, but even my last build, which was a full size case, the video card is like 10 inches long and takes up a second slot just for its fan, and between the aftermarket processor cooling fan and all the data and power cables for hard drives and optical drives and what have you, I don't know if physically fitting a sound card in that isnt a front bay mounted one like the Creative Fatal1ty you listed.

    Could you suggest a few mid-range, $30-50 cards that are going to be clearly better from onboard sound? Also any suggestions on speakers would be great, also in the ~$50 range.

    Thanks.
    April 4, 2010 3:00:41 PM

    dstoop said:
    I've been on the fence about whether or not to add in a sound card for the current gaming build i'm working on, since i've never really bothered with them and dont know squat about sound. I'm trying to keep the whole build (sans monitor) under $900, and i'm certainly no audiophile, but I can tell the difference between stock tv speakers and my entry-level onkyo surround receiver :)  My big worries in a sound card are price, and will it fit in the case feasibly.

    As I mentioned in the other post you helped me in (thanks, btw), I'm looking at a single video card build in a Mid-tower case, but even my last build, which was a full size case, the video card is like 10 inches long and takes up a second slot just for its fan, and between the aftermarket processor cooling fan and all the data and power cables for hard drives and optical drives and what have you, I don't know if physically fitting a sound card in that isnt a front bay mounted one like the Creative Fatal1ty you listed.

    Could you suggest a few mid-range, $30-50 cards that are going to be clearly better from onboard sound? Also any suggestions on speakers would be great, also in the ~$50 range.

    Thanks.



    Well there are really no cards under $50 that are worth upgrading to. The Fatal1ty I listed is the same as the cheaper Titanium just it has a 5.25 bay interface for it to make it easier to connect mics and aux inputs and also has a headphone amp built into it.

    I would not go ant cheaper then this card.
  • ASUS Xonar DS this card will give you a pretty good improvement in sound quality for listening to music this card will shine you will notice much clearer audio over onboards.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    If you can find an Auzentech X Radair they go for around $50 and have spectacular sound.

    If you can Afford a little bit more the HT|OMEGA striker is a great card for $89.99 ASUS has a Xonar also for around the same price.

    HT|OMEGA Striker $89.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


    ASUS XONAR $89.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


    Either one of these cards I see as the best bang for the buck these both will give superior Sound Quality and a great gaming experience.
    April 7, 2010 3:36:07 AM

    calinkula said:
    I think you're missing the point of why people don't ask much anymore. It's because onboard sound has gotten to a level that most people find acceptable. It's like the onboard network card, it generally works good enough that there isn't much of a reason to get an add in card.

    The cards you listed make great sound, but they also cost more than what I paid for my CPU. Only audiophiles would even consider getting cards at that level. Plus it would be a shame to hook them up to the $30 speakers someone gets at Walmart.

    So people could spend $400+ on a great sound card and speakers OR go with the built in sound that works good enough.



    i got a new sound card and before i did, in crysis warhead i was lagy, jumpy, so on! but now with the new card ( CREATIVE TITANIUM sound blaster) it plays so much better.... my setup is no joke! i have put a lot of time in to it setting it up testing.. the sound card is a good add on, it was one of the last up grads, look a sound card can move with you to ur next setup... the pay off are worth the cost.....

    1 word WOW.

    get a card... it is worth it..
    April 7, 2010 3:40:28 AM

    saaiello said:
    Sound Cards
  • Onboard or Dedicated?

    You dont see alot of people asking the onboard vs sound card question too much these days, but it should be addressed still. Even though onboard sound is much better then it used to be it is still not as good as an add in card.


    Why get a sound card if my onboard sounds good?

    For the most part the onboard sound is all you will ever need these chips have come a long way since they started incorprasteing them on the motherboard, but they still do not have the quality of an add in sound card. Onboard sound chips need to use your CPU to process sound now its not as a big deal as it used to be but it still can rob your FPS games of precious power. Depending on the sample rate settings you have your onboard at you can see on average a 5fps boost by going to a add in card.

    You may think hey my onboard sounds great but what happens is you get used to it. You will be pleasently surprised by the quality of sound you can get with an add in sound card. You will notice music sounding more crisp and clear you will hear sounds in games previously not heard on the onboard. You will relize once you heard the quality of sound that you were being robbed by your onboard sound. Most people will spend all there efforts on getting the best CPU and the best Video card and then use a very less then impressive onboard audio system. When you are playing these great games like Call of Duty and Battleield 2 Bad Company these devolpers have spent just as much time on devolping the audio as they do on the video, with eax , surround sound and directional audio, all were made to make the gaming experience even more impressive. But for the masses that still use their onboard sound are missing out on some great sound.


    Some of My Favorites

    I will start at the most expensive.

  • HT|OMEGA Claro Halo XT
    This card is not for the average user it provide some really impressive sound. Its not really a gaming card though it does have full EAX support but that is not what this card for this is for the audiophile that needs to be able to hear every little thing in there music really an impressive card but not really practical for the gamer.
    http://images17.newegg.com/is/image/newegg/29-271-005-S01?$S640W$


  • ASUS Xonar D2X
    The D2X has just about every feature known to man for a sound card it is really quite special. This card isnt the best for gaming it will be about 2-3 fps slower than the Sound Blaster X-FI but the sound quality is really spectacular.
    http://images17.newegg.com/is/image/newegg/29-132-008-S01?$S640W$

    And now for my Favorite card and is still the best gaming card

  • Creative Sound Blaster X-FI Titanium Fatal1ty
    I know I am gonna get alot of people saying that creative sucks, but I have not had one problem with this card and yes I use windows 7 64bit. I have had this card for 5 months now and I love it, the sound quailty is great, and I gained 7 fps over my onboard useing this card. I will admit creative fell off a little when vista came and all the drivers problems but most if not all have been solved.
    http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/512Een%2ByyrL.jpg


    Better Sound Without Breaking The Bank

  • [bHT|OMEGA Striker
    For $89.99 this will give you a full cinematic experience without breaking the bank. This card is loaded with features and will blow you away with its sound quality.
    http://images17.newegg.com/is/image/newegg/29-271-001-Z03?$S180W$

  • ASUS Xonar DS
    This card for $49.99 is a pretty basic sound card no extra frills really just clean crisp full sound and that is what counts you will notice a difference.
    http://images17.newegg.com/is/image/newegg/29-132-013-TS?$S180W$

  • Note that there are many models in between from these manufactures basically all the cards made by HT|OMEGA will blow you away ASUS will be a great card no matter which model you get Creative stay away from the Xtreme Audio and their cheap Audigy SE cards they really do suck but their higher end cards are very good. If you run into an AuzenTech X Raidar they usually run around $50 and have great sound quality.

    Auzentech Forte
    Auzentech Prelude
    ASUS Xonar D2/D2X
    ASUS Essence STX

  • These are some great cards that I didnt list so look for these too in your searches.

    Now the purpose of this thread isnt to say you have to go out and buy a sound card if you are happy with your onboard sound and you are content with a basic audio setup then by all means stay with it, but if you are like me and likes to hear your music the way it was meant and to hear all the effects in your game like they were meant to sound then go out and get yourself a nice sound card.
  • [/b]



  • man i just wanted to stop by and say good job on this page.... i can see big improvements in CRYSIS WARHEAD with my new card... and that game is a pain... all setting on gamer, but sound is on max.... i gave you best answer.....
    April 7, 2010 5:15:37 AM

    Thanks man I am just trying to get people to realize what they are missing when it comes to sound the cost of a sound card is very justified.
    April 7, 2010 6:20:34 AM

    saaiello said:
    Thanks man I am just trying to get people to realize what they are missing when it comes to sound the cost of a sound card is very justified.


    yes it is SAAIELLO.... it is wil worth it... i see a big improvement in sound and game play! i got a some what good headset SONY MDR-V150 20$... i know if i got a better par it would be even better.... that is next on my lest to do... dedicated is much better for me... like i said it has helped me with crysis.. and i was trying every thing i could to play that thing on gamer settings just could not get past that wall... the sound card did the trick... it gave me the fps i needed... no mode jumpy game play... and there are new sounds in the game that i never knew where there... :sol:  for me its like moving from a tape player to CDs how many people use tapes today? and i only got the sound card 2 days ago... i will not go back! :D 

    SAAIELLO has a very good point! just look around and do some reading. not all sound cards are the same and yes some of the really good ones will cost. mine cost 129$ on sale. they are not like video cards where you will need to keep getting better ones every yr or so... thank god... gpu cost 300$ min to high end... sound card 60$ to 200$ min to high end!
    i am sure not every one will need a sound card or for that matter a high end one. but if you have a bad ?%$ gaming rig and you want to free up ur cpu get the added bust... i would say get one..... i have put a lot in to my setup, i have worked very hard to get a balance rig....

    Mobo ASUS M3N72-D duel Sli, AMD 940 quad core O.C 3.5 CPU, 125 watts, 1 LG 22" LCD 10,000 to 1. 2 ms, COOLING MASTER CPU COOLER gemin 2s, 2 EVGA 9800 GTXs + super clock GPUs… CREATIVE Titanium Fatal1ty sound card, Cooler Master PSU 750W real power, 2 WD HDD 500 G @ 7200 RPMS ( IN RAID 0 ), MUSHIIN MEM DDR2 2GX2 @ 1066, ANTEC300 TOWER, Ideazon Merc Z- board, G5 gaming mouse..... DOLICA Midnight Edge Series ME-400 Mouse Pad..

    so as you can see i do not have all the best top of the line parts in my rig, how ever it is a game killer, and it dose a lot better then some of my friends RIGS that cost 2 times as much, are they happy? :kaola:  who cares.... its about a balance, balance



    i got your back on the sound card SAAIELLO
    April 7, 2010 6:24:39 AM

    astrallite said:
    Probably 95% of the kids with "good discrete" sound cards are wasting it with speakers they think is the best thing since sliced bread because they've never walked into an audio shop or Magnolia in Best Buy.

    There's nothing wrong with discrete sound cards, but 95% of kids here are basically filling up Honda Civics (their speakers) with 106 octane gas (their sound card) and thinking they've got the best thing money can buy.

    And if you try to convince them their Civics aren't the best thing out their, pointing out they could have bought a better car and be a little more economical on the fuel, they start raging like crazy and calling you a hater or a snob, or an "audiophile."

    The perfect computer analogy is those guys who spend a ton of money on an SLI/dual video card setup and run it on a $180 22" monitor. And you call them out on that, (point out you could have spent the money on a better monitor and a single card and get more out of your money) the classic response is "I'm not rich like the rest of you to blow money and what I have is good enough."

    Oh the irony.



    lol i hear you there.... but i do like sli.....
    April 15, 2010 7:44:47 PM

    I'd like to compliment you on a great article. Well written, and you took the "criticisms" well also.

    Sure I might be an "audiophile" or whatever, but even admitted non-audiophiles can quite often tell the difference. I have to agree with you, and thank you for pointing out some of the lower cost cards as well.

    Myself, I have some Bose speakers that I am hooking up to my SB Xfi, but after my daughters' TV died I hooked up her satellite through her monitor. I am having constant problems with the Hercules GameTheaterXP, and came here to see what options I had in replacing it. She isn't an audiophile, but the soundcard would have to have more input options than is available on-board, yet another reason people might consider a card over on-board sound.

    If you have the slot, and the available funds, there's no reason to compromise.
    April 15, 2010 8:25:41 PM

    BillVanDusen said:
    I'd like to compliment you on a great article. Well written, and you took the "criticisms" well also.

    Sure I might be an "audiophile" or whatever, but even admitted non-audiophiles can quite often tell the difference. I have to agree with you, and thank you for pointing out some of the lower cost cards as well.

    Myself, I have some Bose speakers that I am hooking up to my SB Xfi, but after my daughters' TV died I hooked up her satellite through her monitor. I am having constant problems with the Hercules GameTheaterXP, and came here to see what options I had in replacing it. She isn't an audiophile, but the soundcard would have to have more input options than is available on-board, yet another reason people might consider a card over on-board sound.

    If you have the slot, and the available funds, there's no reason to compromise.

    Thanks that means alot.

    Your GameTheaterXP man thats a blast from the past there lol I remember them they were ok cards but they couldn't quite match up to creative live series they lacked true 5.1 and relied on other decoders to do the job they also had some big compatibility issues. The HT Omega striker would be a nice choice has plenty of input options and is priced nice too.




    Note to mods if you read this sticky this for me :D 
    April 15, 2010 11:35:04 PM

    you gotta remember! in order to listen to music the "way it should be" with these premium sound card is with a "premium" speaker. and those speakers are to be around $400 like the bose c5 or the logitech ones. my friend has a Creative Sound Blaster X-FI Titanium Fatal1ty and he initially picked between an HT Omega too! Both are really good, but the creative one is better for gaming and that is what most of us do. =D
    April 15, 2010 11:41:51 PM

    Creative will be faster and better for gaming there are better cards for sound quality but if you are buying a card for gaming then the x-fi titaniums are the best for the job.

    Its not totally necessary to have the best speakers to notice a difference in sound on my one rig I have a Bose system and then on another rig I have a set of Logitech x540s which I picked up at best buy for $80 both systems have x-fi titaniums in them and I surely can tell a huge difference on the Bose system between onboard and and the X-fi but even with the cheap X540 system I can tell a noticeable difference of sound. Most audiophiles will be getting some really good speakers anyway but for the average Joe with average speakers will still notice a difference.
    May 7, 2010 2:39:07 AM

    Thanks, great thread. You talk about cheap vs. good speakers, but how about headphones? Do you think that there will be a larger or smaller difference in apparent quality? I have a pair of audio tecnica ath-m40fs (I got SICK and TIRED of ear buds) and this sure sounds interesting. Also, is there one brand which has good linux support? I alway set up a dual boot.
    May 7, 2010 3:46:42 AM

    elel said:
    Thanks, great thread. You talk about cheap vs. good speakers, but how about headphones? Do you think that there will be a larger or smaller difference in apparent quality? I have a pair of audio tecnica ath-m40fs (I got SICK and TIRED of ear buds) and this sure sounds interesting. Also, is there one brand which has good linux support? I alway set up a dual boot.


    i us headphones more then any thing.. yes there is big sound difference over on-board....
    May 7, 2010 3:51:05 AM

    I am not to sure on which cards are best for Linux I myself dont use Linux much I mainly use Linux to run benchmarks so you will have to check out some Linux sites and the manufacturers website. I have heard that ASUS cards do well in Linux but like I said I dont use Linux like that.

    As for your headphones question yes certain cards will have better quality with headphones for high quality headphones you will benefit from having a sound card with an built in Hi Fi headphone AMP like the HT Omega Claro has but I am talking about some serious audiophile stuff for average headphones you will still hear a difference with sound quality not as much as with speakers but there will still be a difference heard. The model of headphones you have is an entry level headphone their budget model I am sure they sound good but their higher end headphones will blow you away hooked up to a sound card like the HT Omega Claro.
    May 8, 2010 10:36:24 PM

    I recently purchased the fatality mk2 headphones that were on sale on neweggs. Now I do realize that a soundcard will alleviate a bit of cpu, but I don't want to spend $100 on one either. Do you have a suggestion under that that will go well with the headphones?
    May 9, 2010 7:27:22 PM

    Your onboard sound will be fine for those headphones they are not considered really high end headphones. Your not gonna find any real improvements in sound for under $50 and for headphones you want a card with a good headphone amp and there is nothing under $100 that will really help.
    May 9, 2010 10:11:47 PM

    So what is with a headphone amp? Aren't the normal amps optimized for a headphone amount of impedance? Or are headphone amps balanced different?
    May 10, 2010 4:27:01 AM

    soul reaper said:
    I remember this link where I saw a really good soundcard going for $55 after rebate.
    http://www.frys.com/product/5614511?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN...

    given that my headphones aren't high end, is this deal still worth it. (ends may 13)


    That xFi is great card and should hear a great deal in clarity.
    May 10, 2010 11:17:22 PM

    What CPU were you using to get 7 frames back?

    A Pentium 2?

    A x6 1090T?

    Surly some bad CPU...

    99% of the time you have a Graphics Bottlneck.
    May 10, 2010 11:31:44 PM

    Nope It was a Q9550 with 2 9800GTX's believe me I was surprised too but its not really about how much the onboard sound uses the cpu its about how its processed and it will slow your video down to wait for the sound to catch up since its all done thru the CPU.
    May 10, 2010 11:34:42 PM

    But is it realy worth the cash?

    the benefits of the sound are mostly Physcological.

    You think it sounds better, so to you, it does.
    May 10, 2010 11:39:48 PM

    Like I said in the original post if Onboard sounds good to you and your happy with it stick with it. But I like full rich clear sound something that no onboard can do so to me its worth the money. People get so used to whatever they use and thinks it sounds great but I bet you listen to my setup with the X-Fi Titanium and my Z5500 you will hear the difference and then you will hear what I am trying to say.

    I am not saying everyone should go out and buy a soundcard but if your like me and need the best quality of sound then you would benifit from a quality card.
    May 11, 2010 7:57:16 AM

    I have an X-Fi extreme gamer from my last rig (that had awful onboard sound), will that still work in a new box running Win7 64bit? Using a Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD4 board that has the Realtek ALC889 codec onboard, i7 860, ATI 5870, 8GB. Is is worth fitting to the new box?
    Is this card any good? How does it compare with your recommended X-Fi card?

    Thanks
    May 11, 2010 1:52:43 PM

    The extreme gamer is still an OK card and you should hear a difference over the onboard. It will work with Win 7 no problem. What I would do is compare the two on my system you can install both the onboard sound and the dedicated card and see which sounds better I will bet the x-fi should sound better.
    May 11, 2010 2:17:26 PM

    Too bad Windows Vista killed EAX so Devs don't even use it anymore...
    May 11, 2010 2:23:54 PM

    MARSOC_Operator said:
    Too bad Windows Vista killed EAX so Devs don't even use it anymore...


    EAX hasn't been killed off. Games which use OpenAL can take advantage of EAX. It's DirectSound hardware acceleration that was killed off, though ALchemy fixes that, even though it's a bit of a patchy solution.
    May 12, 2010 12:04:49 AM

    saaiello said:
    The extreme gamer is still an OK card and you should hear a difference over the onboard. It will work with Win 7 no problem. What I would do is compare the two on my system you can install both the onboard sound and the dedicated card and see which sounds better I will bet the x-fi should sound better.


    Thanks, I will try it this weekend.
    May 12, 2010 12:17:30 AM

    That I really cant tell for sure I do know they do use creatives X-Fi chips so they should be the same but I have a feeling they leave something out. I have not ever seen anyone ever do a test to compare the 2 so I cant say for sure.

    I would guess that they are probably made with cheaper components but thats just a guess.

    Oh and thanks for the props man I was hoping to make this a sticky but its a little congested right now I am happy to have my one thread a sticky maybe some day this will be too.
    May 12, 2010 12:42:00 AM

    Yeh, my Rampage X48 coems with a "Supreme FX 2" is that any good?
    May 12, 2010 12:57:34 AM

    So is it any good?

    (It has no chip on it, simply an extension of onboard?)
    May 12, 2010 1:00:05 AM

    Awesome post and very much required too.. I do agree that add in cards make a difference to the overall audio experience be it games, music or movies.. I hear nowadays the onboard has improved very much but i could never test it myself as I've got used to using an audio card.. Few pointers though.. As mentioned above by very many, the matching has to be done.. You cannot just pair up a good card with crassy speakers or vice versa.. Its just like people asking for the kind of games one plays and the resolution when someone asks for a video card recommendation.. Secondly, the source is also important.. The word mp3 would be alien for true audiophiles.. MP3's are compressed audio and thus hides many details which audiophiles crave out for.. Its not about the codec though but the way people rip it.. Mostly settle for a 128 to 192 kbps which introduces loss.. For people who don't believe, just try listening to a 192 kbps mp3 file over a pair of monitor speakers.. Then compare the same song on a CD over the same speakers.. The difference is night and day.. Although desktop speakers which are employed for more than just music.. This is where the dilemma comes as to whether commit to a dedicated card or not.. Add in the fact that many buyers just listen to what the salesman has to say or just pick a pre configured system, It'll be understood why the audio card advantage is so much underestimated.. Even alienware systems which cost a fortune run on onboard audio.. That's a shame..
    May 12, 2010 1:07:26 AM

    Well, most people don't like the idea of sacrificing money on graphics for a better audio card.

    And to be fair, only a select few can realy hear the diffrence/bothered by it.
    May 12, 2010 1:22:16 AM

    to be honest, there is barley a difference between 192 and 312 . IMHO Unless I'm using my friends $400 bose earphones, I don't even notice much, but thats just my 2 cents.

    I did go out and buy the XFi sound card, a $70 rebate is nothing to scoff at. If any of you are considering, Fry's last day offering them is the 13th.

    I'll post back some reports on the fps gain when I build my new comp, don't feel like installing this on a crappy Dell desktop.
    May 12, 2010 1:37:14 AM

    Is it i7-930 with a decent card?

    Could you plz post a Crysis FPS gain?

    (Download Demo)
    May 12, 2010 2:03:08 AM

    I have a copy of the dual pack Crysis, unopened...as my desktop got like 20 fps in low on the demo. As soon as my new rig is set up, I'll post some charts.

    I'd check out http://www.frys.com/product/5614511?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN... if your not adverse to paying $125 upfront. Been reading reviews on it and it does really well for a mid-end gaming sound card.
    May 12, 2010 3:44:11 AM

    yeah I wouldn't spend $125 either, I just looked over the game list that support X-RAM and there are maybe 5 of them xD.
    May 16, 2010 1:33:18 PM

    yes that is an excellent card, i only have the DX and im very satisfied, so yeah....

    just make sure if u are buying then do be careful,... as always you cant fully reily on webs like ebay.
    May 21, 2010 8:01:03 AM

    Hey guys I'm looking for a sound card that can do well in both games and music, I've got a ton of 320kbps songs in my playlists and I'm thinking of upgrading my current sound system. I'm looking for a good 2.1 system to pair with a good sound card.
    !