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Do i need a sound card?

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February 14, 2011 6:09:01 AM

I recently bought all the parts to put together a nice high end gaming rig. My question is this, I am not doing any super high end sound editing or recording, I am gaming, watching / listening to different media types, so do I actually need a sound card with my current setup? (Of course I don’t physically need one, but would it improve my gaming / movie watching experience)

I have Bose speakers, asus rampage iii formula mobo, Intel Core i7 980X Extreme, 12 gig rams, might add more later and a nvidia 580 graphics card. I am also getting a blueray drive, so if you think I should add a sound card please let me know.

Price is not necessarily an issue, however telling me to buy the most expensive card ever made because it makes the best produced music ever created sound godlike, probably isn’t what I am looking for. I highly doubt I will be pushing the upper limits of sound technology and reproduction, so please keep that in mind, but if there is a valid reason for suggesting me to get one then please discuss it. Thanks in advance for any helpful replies.

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a b 4 Gaming
February 14, 2011 6:45:13 AM

It depends on your ears and your speakers. Bose != great speakers. Its my personal belief that nearly all computer speakers are fine for using onboard sound, and you only need a sound card if you have it hooked up to a home audio type setup. For example, if you think the Logitech Z5300 or Z5500 speakers are great speakers, onboard audio is fine for you. They aren't bad speakers, but they get more credit then they should because the sub puts out LOTS of bass.

Your hearing abilities will also come into play. I had many ear infections every year as a kid, and my hearing isn't very good. I have to use the phone on my left ear only, my hearing is that bad in my right ear. Higher pitched tones cause me more grief, I have issues hearing some women talk/sing. Onboard sounds fine to me, I hear no difference in that and a SC. (I also admit the only higher end card I've heard personally is the Audigy 2.) If you have bad hearing like me, a SC is probably a waste. If you're using some "low end computer speakers", its also a waste. If you are passing via fiber optic cable to your 5.1/7.1 home theater receiver with good speakers, then you're probably the type of person who could use a SC.
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February 14, 2011 7:09:40 AM

my hearing is fine, probably better then most when it comes to higher pitches, and my bose speakers are the "Companion® 5 multimedia speaker system" which i have had 0 problems with and have a great range of sound, even cranked, which scares me becuase its so loud im worried i might blow the speakers lol, the sound quality is still crystal clear. as for sound cards can someone suggest what would be the best for my gaming/music/movie experience, thanks.
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February 14, 2011 9:59:50 AM

ive heard that creative was having driver issues with windows 7...
not sure about it now as i dont own one...
higher end x-fi series seem quite popular
but the asus xonar series gets some pretty nice reviews
u dont seem to have need a sound card though... good speakers like your bose wont ouput any more quality sound then it already does with a soundcard unless your an audiophile
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February 14, 2011 10:13:35 AM

While I am not trying to encourage you to spend any more of your hard earned $$, the fact is that discreet audio will always be better than onboard, with onboard there will be one or maybe two chips for audos , with a discreet card ,[ like say my Asus Xonar DS , approx, $70.00cad, not a bad card for the price I too am into the gaming/music/movie thing ],,,, there 6 chips in use for whatever purposes, the bottom line , for me , has always been that discreet audio has always sounded a lot better with way more detail and clarity, AND one can find decent audio for less that $100 either US or CAD,...:) 
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a b 4 Gaming
February 14, 2011 12:04:48 PM

I'm sure you would be pleased with any of the mid-high end cards from Asus,Auzentech,or HT Omega.
I no longer recommend Creative cards since switching to Auzentech.
Creative driver issues just became too unbearable.
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