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2004 Sound card vs new on board audio - which is better

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March 23, 2011 3:20:08 PM

Hello, I have an old creative sound blaster Audigy LS sound card (Its OLD - back from 2004 I think) and my question is - will it be better than the onboard audio from my new-ish asus P5Q mobo, I think it uses the Realtek HD hardware?

I understand back in the day, a dedicated sound card would take some strain off the CPU, but I have a Q6600 at 3.2Ghz so i assume that the strain from audio would be negligible.

Thanks a lot in advance!

(another question if you feel compelled: Can you recommended a decent CPU cooler upgrade from an Arctic 7 Freezer Pro for a Q6600, - Don't want to spend a massive amount, so the NH-D14 or silver arrow are too expensive, but whats a good middle-ground one? Ive heard good things about the Cogage True Spirit and Mugen 2, (a lot more expensive than the cogage) and the Hyper 212+, Ive heard the direct transfer heat pipes are not great for the 212+ though, can someone give me some direction)
March 23, 2011 4:30:39 PM

Its actually a close call. In terms of pure audio output signal quality over analog, its close, as most realteck chipsets are capable of around 108dB signal output [whether the rest of hte audio chain is capable of this quality is up to some debate, however], which is on par with current Creative products, and better then the Audigy LS.

That being said, because of differences in sound processing, even though the onboard may be a cleaner signal, you may prefer the output of the Audigy LS due to the way the audio is processed.

If you want a cheap option (< $100) for a soundcard, consider the following:
ASUS Xonar DG
ASUS Xonar DS
ASUS Xonar D1/DX
HT Omega Striker
March 23, 2011 6:15:09 PM

Mugen 2 and 212+ are good
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March 23, 2011 8:12:06 PM

Thanks both of you, I'll probably just stick to the sound card seeing as i cant notice a difference between the two, and i dont have good enough speakers to justify an upgrade
March 23, 2011 8:44:04 PM

The sound card will give you more inputs/outputs and you should be able to choose between them in the sound options in control panel (I made a shortcut on desktop)

Handy when you record or use headset and TV tuner etc

Also If you want a CHEAP upgrade then I recommend the Xonar DG from personal experience (only $35 on newegg with shipping included) it gets great reviews
For the money it cant be beat though of course there are way better cards

BUT the main thing is if it sounds good to YOU then don't worry about it.

Audio is personal preference.

And dont forget HDMI option if your video card supports it
March 23, 2011 11:02:01 PM

Onboard audio will be more effective and functional then the 1st gen Audigy.
Your card is a 16bit/48 kHz 5.1 output capable.
Most onboard is 24bit/96 kHz 7.1 output .
Both your onboard ALC 1200 and the LS/SE lack Digital (fiber/Coax)capabilities

It doesn't hurt to do a comparison.
Use whatever sounds best.
March 23, 2011 11:13:23 PM

davcon said:
Onboard audio will be more effective and functional then the 1st gen Audigy.
Your card is a 16bit/48 kHz 5.1 output capable.
Most onboard is 24bit/96 kHz 7.1 output .
Both your onboard ALC 1200 and the LS/SE lack Digital (fiber/Coax)capabilities

It doesn't hurt to do a comparison.
Use whatever sounds best.



^+1 good point
March 24, 2011 12:36:23 AM

Honestly, I'd just try both. Pick whichever one you like the sound of. I'm not sure whether one will obviously be 'better' than the other; they'll just sound different.

CPU Cooler? I'll always recommend the Thermalright MUX-120. Outperforms the Hyper 212, is relatively compact, and is one of the quietest things I've ever seen.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/lga-1156-heatsink,2...
Results speak for themselves. :D 
!