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Sound Card May Improve Performance?

Last response: in Components
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May 1, 2011 6:33:52 PM

I have never owned a sound card and Im wondering if there is any real difference in on-board vs. dedicated sound card, mainly I want to know if it will increase my performance in games. And if so, which one?


Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 @ 3.00Ghz
Intel DG43GT MotherBoard
Kingston DDR2 4GB
EVGA Nvidia GTX 460 1GB
Corsair 750W PSU
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
May 1, 2011 7:02:07 PM

It doesn't increase performance, it'll provide higher quality sound. But without good speaker a soundcard does absolutely nothing. And unless you're an audiophile, you won't even notice a difference.
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May 1, 2011 7:26:29 PM

a sound card can increase performance by freeing up cpu resources but only about 1-4 percent depending on the card and cpu.
not all sound cards process in hardware and these are the 1s that wont help. as a general rule if its under £60 or $90 it probably wont offload from the cpu.
basically you get what you pay for.

if your really desperate to save that few percent then you will want a bare minimum of an X-FI Extreme gamer. and stay away from soundblaster audioligey.

in real terms though you would always be better off switching from a dual to a quad this alone would double your overall performance and you wouldnt have to worry about onboard eating up cpu.
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May 1, 2011 9:53:32 PM

HEXiT said:
a sound card can increase performance by freeing up cpu resources but only about 1-4 percent depending on the card and cpu.
not all sound cards process in hardware and these are the 1s that wont help. as a general rule if its under £60 or $90 it probably wont offload from the cpu.
basically you get what you pay for.

if your really desperate to save that few percent then you will want a bare minimum of an X-FI Extreme gamer. and stay away from soundblaster audioligey.

in real terms though you would always be better off switching from a dual to a quad this alone would double your overall performance and you wouldnt have to worry about onboard eating up cpu.

Not sure if this really matters but I use 2.1 speakers and Razer Carcharias Headset. And Im wondering if this fits the required ones you mentioned above.
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...
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May 1, 2011 10:29:24 PM

creative fatality is in the higher price bracket and does offload from the cpu, to use the soundcards hardware. if your headset uses 35mm jacks then it will work with that card.

there is a small problem with that headset. the build quality is lacking. and they do break easily. my mate dropped his less than 3 feet on to laminate and a piece of plastic broke off and after a few weeks 1 of the headphones went off intermittently till it eventually died. for a quality headset they should be more robust.
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May 1, 2011 11:42:10 PM

In the past, sound cards were of some help in offloading some sound processing. We are talking early pentium days.

Today, with stronger cpu's, multiple cores, and hyperthreading the savings are miniscule and not noticeable.

Onboard HD sound is very good. I am told by competitive gamers that a good sound card, and top quality speakers or headphones will pick up some additional sound nuances. Don't know about that.

But, for cpu savings, save your money.
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Best solution

May 2, 2011 12:58:12 AM

Onboard sound is alot better then it use to be but it still needs major improvement.
Just add an inexpensive soundcard like an Asus DG and i'm sure you'll agree.
Even an old Audigy 2 card is a big improvement.
If you have any decent speakers or headphones you'll immediately hear a difference.
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May 2, 2011 2:26:31 AM

Pfffffttttt with quad core cpu's and high end rigs etc these days it wont be noticeable - its only for higher sound quality and even then only if you have the speakers to match

that ~1-4% performance increase wont bring performance/gameplay from un-usable to usable.

Also anything Creative is useless unless you like no driver support, random bsod's or simple incompatibility - i will never buy another one of there products.

I hear some are even having issues with ASUS Xonar cards in the same way but they cant be as bad as Creative...
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May 2, 2011 3:11:47 AM

davcon said:
Onboard sound is alot better then it use to be but it still needs major improvement.
Just add an inexpensive soundcard like an Asus DG and i'm sure you'll agree.
Even an old Audigy 2 card is a big improvement.
If you have any decent speakers or headphones you'll immediately hear a difference.



^+1 agree
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May 2, 2011 3:16:42 AM

Just for the pupose of cpu offloading - No
for playback or recording sound quality - Yes
for extra mic/line inputs for recording - Yes
In games a good surround sound will help you with locating targets or enemies
in Bioshock 2 with 4.1 surround (in a small office space 4.1 is all you need)
I can tell if they are behind or to the left etc


BTW going 5.1 or 7.1 is really not needed in smaller rooms
speaker need to be 6ft minimally apart for audio separation so
if you have 2 fronts and a center you would need 12ft in front of your desk
for speakers
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May 2, 2011 4:40:43 PM

Only HArdware Accelerated cards will see any performance benifit (Xfi based cards), but even then, it won't lead to a measurable increase in FPS. CPU's have gotten so much more powerful since the Pentium 4 days, the existing sound API's don't tax the CPU at all.

That being said, a good soundcard with good speakers makes a HUGE difference. You'd be shocked how much you miss with onboard.
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May 9, 2011 11:50:27 PM

Best answer selected by CodyMcInnes.
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