I'm rather clueless when it comes to sound cards etc, so I thought I'd try my luck here
I recently got a new rig (i5 2500k and ASUS P8P67 Pro motherboard) and am now on the verge of buying Logitech Z5500 speakers (since I heard great things about them). I heard that onboard cards aren't very optimal for good sound quality though. As I'm actually spending a little over my planned budget to buy these speakers, should I also invest in a sound card, or will the onboard one serve me fine?
Although I'm not an audiophile, I'd still like to get good quality surround sound from movies and games. So if anyone with knowledge of this could please let me know whether my onboard will suffice, or if I should buy a sound card (and which one of course). The cheaper the better, although I guess I could splurge if there will be a massive difference in the quality.
Thanks in advance.
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honestly unless your an audiophile you probably wont notice the difference.
try the onboard and if it sounds bad get a dedicated card. most likely the onboard audio already supports 5.1 or 6.1 surround. for better sounding onboard audio (probably another audiophile thing) , if the mobo has optical connector you can run that to a nice receiver and that would probably go farther in sounding good than a dedicated card.
imho the big advantage of a dedicated sound card is offloading the sound processing from your cpu to the sound card, freeing up some cpu cycles. hence the sound blaster 'fatality' pro gamer sound cards that probably net you 1 extra fps in your video games
my wife's hp laptop has dolby thx and it sounds great imho!
Thanks for the replies guys. I guess I'll just buy the speakers and check if the quality is decent. There is very little variety of sound cards being sold in my country anyway. I did, however, find a good deal for this:
That card is old. If you run vista/Win7 its not a good idea to run those because the drivers don't work well. (You'll lose support for EAX, which was one of their main selling points.) People like the Z5500 because they have MONSTER bass. If you're into classic music they will drive you nuts. The satellites aren't very good either. Not bad, but not good either. Try them with the onboard first. You'll probably think it sounds fine.
Seems pretty old as well, but is the only X-Fi available here (at the moment at least) and it's rather cheap too. Will this do the trick with EAX etc?
I was going for the Z5500 because there's a lot of good feedback about the set online. They can also hook up to my PS3 and Xbox 360, which makes them even more appealing (don't have a home theater setup with my TV since it's in my room too). Does anyone maybe have any other suggestions for speakers, or are these fine?
I don't even know what EAX is, nor do I have a clue what the benefits of an X-Fi card are! So I'm ok either way, really.
Thanks for your card suggestions though. Unfortunately, the two Creative cards I mentioned are the only ones immediately available to me over here. I'll try to import one of the ASUS cards if possible I guess and stick to my onboard till then.
^^ EAX is basicaly an audio standard that was used to add extra effects in supported games. It was an extension to Directsound.
In Windows Vista, directsound was changed so it was no longer hardware accelerated. As a result, EAX no longer worked. Creative came up with a workaround that basically mapped EAX Directsound calls into OpenAL calls [OpenAL is still hardware accelerated], which allowed EAX to work, but there are some issues due to the mapping of Directsound to OpenAL.
Either way, because of the changes to Directsound, no games in the past 3 years that I know of used EAX. I think Bioshock was the last game with EAX support.
As for the speakers, the Z-5500's are OK. Good, not great. The built in Dolby/DTS decoders does allow them to be used with the PS3/360 though,which is a plus if you go that route.