I am building a pc for gaming purpose. I am buying Asus Maximus V Gene motherboard. I was thinking of buying Asus Xonar Sound Card. But, is it really necessary to install a sound card if you have a high end motherboard.
From my experience, sound cards are really something from the 90s and early 2000s. In this day and age, if you are purchasing a premium MB, then most likely the onboard sound will support 5.1 or even 7.1 sound. I threw together a rig back in December with an Asus p8Z68-v Pro/Gen3 and the Realtek onboard sound was top notch. My logitech speakers work amazing, and the surround sound channels work as they should!
On a side note, your operating system will impact how your speakers operate. If you are using Vista, sometimes the surround sound doesn't function correctly with onboard packages (Vista also had a lot of driver issues). Windows 7 however, did away with a lot of these issues.
Final conclusion - A sound card is only needed for MBs without quality onboard sound. Unless you are a professional DJ or someone who needs one for professional purposes, you should be just fine with a quality onboard sound package.
If you are not going to use headphones, I'd say on-board sound card is good enough. With headphones, you are likely going to hear some static noise from interference, which will annoy you to no end. Total silence with a discrete sound card, you will also relieve the motherboard of system resource, and by turning off on-board audio in BIOS will also improve boot-up time as well.
Some advance feature like EAX is available on sound card. Bomb blast is more louder and real. They amplify sound very good.
But you dont need any extra sound card if you get that mobo. Built-in sound on that mobo is very good as if it is a discrete sound card. It has SupremeFX III built-in. You dont need more than that. EAX and X-fi feature in supported.
Check asus specification: http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/Maxi...
Be careful though if you run a receiver with Optical IN. I had bought an asus board with onboard sound and it did not support 5.1 through the optical port. So check the motherboard specifications carefully and ask around.
I bought an X-fi soundblaster and problem resolved.