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Reliable sound card

Just looking for an affordable sound card for my system because the on-board card seems a little weak compared to my last motherboard.

Went from a Crosshair IV Formula to an EVGA Z68 FTW (using Siberia V2 headset)

I don't need any fancy 7.1 surround but it's always a plus!
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  1. Best answer
    Only having pci-e limits your options:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132006

    shop around you can get them for $75
  2. I used to love the creative sound blaster line, but in my opinion creative sound cards have gone to crap. I have older cards that still work fine, but I tried getting a card for my current comp and creative cards were giving me nothing but problems. Games freezing up due to a sound card? You kidding me? In any case, sorry I couldn't be more help but if you would like to avoid a headache stay away from Creative.
    In fairness, I did recently buy some creative headphones and they are nice :)
  3. Two things happened to make that better. First off, creative started sponsoring OpenAL. Most of the crashes I had on creative cards were because of lousy OpenAL support. Once they bought into openAL, that went away.

    Second, windows 7 now does all the sound mixing in software. That means the x-fi chip is largely unused, hence nothing to crash. The only things that really matter in sound these days are signal to noise ratio, and having the right type of connections.

    Creative's new recon series is designed for windows 7. It removes most of the unused x-fi features. However they stink because they don't do 7.1 and they integrated the DAC onto the chip, leading to more interference and a lower signal to noise ratio.

    X-fi's are good but not great at signal to noise (109db vs 116db for asus), but they have the most output options of any card. That said, a good way to crash a creative card is to use the analog outputs and the optical outputs at the same time. When I do this I lose sound about once a month, and have to reinstall the driver to get it back (much harder to figure out than to do.)

    Asus also has problems, I've heard reports that if you reformat a machine with a xonar card installed, it can kill the card, and you need to RMA it. And the HDMI sound output from my nvidia card also has issues with sli. So pick your poison.

    gbmike said:
    I used to love the creative sound blaster line, but in my opinion creative sound cards have gone to crap. I have older cards that still work fine, but I tried getting a card for my current comp and creative cards were giving me nothing but problems. Games freezing up due to a sound card? You kidding me? In any case, sorry I couldn't be more help but if you would like to avoid a headache stay away from Creative.
    In fairness, I did recently buy some creative headphones and they are nice :)
  4. Best PCI-E options:

    ASUS Xonar DX
    ASUS Xonar D2X [not really cost justified though...]
    ASUS Xonar Xense
    ASUS Essence STX [meant more for very high quality stereo speakers and driving headphones]

    You can also throw the Auzentech Home Theatre HD into the mix; great card, but really meant for a differnet use.

    As an aside, now that C-Media finally came out with a native PCI-E audio chipset, I wouldn't be surprised if Auzentech and HT Omega do a product refresh soon, as I can't think of a single PCI-E card in their lineup...[even the ASUS Cards are using a PCI chipset thats been converted to PCI-E, which costs them some money].


    Also, a few corrections to a post above:

    1: OpenAL and other audio API's are still capable of being HW accelerated. The change Vista made as far as audio was to remove HW acceleration for Directsound, which was the API EAX was based upon. Hence why EAX is done in software and requires either a driver level hack [ASUS] or another program to convert the audio calls to OpenAL [Creative].

    2: As far as the Creative Recon3D series goes, I am not a fan. Everyone I've talked to has noted the audio quality is infereor to the previous X-fi line [which makes sense, given the lower SnR output]. Plus the removal of HW accelerated OpenAL support and lack of ASIO basically makes the entire lineup DOA as far as I'm concerned.
  5. For some reason I didn't get an email about these replies so now I'm late D:

    I have extra PCI Express slots for sure (6 on this board) but I didn't think there were any sound cards that use that.
  6. Best answer selected by sowexly.
  7. This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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