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Is a regular soundcard better than an external USB soundcard?

Last response: in Components
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July 17, 2012 11:09:24 AM

I have an older computer with a Asus P4S-LA motherboard. Currently, I have an external USB soundcard: http://reviews.cnet.com/external-audio-adapters/creativ...;rightspecs

I was curious if installing a soundcard would be better than my current external soundcard? Would there be any difference in PC performance? My PC is older and is only a 1.8GHz and 2gigs of RAM. I use it to listen to music, watch movies, and play some games.

It also seems like my speakers (a 2.1) are quiet, even if my have the volume of the card and the speakers up . Would a better soundcard improve this?

Thanks :hello: 
July 17, 2012 12:08:07 PM

Yes. A discrete soundcard will almost certainly offer higher quality then a USB sound card. The primary driver of audio quality is how good a cards Digital to Analog conversion is, and today, ~$100 sound cards offer quality that exceeds some $800 Digital Receivers.

That being said, most of the audio processing itself is done in software, so you aren't going to see any performance benefit.
July 17, 2012 12:08:31 PM

imho yes it would be better.

I wouldn't be able to say weather it would pump up the volume (old pun intended). If what you have works then I would replace the speakers first.
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July 17, 2012 12:13:46 PM

nothing internal beats the dacport or O2+ODAC.
July 17, 2012 12:17:37 PM

I should elaborate, that if you are interested in DSP functions like stream acceleration in games, then internal is your only choice. However if you want best possible audiophile experience, externals are usually far better.
July 17, 2012 12:36:41 PM

Well I don't want to spend a ton of money pref below $100

I'm no audiophile. I just want some good sound for what I do with it.
July 17, 2012 1:49:54 PM

The ASUS Xonar DX rules the sub-$100 space, more or less unopposed at this point. Huge improvement over onboard, assuming you have a halfway decent set of speakers.

As for volume, the voltage/current on the output port of more or less stable for every audio manufacturer, so its the speakers sensitivity that determines how loud they are. So don't expect a huge (if any) volume boost.
July 18, 2012 8:31:08 AM

gamerk316 said:
The ASUS Xonar DX rules the sub-$100 space, more or less unopposed at this point. Huge improvement over onboard, assuming you have a halfway decent set of speakers.

As for volume, the voltage/current on the output port of more or less stable for every audio manufacturer, so its the speakers sensitivity that determines how loud they are. So don't expect a huge (if any) volume boost.


I don't have PCI-E on this :-/
July 18, 2012 10:03:16 AM

Well I don't want to spend a ton of money pref below $100
July 18, 2012 12:12:34 PM

peefyloo said:
I don't have PCI-E on this :-/


ASUS Xonar D1 then. Same card, minus the PCI to PCI-E bridge.
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