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Sound Card, MoBo Compatibility, Onboard Audio

Last response: in Components
November 17, 2012 12:17:54 PM

i was going to get a creative sound blaster x-fi titanium for xmas but after looking at my motherboard i'm not positive that it's compatible or if I even need it. i have a few questions, first i have a Asus P8Z77-V motherboard and it says it has Realtek ALC892 8-Channel Audio CODEC supports DTS Ultra PC II and DTS Connect onboard. Is this onboard audio good enough for a 7.1 surround sound system? Should I buy the Sound Card because it is much better than the onboard audio or is the onboard audio fine?
Secondly, is my MoBo even compatible with that sound card? It says I have 2 PCI-e 2.0 x1 slots, 1 PCI-e 2.0 x16 slot (compatible with PCI-e x1 and x4 devices). I'm not much of an expert but I think it will work in one of the PCI-e 2.0 x1 slots.

Thanks for your time and help.
November 17, 2012 12:36:44 PM

It is in the ear of the beholder! In most cases people can not tell the difference unless it is hooked up to a high quality sound system.
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November 17, 2012 12:44:34 PM

It might but depends on the person listening, for gaming I think it does not matter but for music it will.
November 19, 2012 9:09:53 PM

It depends on how well your ears work really. For me, there is a huge difference between the ALC 892 onboard sound, my ASRock 890FX Deluxe 4 uses the same audio chip, and even an older X-Fi Xgamer Fatality Pro. And thats whether using headphones or even a cheapo logitech 5.1 speaker set. But, that's because I've fairly sensitive to positional audio effects. And the reality is I do notice a difference when listening to music as well, in the depth of the base, and other tones.

The only time you're going to find an onboard solution that is superior to most discreet soundcards will be with the Asus Crosshair boards that use the supreme FX series chips. Then you'd need to buy a $200+ sound card to beat those.

Onboard sound also depends on what the optical out on the board can support. If it's a cheaper optical out it will likely only be able to output 2.1 or 5.1 on the digital outputs. And then if you're using optical out it depends on the quality of the receiver you're hooking it to for decoding.

As far as 7.1 audio goes, the only time you will ever see that used is on some Blueray movies, and not a whole lot of em. For gaming 5.1 output is usually more than sufficient. And for music, in all honest you want Really good stereo quality or 2.1 output.

It really depends on what you're doing though. For gaming, current Creative cards are still some of the best, especially for FPS and some scifi games like dead space. For general use, if you can find an older X-Fi PCI card, or the Asus Xonar boards for a good price thats the other way to go.

I'm still sitting on my old PCI Soundblaster X-fi Xtreme Gamer Fatility Pro board. Been looking on newegg and so far haven't seen anything that would make me want to get something else, that wouldn't cost over 150. Recon3D is good for games, not so much for music and movies, X-Fi HD is good for music and movies and general use. Xonar are real good, but for anything that can compete with what I already have it'd cost some money.