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Whats the difference between Onboard and pci Express audio card

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December 15, 2012 11:25:41 PM

As the titel says, whats the difference?
Why should i get an pci express?

I think a pci would be able to upmix/downmix better
and handel audio file signal converting?
December 15, 2012 11:32:03 PM

It really depends on the sound card. Realistically though, there's no difference placement wise. PCI-e sound cards only exist if you want to buy a better soundcard.
December 16, 2012 3:27:37 AM

You'll likely get better s/n ratio with a discreet sound card. You do need at least decent speakers or headphones to discern that difference though. When I switched from onboard to the Asus Xonar the difference in my Senn HD 595 and 650 was audible.
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December 16, 2012 8:18:49 AM

Hi thanks for your replay.
Reason I'm asking is becuse I'm buying Logitech Z906 5.1
Payturr my question is what can i expect if i buy a pci-e sound card, and ofc i wont buy something that is lesser than the onboard.
If cards for 160-180 usd is lesser than the onboard my question is answeard.

So if i got a Xonar card, will I hear a noticeable difference?
I got the z77 sabertooth i think the onboard is quit ok.
December 16, 2012 10:13:08 AM

Its hard to say whether or not you'll hear a difference. Only your ears can tell. I'd recommend buying buying a soundcard from a brick-n-morter that has a good return policy and compare for yourself. If you don't think the audible difference is worth what you paid return the sound card. The things I notice can simply be described as better clarity. Voices and sound effects seemed more clear and realistic as opposed to recorded.
December 16, 2012 10:14:11 AM

Its hard to say whether or not you'll hear a difference. Only your ears can tell. I'd recommend buying buying a soundcard from a brick-n-morter that has a good return policy and compare for yourself. If you don't think the audible difference is worth what you paid return the sound card. The things I notice can simply be described as better clarity. Voices and sound effects seemed more clear and realistic as opposed to recorded.
December 16, 2012 10:23:08 AM

For gaming it's EAX that used to be the critical factor (hence the Sound Blaster / current compatible series e.g. Xonar). If a game uses EAX then there will be enhanced audio. However, many folk are happy with on board.
Good audio cards offer additional features, but as has been said, you do need to see if you can tell the difference on your system.
December 16, 2012 11:27:11 AM


On-board Realtek chips provide EAX.

December 16, 2012 12:14:44 PM

As much as an advocate for top Asus and Creative kits as I am even I was really surprised that the audio on my Asus G75 VW laptop is as good as it is and its certainly good enough for my gaming. I have a USB Nu Force audio kit that I really like and the Asus onboard audio compares really well against it...I continue to be surprised at how much onboard audio is improving. I would still recommend doing your own audition of a discreet card to see if you can really tell the difference in your applications with your speakers. That's the only test that I think counts.
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