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Sound Card Question

Last response: in Components
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January 25, 2013 9:43:36 AM

After all of the builds I've seen, I've never seen anyone add a sound card. Do custom builds need sound cards, or is it "included" with some of the other specs?

More about : sound card question

January 25, 2013 9:49:32 AM

You don't need a sound card as long as your motherboard has all the necessary jacks. And if you don't have any audio equipment there is no need for it.
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a b ) Power supply
January 25, 2013 1:51:20 PM

Realtek onboard (even the latest) is inferior to a half-decent addon sound card.

I compared my new Asuz Z77 Sabertooth's onboard audio with my older Auzentech X-Fi Forte and there's a HUGE difference in gaming, playing movies, and music.

*However you also need quality speakers to justify the onboard sound card. I have M-Audio AV40 speakers.

So it's not a matter of "need" as pretty much all motherboards have onboard sound (which you disable in the BIOS if you buy an addon sound card), but a matter of "wanting" the best quality.

For $120:
I might recommend a $30 Asus Xonar DG51 sound card and $90 M-Audo AV30 stereo speakers.

**Another issue is headphones:
If you use the onboard audio it's pretty simple to stick your headphones into the front case headphone jack and disable the rear output to the speakers automatically. If your sound card has only one output this is an issue. Sure you could plug the headphones into the speakers (if an option) but you'd likely require them to be powered on.

Just FYI.

A lot of people claim that onboard is "good enough" and anything more is "overkill"; that's really only true with $40 and below speakers, better speakers will sound better with a sound card.
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a b ) Power supply
January 25, 2013 2:03:33 PM

Update:
I should add that you can get a SPLITTER for 3.5mm jacks to go to both headphones and speakers. So that:
a) you can TURN OFF your speakers when not needed (make sure the ON/OFF switch is on a speaker even if you get a subwoofer)

b) Turn Volume down or Unplug headphones when not needed. Some headphones have volume control, some may even turn off. Some really need to be unplugged so you may want a cable running to a convenient spot (or use the speaker output but that adds power).
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January 25, 2013 2:25:09 PM

My current motherboard is the ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155, should that be fine with it?
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a b ) Power supply
January 25, 2013 2:26:54 PM

that should work fine, unless u want more high quality sound out of gaming+music+movies, are u sastified with ur current sound than u dont need a sound-card if u arent maybe its time to add one.

and whats ur budget for a card?

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January 25, 2013 3:12:38 PM

I'm not really looking forward to buying one, considering I already went $100 over my PC budget. Is the sound quality very low?
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a b ) Power supply
January 25, 2013 3:14:29 PM

no onboard sound is alright, but doesnt compare to an addon card, how much could u spend for better sound?

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January 25, 2013 3:17:16 PM

I'm thinking $50.
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a b ) Power supply
January 25, 2013 3:22:32 PM
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January 25, 2013 3:56:00 PM

Best answer selected by vElectrixx.
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January 25, 2013 3:56:02 PM

Thanks, man. Added to my build. I'm sure I have everything added now for my build. All I need is money. 1/15 the way there!
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a b ) Power supply
January 25, 2013 3:56:46 PM

sounds good :D 

well with patience will come greatness, and patience is a virtue but an annoying virtue.

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