Generally speaking, onboard audio should provide similar audio quality as an old SB sound card. It is also does not steal away much performance from the CPU. I read an post about comparing playing games with onboard sound and a discrete sound card a couple of years ago. The difference in performance ranged between 1% - 2% so if you play a game where you are getting 60FPS with a discrete sound card, using onboard sound will at most drop that down to 58.8FPS. CPUs are a bit faster today than 2 years ago so the drop in performance should be less especially for CPU with more than 2 cores.