Is an onboard MP3 processor that important?

I have been listening to a CD of mine and an MP3 rip of that CD in winamp. But when I play the two, my computer always eventually becomes slower and slower than the actual music. When processor usage goes up, the amount the sound gets distorted increases (but even with 0 CPU usage other than the MP3 player it still slows down over time). I'm thinking it might be because I have a Sound Blaster Live, which has no hardware MP3 decoder. While I understand it only saves about 10 CPU cycles per second, would it improve the timing of my music and would my music not become distorted under high CPU usage like it is now?

Also which cards have onboard MP3 decoders?

Edit: All problems solved, it was a shared IRQ conflict<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by cakecake on 08/04/02 08:57 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
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  1. I think MP3 does not use that much CPU power. I started to listen to mp3 since I was using an Pentium 166 and I have been using SB Live for over 4 years. Some time mp3 gets distorted when the CPU usage is very high but I did not have any problem since I upgraded to PII.
  2. Onboard MP3 processor is 0% important for processors better than Pentium. PII and later consume very little cpu power to decode MP3. If you use Windows 2000/XP, go to task manager, under processes tab find your mp3 player application and give it high priority. Then you will not encounter any problems while playing MP3 if the cpu usase is even 100%
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