The most obvious option is to buy a full home theater system but this will cost an absolute minimum of $500. The problem with this solution is it leaves me with a system which is a minimum of 500W. This amount of power for a computer system when I sit only a few inches from the speakers is totally unnecessary. This means I am paying for power which I am simply never going to make use of.
The other option, which is more preferable, is to purchase a system designed for the PC, in the output range of maybe 100W or so but also only costs $100- $200. This would appear to the be the ideal solution BUT NO SUCH SYSTEM EXISTS! The only system I have been able to find is the Creative Inspire T7700 released 10 years ago. NO OTHER PC DESIGNED 7.1 SYSTEM HAS BEEN RELEASED SINCE!
Can anyone please help me. I either need a third solution or I need someone to tell me about some system similar to the Creative Inspire T7700 which is currently available on the market.
If you want 7.1
you must have a motherboard that supports it, and software that supports it...
or you must have a soundcard that supports it, that is compatible with the existing motherboard...
before you ever plug in a speaker system.
Check that 7.1 is installable first, before you buy anything.
is there a definite requirement of 7.1 instead of the vastly more popular 5.1? keep in mind that not all movies and games support this format so you may get limited use and may be paying for more than you need as you put it.
for a 7.1 pc set you will need either an external, internal or slot sound card which supports the format. i've heard the z5500 (a 5.1 set) takes spdif input so perhaps this is also an option.
for a 7.1 home theater system i would avoid htib sets like the plague. most are not set up to handle external inputs very well and you will be wasting your money on them. buying a receiver or amplifier and seperate speakers or paired speakers is a better choice but this can get expensive fast if you buy quality components.
for typical pc use i would suggest just going with the $200 logitech 5.1 set. it sound good for the price, has plenty of volume and is rather durable. i have one connected up to a spare pc and it is 10 years old but still works great. while not up to par with my current system (which is over 6x the price) it was definitely not a bad purchase.