Add-on card vs. Integrated sound

By pingpongmury
Jun 24, 2009
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  1. i was wondering what, if any, differences or advantages an addon sound card like an XFI SoundBlaster or ect. would have over integrated 5.1

    For example: better sound quality, louder sounds, better tracking ( explosion on back left in game, explosion on back left speaker kinda thing)

    thanks'
  2. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Posts: 2,278

    You can expect an addon card to have better sound quality and better functionality over the integrated unit. X-Fi cards are pretty solid and you don't need to install all that bloatware to have them work well. With most cards, you will hear richer music and better game FX with improved bass control and EQ settings. It's worth an upgrade if you are not satisfied with the integrated unit; you will most likely never want to use onboard sound again.
  3. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,280   +23

    You need to have speakers or headphones that are good enough to take advantage of the higher fidelity sound provided by an add-on card. Using an X-FI with a $25 headset is a waste of money IMO.

    Generally, addon cards, besides providing better quality as EXCellR8 mentioned, also help reduce load on the CPU.

    If X-Fi is too expensive for you, the Audigy SE should be a decent alternative.
  4. pingpongmury

    pingpongmury TechSpot Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 108

    Would my Logitech X-540 5.1's suffice for being "good enough to take advantage of the higher fidelity sound provided by an add-on card."

    i took a look some Creative Labs X-Fi cards and specifically the XtremeGamer Fatal1ty and Titanium Fatal1ty Edition. Which is superior in your opinion? My computer is used mostly for gaming, music, and movies.

    From what i've read there are some driver issues when using Vista. Also that while using XP there the card produces better results?

    i'm curious whether or not either of you know why is said XP is superior to Vista when it comes to the sound quality produced with the cards.

    thanks for your help
  5. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Posts: 2,278

    Most Logitech X-series speakers sound great coupled w/ X-Fi cards so I would say yes.

    I am using a pair of Logitech X-140 2.1 speakers w/ an X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty and the setup sounds great. I'm sure a 5.1 setup would sound even better. These cards aren't just for gaming, they sound great with regular music playback and support mode switching via Creative control panel/taskbar icon. Overall, the X-Fi series produce clean and crisp sound with additional functionality; are very easy to recommend.

    As far as OS support goes, as long as the correct drivers are installed, the card should work properly and sound great regardless. I know mine works fine w/ Win7, even with Beta drivers! There are also added Vista-only features. Creative is usually dependable for fixing buggy drivers, so I doubt you will encounter any problems on Vista.
  6. pingpongmury

    pingpongmury TechSpot Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 108

    Thanks man, that helped

    i was on the fence about spending that kind of money on sound. But today i was listening to a song and heard some crackling and distortion when i turned it up, that pretty much made up my mind about it.

    thanks again for your help and suggestions.
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