TechSpot

Soundcard choices!!!

By legendz411
Aug 13, 2006
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  1. Well, when I first selected the parts for my PC, I was going to use onboard Audio. It was good. I figured, "Why spend extra $$$ if I don't have too?" Well, after reading up some more, I learned that onboard audio saps CPU power. That = bad when I will be playing video games. So I was shopping around for low priced, quality sound cards. Just something to shift the sound processing off the CPU... So far, I was gonna pick this CARD, via Techspot's OWN recommendation. It seems, that there are a few bad comments, (read: Many).

    I wanted to know if there were any quality alternatives to a low priced soundcard, (around the same as the Diamond one) that I can purchase!
  2. hewybo

    hewybo TS Maniac Posts: 570

    Soundblaster

    I am a Creative Soundblaster fanboy- and would recommend their cards. Since they have introduced the X-Fi series (awesome!), prices have been falling on their previous versions. Might try this at your budget-

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16829102003

    or- you might try ebay and find an Audigy2 series near to your price. Had an Audigy2 ZS for a couple years, upgraded to X-Fi, gave the ZS to my son, and he thinks it's still great.

    Good luck.
  3. legendz411

    legendz411 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 25

    Well... I was a little dismayed at the fact that some of the SB cards don't have a mic jack from the front of the case...

    I suppose I will have to let the front Headphone and Mic jacks go to waste if I get a soundcard eh? Other then that issue I was looking at these 2 cards.

    Diamond XtreamSound


    Creative Sound Blaster Audigy2 ZS


    Or one of these

    Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 Value


    I was, at first, goign to get the Audigy2 Value card, but I dun know if I want a MIDI port or not... I like joysticks and gamepads, My mobo comes with a PCI Slot for those (and it has a card :) ), but an extra one is always neat for 2player :)

    What are youall's opinions on those three cards? The reviews say that creative has everything but user-friendly Drivers. I don't want to hassle for a week to get the card working, but I also want a full featured, some-what future-proof card.


    P.S.
    -----Sorry for the low Price-Point earlier... I don't remember why I said that... I think I was gonna quit my job so I needed to save cash but I reniged on that thought. As long as it is <$100, I'm all for it :)
  4. hewybo

    hewybo TS Maniac Posts: 570

    Mic jack

    Yeah- SB's have their drawbacks. My X-Fi only has a single input/output port, so only one device can be used at a time. If you get the higher end X-Fi's, they include a front panel that eliminates that deficiency. I just bought a Plantronics USB headset/mic that has software to switch off the card when headset/mic is desired.

    As to the cards you listed- I have no experience with Diamond, so cannot comment. In any case, when you install the card, you will have to disable your onboard audio, so the front mic/headset jacks would be non-functional anyway. I highly recommend the Audigy2 ZS, and Newegg has a pretty good deal on them right now.

    As to the Creative drivers- they aren't really that unfriendly. Just install the ones on the CD with the card, then go to the Soundblaster website. After you enter your card's info, and get to the driver update page- look closely at the downloads offered. Many are tailored for music players, and music creation. If you are mainly going to use the card for listening, most of them will be superfluous, and I would advise against the "betas" they sometimes offer. Just obtain the ones specifically for audio driving, d/l and install. I've had good luck with their downloads.

    Hope you enjoy your choice!
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