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Real PCI Soundcard Needed ?!?!?

By truffles ยท 29 replies
Mar 3, 2002
  1. Real PCI Soundcards ? NEED ?!?!?

    ello ello, =)

    I was wondering . . . i have an onboard soundcard . . . its built in the motherboard . . . and hmm . . . . is there a need to get a real soundcard ? i know what is out there . . . with 20 ~> 60 bucks i can get a quality one . . . =)@ !!!

    well i never really had a real sound card . . .

    if i do upgrade . . . would i find a performance increase in what ?

    i would have better sound? would i have better fps in my games? would the system run smoother?

    is there need to get one?

    Truffles :grinthumb
  2. Ai Hate

    Ai Hate TS Rookie Posts: 293

    Re: Real PCI Soundcards ? NEED ?!?!?

    it's up to you, really. if you're happy with your onboard sound, then there's no need to get a PCI sound card.
    and what kind of speakers do you have? you won't hear any significance improvement if you have a sqeaker :p

    as what you'll get from a better sound card is, of course, better sound quality...
  3. uncleel

    uncleel TS Rookie Posts: 977

    Re: Real PCI Soundcards ? NEED ?!?!?

    I think Ali said it all. Basically (very basically) the answer is no!

    Unless your into music or some serious gaming w/ 5.1 suround sound, w/ a rig to match, there's no need.
  4. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 3,874

    I have onboard sound, and I don't have any problems with it at all. I have been thinking about getting an upgrade or somthing, but then again.....If it ain't broke then don't try to fix it:D Just keep that in mind too. But of course if you really want one, go out and get one.
  5. PanicX

    PanicX TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 648

    What's your PC specs? Maybe there's a better upgrade we can point out for $60.

    Upgrading to a sound card IMO is only worth it if you're an audiophile with a good set of speakers. Even an Audigy would sound terrible through a pc speaker. And performance increases would be negligible at best, and for $60, there's probably something that would be a more valuable upgrade, particularly for performance.
  6. Th3M1ghtyD8

    Th3M1ghtyD8 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 660

    There is no real point in changing to a PCI soundcard, unless you are going to be getting a decent set of speakers -

    i.e. 4:1 or 5:1 surround sound

    otherwise most of the soundcards capabilities will be wasted.

    Oh, and some PCI soundcards slow your machine down.
  7. Federelli

    Federelli TS Rookie Posts: 361

    it is muche better to have a true soundcard, u get much more sound quality, as long as u have decent speakers :)
    U can't compare the performance of and audigy versus and ac97 onboard sound
  8. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,665   +416

    Last time I changed soundcards I went from an ancient Aureal Vortex2 to a Hercules Games Fortissimo2 (Yeah I have a thing about sequel cards :haha: ) and the clarity of the sound (which all comes down to the actual quality of the sounds in the games that the card is reproducing the sound from) is quite a bit superior. I also have onboard sound on my A7M266 Asus motherboard but with the chip being mounted on the motherboard with all the other circuitry I tended to get significant interference and rubbish clarity. I would never go back to onboard sound ever again unless I had an nForce board with Dolby Digital onboard sound output ;)
  9. Federelli

    Federelli TS Rookie Posts: 361

    Arris, u r used to rough changes ain't ya?
  10. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,665   +416

    What rough change? The fortissimo2 isn't that far away from Game Theatre quality. Its on par with a SB Live anyway aside from only have 4 speaker output. And since I use high quality Sony headphones I don't really require a 5.1 output, and I have a Home Theatre setup for DVD...
  11. Federelli

    Federelli TS Rookie Posts: 361

    i mean from the vortex to the forissimo and from the tnt to the g3!
  12. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,665   +416

    I get ya ;)
    Doh, Got the wrong end of the stick there :haha:
    Saying that the Vortex2 wasn't that bad a card.
    Certainly better than 80% of the onboard sound available out there...
  13. svtcobra

    svtcobra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 722

    I have never been a big fan of onboard audio. I read awhile back that onboard audio used CPU cycles that games could be using and therefore slowdown occured. Every motherboard I have ever purchased always had on board audio and I never used it becasue of this myth.
  14. TS | Thomas

    TS | Thomas TS Rookie Posts: 1,318

    Applies to all Soundcards BTW ;)
  15. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,512   +65

    Is it NECESSARY? No, it is not.

    But I would advice getting a "real" soundcard because you'd very, very surprised by the immense CPU usage a poor sound chip can cause. Once you hit 12-16 voices at once (Your typical game), CPU usage can be as high as 30% on a 1ghz+ machine, where it may only be something like 6% with an old Soundblaster Live.

    Also, you should notice a very obvious increse in sound quality, even with crap speakers. There are some good onboard sound chips, but I think yours is the VIA '97 audio crap which isn't exactly top of the line. At the same time, it isn't that bad either for onboard.. But you will probably notice a slight sound difference at least with a better sound card (Even on whimpy speakers). You'll also get the bonus of EAX or a similar technology which enhances spacial effects and makes things sound neato.

    Thirdly, driver support is an important factor. Gaming compatiblity and support for "real" soundcards is almost always better than onbaord sound chips.

    But do you need it? Nah. I'd save your money for something that will make more of a difference (If you need it). If there is nothing else you need, then by all means get a soundcard.
  16. Federelli

    Federelli TS Rookie Posts: 361

    i went from a sb pci128 to and live! 5.1 mp3+ and i coudn't belive how much better it was... i can't imagine how "bad" and onboard chip must be compared to an audigy
  17. truffles

    truffles TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    ello ello . . .

    i carefully read all the responses . . . and each supported their ideas very well . . .

    i did a little market research . . . and i find that w/ a little money you can get very good value . . . and good sound . . . and i guess its not a nessary need . . . but =/ hey !! im not really a big sound biggy . . . i still need to keep my wallet w/ $$ . . . b/c recently i bought some parts . . . well . . . i'm still young . . . and a can always find ways to increase my wallet money . . .

    as for sound card . . . i really never had a "real one" i guess . . . RICK is right . . . i have asked several people . . . sound card does not affect a big impact performance . . . i need ram . . . and i need to take one module out of this machine and bring it to a new one !! =( . . .

    and i know ram really increases performance . . .

    :cool: maybe in the future i will upgrade sound . . .

    has anyone heard of polka speakers ? a friend might be giving me a set . . . i hope i find it in use =)

    as for pc specs . . . here are my specs:

    Computer #1: Application PC

    Intel P3 clocked @ 550mhz
    20GB hdd @ 5400RPM
    48x CDrom, 4x4x32x CDRW, 1.44 FDD
    128 SDRam pc133
    nVIDIA TNT2 M64 32mbram
    17'' Monitor
    OS= Windows XP Pro


    Computer #2: Gaming PC

    Duron Morgan clocked @ 1200 mhz
    13GB hdd @ 5400rpm
    8x DVD rom drive
    128 SDRam pc133
    nVIDIA TNT2 M64 32mbram TVOUT
    Primary Viewing Device = 32'' Television Set
    OS= Windows 98se
  18. Federelli

    Federelli TS Rookie Posts: 361

    That's true, cpu ram mobo and video r much more important than sound, so try to upgrade them first if u can, if u can't dont' :)
    Heh... The last time i upgraded my pc was when i got my new mobo and cpu... imagine how long ago that was
  19. svtcobra

    svtcobra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 722

  20. Federelli

    Federelli TS Rookie Posts: 361

    Cobra, and rest of team, thie might not be the place to, but i must congratulate u on the writing of those articles, they've been very usefull and i've read em all :) congrats!
    (Love the gaming tweaks)
  21. svtcobra

    svtcobra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 722

    You gotta thank Thomas for the majority of them (if not all of them!). The Voodoo 3/4/5 tweak guide he wrote awhile back is a gem. I used that tweak guide religiously when I had my V5.
  22. Federelli

    Federelli TS Rookie Posts: 361

    hehe i did too :):) and i still have my v5 and each day i learn more about it :) and i've had it since 2000 :):):)
  23. svtcobra

    svtcobra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 722

    That card is so awesome...Did you catch the aritcle in Maximum PC last month about the Voodoo 6000? It was also in our news section awhile back. The Voodoo 6000 was 128mb card with 6(?) vsa-100 processors. It would have been the most powerful card ever, if 3Dfx stuck around. When they closed it was a real heartbreaker.
  24. Federelli

    Federelli TS Rookie Posts: 361

    If u want, i can upload around 50 pics, i can choose the 5 wich look the best and upload em in a new post to show it
    it has 4 vsa chips, and i've seen it :):):) i'm the only argentinian to have ever seen a v6!!! :):):)
  25. svtcobra

    svtcobra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 722

    Well, its been talked about quite a bit around here. I think it has been exhausted a bit. That is quite the achievement btw, the only argentenian to see a V5 6000!
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