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Sound blaster or ac97' ???

By Power · 16 replies
Feb 27, 2004
  1. Well this maybe be a dumb question but all these new mobo's I am buying from Asus are coming with ac97 sound, to get to the point does ac97 suck I mean onboard stuff like this and lan is it welfare?? Would I be better of buying a Sound blaster Card? I mean the sound is fine but is it the "western family sound"? (no offence to western family LOL) 90% of what i do is game so ....??? Any opinions?

  2. Gryfon

    Gryfon TS Rookie

    I just posted about this and I think AC97 is bad. But I don't have any basis for that other then my own ineptitude. So uh... yea, this is pretty much pointless.

    Edited because of language
  3. Rory7

    Rory7 TS Rookie Posts: 119

    Well the AC 97 does give of a good sound quality. However since its built it tugs on the CPU's total power, not much, but it still does. I use the AC 97 and i play all my games no problem at all (HALO,BF1942,CoD). However if your hell bent on getting every single piece of performance out of your cpu then disable it and use the sound blaster. My friend has a similar system (CPU & MOBO). He has the Sound Blaster and i carnt really hear any difference quality wise. So if you want better sound quality then using a soundblaster isnt going to do the trick if you already have a AC 97, but if your looking for a slightly superior CPU performance then get it. If you want both performance and sound quality, Audigy is the way.
  4. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    If you want to get 3D sound effects a la EAX then you had better get a real sound card or you lose a lot of CPU cycles when playing demanding games.

    If you don't have a really good speaker set/headphones and you don't have to hear every realistic echo of a bullet hitting a wall half a mile away then you don't need a separate sound card.
  5. snowman

    snowman TS Rookie Posts: 183

    if it is from asus and for the Nforce 2 chipset, then it has sound storm ac 97. which i think is pretty good. and its designed not to hog the cpu. i use the ac 97 on my motherboard and think its about equal to a sb live card. and i dont think it takes too much away from my cpu. so its up to you but i would not get the sound blaster and keep the extra money for something else.
  6. young&wild

    young&wild TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 993

    Not necessariily Asus, and not all Nforce 2 comes with Soundstorm. Boards that come with Soundstorm are usually Nforce 2 Deluxe boards from a quite a few no. of manufacturers.
  7. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

  8. Godataloss

    Godataloss TS Rookie Posts: 482

    There really isnt too great a difference in my experience quality wise, but I've noticed alot of noise iduced by the cpu with my current AC97 on-board setup vs the SB Live pci board in my old pc- even in the fiber optic output.
  9. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,512

    Godataloss> Strange...

    I too was once of the opinion that anything onboard had to be bad, as hey it was onboard!

    But after I got my little A7V8X, that changed...
    The soundquality of the AC97 chip is as good as my old SB Live!, and it's not using any more cpu cycles than it either (at least as far as I've been able to tell).
    And I have yet to hear any noise that wasn't due to the media.

    So I wouldn't worry too much about using the onboard sound. And worst case scenario, you can allways run out and buy a soundcard tomorrow :)
  10. Godataloss

    Godataloss TS Rookie Posts: 482

    MrGaribaldi- do you use any kind of special grounding? Are you using the spdif and digital speakers? This is problem for me because I record music to minidisc using the fibre optic out and record real time (waiting for the 1 GB minidisc to upgrade to net md). Between cpu and fan/drive motor noise, it is very hit or miss for me to get a satisfactory recording. I have really never heard a pc-based speaker system that didnt have at least some humm induced to it.

    You are a lucky man indeed, MrGaribaldi!
  11. bushwhacker

    bushwhacker TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 783

    My Recommendation

    ECS 848P-A (Released in AUgust 2003) a very reliable mobo comes with Intel AC'97 audio onboard, lan (Realtek 10\100mbps <Really fast!>) it share a amazing 400/533/800mhz fsb w/o plms!

    Playing games on AC'97 sounds greats and boot in windows for about less than 1 min. (win98se)

    Look in my website i currently own it, look in RIG 1



    <This pic is exactly as mine.>

    Attached Files:

  12. bushwhacker

    bushwhacker TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 783

    OH YEAH?!?!? say that again!?!?!? :suspiciou :mad: That is not good opinion like Power asked!

    AC'97 is best audio onboard. soundblaster is good, but you cant compare it by product. You have to comparing it by it quality, sounds, and play good in games.

    same to comaring to this 3DFX Voodoo3 2000 PCI 16meg, u think this is bad? NO! i think it is not. it will work great! that is my opinion, which 3dfx users think it still great, same with nvidia.

    to other reader than Gryfon, my apologize to this. I regret every thing i say but it still worth it.

    Edited because of language
  13. vassil3427

    vassil3427 TS Rookie Posts: 640

    Please do not use AC-97, it leaves so much to be desired. I recently built a friends pc that had AC97 integrated....It sounded so horribly bad compared to the Audigy 2 we put in later on...

    I say spend some money and grab an Audigy 2 (OEM version is less expensive, so opt for that)
  14. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    I think some of you have misunderstood what AC'97 really is. It's not a soundcard, it's not a sound chip, it's just an audio codec component specification. An AC'97 compliant audio codec could include the following:

    - 16-bit full-duplex stereo audio codec (DAC and ADC)

    - AC'97 1.x compliant indicates fixed 48k sampling rate operation (non-extended feature set)

    - AC'97 2.1 compliant indicates extended audio feature set (optional variable rate, multichannel , etc.)

    - AC'97 2.2 compliant indicates extended audio, enhanced riser audio support and optional S/PDIF

    - AC'97 2.3 compliant indicates extended configuration information and optional jack sensing support

    - Industry standard 48-pin QFP package and pinout

    - Up to four analog line-level stereo inputs and up to two analog line-level mono inputs

    - High quality pseudo-differential analog CD input

    - MIC input with 20 dB boost, programmable gain, and AEC reference capability

    - Dedicated stereo output (LINE_OUT)

    - Additional stereo output (AUX_OUT) configurable as line level, optional headphone, or optional 4- or 6-ch output

    - Mono output for speakerphone or internal mono speaker output

    - Optional 18- or 20-bit DAC and ADC resolution

    - Optional output tone and loudness controls

    - Optional 3D stereo output enhancement

    - Optional 3rd ADC input channel for dedicated voice input

    - Optional integrated Sony/Philips Digital Interface (S/PDIF) transmitter for digital output

    - Comprehensive power management capability

    - Optional codec interrupt generation

    - Extended codec revision and configuration information

    - Optional jack sensing and reporting of connected devices

    More from AC '97 v2.3 Component Specification.

    Now, there are a lot of soundcards and -chips that conform to these specifications, including, but not limited to

    - Analog Devices AD1881

    - AKM AK4540

    - Sigmatel STAC9700, STAC9701, STAC9721, STAC9704, STAC9708, etc.

    - Crystal/Cirrus CS4297

    - TR28023

    - Aureal Vortex (AU8820) and Vortex2 (AU8830)

    - ESS Maestro-1 and Maestro-2

    - Crystal CS4280

    - Trident 4D Wave

    - Creative/Ensoniq ES1371/ES1373 (AudioPCI, SB PCI16, PCI64, PCI128)

    - Creative SB Live!

    - Yamaha YMF724/YMF734/YMF740/YMF744

    - Avance Logic ALS300

    - Neomagic NM2200

    - Intel 810 motherboard chipset

    - VIA VT82C686A "south bridge"

    - Crystal CS4248/CS4231/CS4231A and Analog Devices AD1848/AD1847/AD1845

    So if the quality is below adequate, don't blame the standard. Manufacturers don't always use hifi components in onboard sound. Some have used vacuum tubes, though :)
  15. Power

    Power TS Rookie Topic Starter

    THX a ton fellas - I really have a better idea as to what I think I'll do so in fact I just ordered an Audigy 2... I'll post here if i do see a diffrence...
  16. Godataloss

    Godataloss TS Rookie Posts: 482

    AC97 outputs bitstream throught the fiber out as long as your dvd decoding software supports it. Any descent amp will encode it to 5.1 dolby- if it has a fiber optic input, it has AC3 and most likely DTS- now wether or not you can consider it hi-fi is highly debatable.
  17. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,512

    I came across a post about another having a lot of noise on his AC'97, but found a fix for it.

    He evidently needed to mute on of the other channels on the RealTek codec, and then everything was ok.

    He muted the "phone line", and everything was fixed.
    Perhaps this'll work for you, or maybe you'll need to mute something else.

    I do get some noise if I have the microphone not muted.
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