Weekend Open Forum: Are you using a dedicated sound card?

By Matthew ยท 122 replies
Feb 11, 2011
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  1. A decade ago, most hardware buffs could agree that sound cards played a significant role in performance-oriented computers. In addition to circumventing board-level interference, discrete cards offered more driver functionality and I/O options. Sound cards also reduced load on your main CPU, potentially translating to higher FPS in video games.

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  2. SeiveD

    SeiveD TS Enthusiast Posts: 37

    I am still using my SB Live! 5.1, but before that I had a Soundblaster 16.. I really liked that card for its amped output which my SB Live seems to lack. If I were to upgrade my computer, however, to one with fewer PCI slots than my current one, the sound card is certainly one of the first things I'd sacrifice.
  3. Prosercunus

    Prosercunus TS Booster Posts: 166   +40

    I am always on a fairly loose budget when I build my gaming computers, however a sound card is way low on the list when it comes to what I personally consider "novelty" extras. Anytime I get some extra cash to upgrade my computer it is always another component that needs the extra love and care. I am a much more visual person, so I rather buy a new IPS monitor or an upgrade for my video card or something along those lines.
  4. DokkRokken

    DokkRokken TS Rookie Posts: 267

    Xonar Essence STX. It complements my Grado SR325's perfectly. I'll be carrying this card to the grave with me.
  5. princeton

    princeton TS Addict Posts: 1,676

    Creative X-FI Titanium HD here.
  6. PPA 1455 5.1 USB soundcard to drive mah Logitech X-540s
  7. treeski

    treeski TS Evangelist Posts: 990   +233

    I just use built in components on my Asus P6T Deluxe MB.
  8. Cota

    Cota TS Enthusiast Posts: 513   +8

    Im using one cus i have to ASUS Rampage II doent have a integrated sound card, but if it had i would stick to that and forget about a sound card.
  9. I haven't used a dedicated sound card in years. I have a SLI set up in my midtower Coolermaster Storm and I really don't want another card taking up the cramped space plus adding to heat and mucking around with air flow. My integrated audio is good enough, plus I was never impressed with the cards I had in the past and I just never felt like I was getting that much more value for the price. I'd rather put the money towards a new graphics card or an extra one for SLI.

    I'm also looking at my next build to be in a SFF case, which means a Micro-ATX mobo with not a lot of room for an extra like a sound card.
  10. KG363

    KG363 TS Guru Posts: 515   +9

    ASUS Xonar D1
  11. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,718   +859

    Like DokKRokken I also have the Xonar Essence STX card. An unbelievable card - ever since I installed it, I've used my PC as my stereo system as it makes my "real" stereo system sound like an AM radio.

    It's pricey, but the sound quality and software functionality absolutely smokes any of the Creative cards I used to use.
  12. Still sporting my SB Audigy 2 ZS. I plan on moving to an Asus card for my next build.
  13. mrtraver

    mrtraver TS Guru Posts: 382   +89

    I added an SB Live! to my first store-bought computer because the VIA on-board audio chipset and serial port didn't play nice with my Microsoft Sidewinder Force Feedback joystick. But for my first build in 2005, I had a USB joystick and the on-board sound on my DFI LanParty was good enough for me. I have used on-board sound ever since.
  14. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,869   +2,037

    I don't bother with them, just use the onboard sound and spend the money elsewhere.
  15. Jurassic4096

    Jurassic4096 Banned Posts: 155

    Audigy SE 7.1.
    Looking at ASUS for possible replacement
  16. Tekkaraiden

    Tekkaraiden TS Evangelist Posts: 997   +93

    Either it's that good or you have one sad stereo system. Personally I haven't had a discrete sound card since my Pentium 3 days.
  17. nismo91

    nismo91 TS Evangelist Posts: 930   +31

    Realtek ALC883 and ALC888S with DDL. Have a Logitech Z-Cinema connected to my desktop pc so basically doesn't need any sc on it.

    Was using X-Fi 5.1 Surround USB but had some of BSoDs and boot issues with my desktop. Sold it and bought X-Fi Xtreme Audio PCI, only after few months mobo and gpu upgrade didn't left anymore PCI slot. don't bother with another ever since, use the money somewhere else.
  18. Have a home theater setup in my basement. There's a projector on the ceiling, fed from one side (the right side if looking at the screen) by a home theater in a box, and fed from the other side (left side) by my computer. My computer has 2.1 speakers attached, and the sound is very rich to me. however, if I want better sound/surround sound for movies (speakers are wall-mounted around the room, 5.1 configuration), I've connected a digital coaxial cable from the built-in output of my GA-P55A-UD3 motherboard to the input of the HTiB. All the cabling is concealed behind the wall/ceiling.

    With that kind of functionality built in to the motherboard, I really don't see any need for a discrete audio card.
  19. M-Audio Profire 610 & X-FI Platinum
    Profire for multitrack recording, X-FI for games.
  20. Per Hansson

    Per Hansson TS Server Guru Posts: 1,959   +217

    Auzentech X-Meridian soundcard
    Before that I've owned a host of Creative cards, last was a X-fi XtremeMusic.
    However even with the new EMU20K1 soundchip I would have issues with the sound, and with the drivers.
    With the Auzentech it has been smooth sailing :)
  21. Already for years using just on-board sound - more than enough for me. I a lot more prefer more visual quality. But more than OK with on-board sound. Especially if using headphones.
  22. I use an Creative USB X-mod because my integrated audio began making hiss and crackle noises after being active 24/7 for a while.
  23. R3DP3NGUIN

    R3DP3NGUIN TS Booster Posts: 152   +10

    Im using my ASUS Xonar DX with Pioneer pro logic amp, it freaks the neighbours out when I crank Metallica
  24. pVk

    pVk TS Rookie Posts: 16


    Still running x-fi creative xtreme gamer
  25. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    Not sonce 2005 or so. The onboard in this case the (SupremeFX X-Fi 8-Ch audio with EAX Advanced HD 4.0 support) are so good I cant justify a separate card. and I have no room for one.

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