View Full Version : Do I need a sound card?

10-13-2008, 11:12 AM
My mobo has audio ports built-in, so do I need a sound card?

10-13-2008, 11:16 AM
Depends on the speakers you have. Only if you have a crazy surround sound setup or you do music and need to hook instruments up to your computer would you need one.

10-13-2008, 11:34 AM
I just need the basics.
Nothing special like surround.

10-13-2008, 11:45 AM
Yeah, it'll be fine.

10-13-2008, 11:52 AM
oh ok. Thanks

10-13-2008, 12:02 PM
You're welcome. :)

10-13-2008, 06:43 PM
Pretty much all modern motherboards have surround sound built in now. Make sure that you get powered speakers, though. The realtek HD audio output is somewhat quiet.

10-13-2008, 06:59 PM

10-13-2008, 07:21 PM
It all depends on how into your audio you are, spending out on a decent sound card will provide a better quality output, but depending on the speaker/ hi-fi system you are using, it may or may not be worth investing in.
Your probably wont notice the difference unless you are an audiophile.

10-13-2008, 08:11 PM
Oh ok, I'll be fine then.

10-13-2008, 08:15 PM
If you don't like how it sounds with the built in ports you can always buy a sound card later.

10-15-2008, 06:47 AM
To branch off a little bit, here's a little anecdote. I myself currently have a Creative SoundBlaster Audigy 2 and the built-in Realtek 7.1 on my board. I only recently started using "quality" music (I've been ripping all my CDs to FLAC and it's great) but before I did that, 128kbit/s MP3s sounded basically the same. Even higher bit-rate stuff (320kbit/s) sounded for the most part pretty equal, even through my Logitech Z5300e's and Turtle Beach X1 headset. I can however, tell a difference in the FLAC output. It just sounds clearer. For instance, right now I'm listening to Throes of Perdition by Trivium in FLAC through my SoundBlaster and Turtle Beach headset, and it's AMAZING. Much, much clearer. Dragonforce is the same way. You can hear every scale, every note that the guitars, keyboards and bass are playing. It really makes a difference. If you're using low quality MP3s, not so much.

Then there is the whole gaming deal. It has been shown that soundcards, because they take sound processing loads off of the CPU, will increase your framerate. Like the Creative X-Fi Fatal1ty card, some are even optimized for gaming pleasure. Improved EAX support/quality, SPDIF output (not really used by gamers but..), optical out and a slew of other features. One of Creatives boards even has Sound RAM! These gamer cards however, aren't usually what music audiophiles look for, and vice versa. If you aren't too serious either way, your on board card will probably get you the best mixture for no cost. For me though, I'm very excited about the card coming with my Asus Maximus II Formula; it's "on borad" so to speak, but it's a Creative X-Fi made card, so it should sound nice either way.

To make a long story longer, if you have $100 to piss away on something that may or may not give you anything back, buy a nice sound card. If you're dissatisfied with the on board once you try it out, maybe spend $40 and see if you notice a difference. If you do, you made the right choice.

10-15-2008, 06:03 PM
Thanks for the comment.
If I ever get into music or hardcore gaming, I'll definitely invest in one.

P.S.- I love dragonforce.

10-17-2008, 06:13 AM
Hehe, as do I. I bought Ultra Beatdown the day it came out :D.

10-17-2008, 04:43 PM
To branch off a little bit...

I absolutely agree with this entire post.. I just didnt want to quote the whole thing. :)

I'm currently using an M-Audio Mobile Pre USB device for my audio output (2 channel only), into a Super T-Amp and a pair of home built Zigmahornet speakers, and the sound quality will make you cry.. in a good way. :)

Running directly to the amp from the headphone jack on the laptop was terrible! Buzzing and humming at low volume, poor imaging and separation, and almost no dynamic range at all. Most times, even a low cost sound upgrade will be big improvement over an onboard solution, but it really comes down to what sounds good to you, and if it fits into your budget.

Here's something to drool over..

This is the same speakers, amp, and Playstation CD source that I use (http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/zigmahornet/zigmahornet.html)(but I have my own custom built speaker wires and interconnects).

These are (hopefully) my next audio purchase (http://www.totemacoustic.com/ca/en/products/columns/arro/).. once I get some more money in the bank.. if I can sell my current setup, I'll be halfway there!

THESE HUGE BUGGERS are my current "dream setup" speakers. $20,000 plus for a good used pair. http://www.6moons.com/lettersfeedback/jason.jpg

10-18-2008, 02:19 PM
Wow those speakers are huge.

Crazy Buddhist
10-20-2008, 03:19 AM
I just need the basics.
Nothing special like surround.

Most reasonably modern MOBO's do surround sound anyway.

I have a several year old MSI K8N SLI - it's a socket 939 Motherboard and does 2.1 4.1 5.1 6.1 or 7.1 surround built in to the Mobo using the line in and microphone jacks etc for the additional channels - it's merely a question of telling the driver what I want it to do with the ports using the configuration tool.


ps The onboard on my mobo is a creative soundblaster 24bit which I admit is better than the average for the day it was built.

11-11-2008, 08:02 PM
I am not going to buy a sound card. I do not have the money and I can live without one.