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PC game modder
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6,950 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am getting a pair of G35 headphones soon and was reading that if using them that for best results I you should use a sound card instead of onboard sound!

This leads me to a few questions related to sound cards as I have never purchased one before!

My budget limit is around $70AUS/$50USD.

1. What is the benefits of using a sound card over onboard sound? (Only thing I know is that it will free up some MB resources)

2. Why will this freeing up of resources help? I rarely push my system to its limits anyway!

3. What features are important in a sound card?

4. I have heard that sound cards can be the most troublesome devices to install on a pc! Why is this and what should I do to make the process as simple as possible?

5. Can you recommend a good one?

Thanx in advance for your help guys!
 

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I can answer at least some of the questions:

1. They tend to sound slightly better (although unless you're an audiophile it should be barely noticeable). Good sound cards have better signal->noise ratio.

4. I've never had a problem the few times I've had to install a soundcard. It's probably best to uninstall the drivers of your onboard soundcard before installing the new sound card.

5. Well, I can't help too much on this one... but IMO Stay away from creative cards - they're highly overrated and overpriced from what I understand.

In all honestly, unless you have great ears it's probably not worth the additional cost.
 

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No sir, I don't like it.
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5,571 Posts
Well, I don't have an answer for every one of your questions, particularly a recommendation in the $50USD range, but I'll throw in my thoughts to the inevitable mix.

1.) The biggest benefit overall is the difference in quality. Once you compare a good, dedicated sound card to onboard sound, you'll be wondering how you never noticed how badly onboard audio solutions actually sound.

You may also gain a few extra FPS in games as well.

2.) It doesn't help much. Then again the performance gains aren't why people buy a sound card.

3.) Number of channels, EAX version support, OPAMP quality.

4.) Vista broke direct hardware access for sound cards. This hurt Creative (one of the biggest names in sound cards) badly. They have somewhat rebounded in recent months with better drivers though. My Auzentech card had no installation problems whatsoever.

5.) I wanna say Audigy 2, but I'm sure that there will be significant opposition. I gave my sister my old build from 2003 and it has my old Audigy 2 in it. She wanted Vista on it and I had no problems installing it.

The difference in quality is more pronounced when using a good set of speakers or headphones.
 

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PC game modder
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
From everything you guys are saying, I should prob grab the headphones and after using them if I feel they are not quite producing the sound quality I desire then to see if how a sound card could help!

Got to go out for the moment, but whilst gone will think upon what you both have said.

Still got almost 2 weeks to decide yet though! (Don't expect me to go all Gameman style on you all with this though)
 

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The Hunter
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15,879 Posts
Try it on your onboard first, if you have no complaints, you won't be missing out. I'm having an X-fi Extreme Music now, and I'll never go back. Still, I do think their drivers are terrible and it's a disgusting company. They're doing great marketing wise, but unless you desperately want that EAX5.0 (never noticed these effects anyway), get something cheaper with much better audio quality.

I'm no audiophile, and I have in no ways a superb audio system, but I can clearly hear the difference between onboard and soundcard in my audio. It sounds much more lively and vibrant.

And I doubt you'll notice an FPS difference, you'll probably be GPU limited anyway if you use AA at high resolution.
 

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Banned
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you won't get a decent soundcard for under $200AU.
 

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PC game modder
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I didn't say it needed to be a great one!

Although I did notice that my budget would need to be around $170AUS rather then $70

I could have justified to maybe going to $130 if it was going to be VERY important to the 7.1 sound quality through the new G35 head-set! (Motherboard does have on-board 7.1 surround)

I honestly ain't going to worry about it at all, thanx guys for helping me to once again make a well thought out choice!
 

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no problem :)

the HD codecs aren't anywhere as bad as the old AC97
 

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PC game modder
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I will agree completely there! My old AC97 rig never sounded as nice as this one!
 
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