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Thread: Should I buy a sound card???

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    Should I buy a sound card???

    Just bought a new mobo with an intergrated 8 channel Realtec sound card built in.

    I have heard that onboard sound cards eat up system resourses and have a knock on effect to overall sysatem speed etc.

    If I buy a seperate sound card will this decrease the strain on system resourses and make my machine faster?? I was thinking of a sound blaster audigy 7.1.

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    DILLIGAF GoNz0's Avatar
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    may as well buy an x-fi so you can support newer games, a few have x-fi specific settings.

    yes you will save on system resource buying a high end card, a low end card would give the same performance as onboard.

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    Senior Member this_is_gav's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoNz0 View Post
    may as well buy an x-fi so you can support newer games, a few have x-fi specific settings.
    Support newer games in XP, yes. I don't believe EAX can be used in Vista due to the new audio stack.

    I wouldn't deem an XFI (or any dedicated sound card) necessary. The recent Realtek chips have been very good. Of course they're not as good as those of recent dedicated boards, but it's at least comparable to an Audigy 1, and I can't tell any difference between them and an Audigy 2 ZS (the cheap Audigys are just as poor as any onboard) with some rather neat £100 Sennheisers.

    Resources really aren't much of an issue unless you're running a Celery.

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    Worth spending a bit extra then. Found x-Fi Xtreme Audio for £35 on cclonline.com so might go with that.

    I had noticed that Medieval Total War displays the X-Fi logo on startup. Is this the way newer games are going, requiring top end sound cards to get all the features? I used to think sound effects were forgotten about at the expense of improving graphics etc. Although I still think effects are repeated far to frequently in some new games which completely spoils the atmosphere and realism.

    Gonzo, thanks for your help on my other thread btw.

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    DILLIGAF GoNz0's Avatar
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    yeh they code in the extra bits for x-fi, not sure what part of the card they use, but i know its sounds nice in 2142 and BF2 with the x-fi ultra settings

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    Quote Originally Posted by mathewdbarlow View Post
    Just bought a new mobo with an intergrated 8 channel Realtec sound card built in.

    I have heard that onboard sound cards eat up system resourses and have a knock on effect to overall sysatem speed etc.

    If I buy a seperate sound card will this decrease the strain on system resourses and make my machine faster?? I was thinking of a sound blaster audigy 7.1.
    Short answer is no.

    Onboard sound cards can use more CPU than dedicated cards. However this is rarely a problem - most CPU intensive tasks don't really need sound. On the other hand most things that do use sound (games etc.) tend to be bottlenecked by something other than the CPU, so it doesn't matter if something uses cycles as there are cycles to spare.

    If your CPU is out of date though, sure, taking the load off it will help.

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    Senior Member this_is_gav's Avatar
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    Yup, you're talking of getting a £40> card for at the very most a gain in performance of 5%, and even then only when the CPU is the bottleneck (very rare now).

    As I said, the most important features of the Creative cards (EAX support) will die with XP, though I'm sure they'll keep the name for some other 'feature' on their next cards.

    The only reason I've got a Creative card at all is for the rather excellent break-out box.

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    I think the way I will go is to put a bit of extra money into upgrading my processor instead and leave the sound card until Vista is up and running and I know whats gonna stay compatible etc. I have been asking on another thread what processor to switch to from my P4 630 and it seems that the core 2 duo is the way forward, these were a little out of my budget range so the extra £40 or so I was thinking of spending on the sound card will chip in towards that.

    Also, sounds like the Realtek onboard one is pretty good anyway, although I think it could benefit from a driver update at somepoint, it has been causing some of my games to freeze in the past.

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    Ok yup - going to core 2 duo will bring FAR bigger benefits than getting a sound card

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    Bring on the dual core then!!

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