Overclock.net › Forums › Components › Sound Cards and Computer Audio › Do I need a soundcard?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Do I need a soundcard?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I play movies, listen to music, and play tons of games. Hardcore gamer and hardcore movie watcher. I'm building a custom pc and I want to know, is the realtek 889 built in audio good enough or should I get a sound card?

Soundcards I was comparing...
Xonar DX vs Xonar STX (Which is better for movies and gaming?)
post #2 of 13
Are you using a separate audio system, or headphones?
BlueRaven
(13 items)
 
Dead BIOS
(9 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7 G74Sx NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M  Samsung  
RAMRAMHard DriveHard Drive
Samsung  Samsung  Momentus 7200.4 Scorpio Blue 
Mouse
Logitech G700 
  hide details  
Reply
BlueRaven
(13 items)
 
Dead BIOS
(9 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7 G74Sx NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M  Samsung  
RAMRAMHard DriveHard Drive
Samsung  Samsung  Momentus 7200.4 Scorpio Blue 
Mouse
Logitech G700 
  hide details  
Reply
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Guy View Post
Are you using a separate audio system, or headphones?
I have ordered these: Eagle Arion 2.1 Soundstage Speakers w/ subwoofer & remote

I also have a pair of astro a40 headphones that I use for my pc when I'm not on my console.
post #4 of 13
What you "need" is completely up to you, but there definitely is a noticeable difference with a sound card. You'll never want to go back to onboard again. Both of those cards are great choices.
1055T
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X6 1055T @ 4GHz GIGABYTE GA-870A-UD3 SAPPHIRE TOXIC Radeon HD 5850 1GB G.SKILL Ripjaws 4GB DDR3 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Intel 40GB SSD WD Caviar Black 1TB ASUS DVDRW Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit ASUS Glossy Black 23" 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
ADESSO SlimMedia Pro Corsair AX 850 700D + window side panel RAZER DeathAdder 
Mouse Pad
RAZER Goliathus 
  hide details  
Reply
1055T
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X6 1055T @ 4GHz GIGABYTE GA-870A-UD3 SAPPHIRE TOXIC Radeon HD 5850 1GB G.SKILL Ripjaws 4GB DDR3 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Intel 40GB SSD WD Caviar Black 1TB ASUS DVDRW Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit ASUS Glossy Black 23" 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
ADESSO SlimMedia Pro Corsair AX 850 700D + window side panel RAZER DeathAdder 
Mouse Pad
RAZER Goliathus 
  hide details  
Reply
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfiaff View Post
What you "need" is completely up to you, but there definitely is a noticeable difference with a sound card. You'll never want to go back to onboard again. Both of those cards are great choices.
Which one do you recommend? Are both good for gaming and movies?
post #6 of 13
A soundcard will give you a higher SnR, and will use higher quality chips than onboard, resulting in cleaner, more distinct sound. For music especially, I'd consider some sort of dedicated DAC (like a sound card) essential. For gaming, a card can give you many more options to customize your experience, and can help you with ingame positioning.

The Xonar series cards are wonderful for both music and gaming, except in Bad Company 2. They give considerably worse positioning than Creative cards (though still better than onboard audio) in BC2, so if that's a factor, go for either the X-fi Titainum, or the X-fi Titainum HD.

The Xonar DX and X-fi Titanium are surround cards, which can utilize up to 8 analog channels. That said, they still provide excellent sound for powered speakers and low impedance headphones.
The Essence STX/ST and Titanium HD are dedicated stereo cards, so while they can't do analog surround, you'll be getting higher sound quality from your headphones/speakers. The Titanium HD is generally cheaper than the Essence, and tends to be on par in terms of music quality while performing better in games. The STX/ST however, has a dedicated headphones amp for higher impedance headphones (up to 600 OHMs.)

One more card to consider is the Xonar DG. You can find it for ~$25, and it's still an enormous improvement over onboard audio. It's also the only card before the expensive STX/ST that has a headphones amp, though it's much weaker than that of the Essence.

Good luck, and if you have any more questions please ask.
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by problemgaming;14375259 
Which one do you recommend? Are both good for gaming and movies?

Obviously the STX is better if you can afford it. But unless you're planning listening to FLAC with expensive headphones/speakers, I would go with the DX.
1055T
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X6 1055T @ 4GHz GIGABYTE GA-870A-UD3 SAPPHIRE TOXIC Radeon HD 5850 1GB G.SKILL Ripjaws 4GB DDR3 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Intel 40GB SSD WD Caviar Black 1TB ASUS DVDRW Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit ASUS Glossy Black 23" 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
ADESSO SlimMedia Pro Corsair AX 850 700D + window side panel RAZER DeathAdder 
Mouse Pad
RAZER Goliathus 
  hide details  
Reply
1055T
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X6 1055T @ 4GHz GIGABYTE GA-870A-UD3 SAPPHIRE TOXIC Radeon HD 5850 1GB G.SKILL Ripjaws 4GB DDR3 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Intel 40GB SSD WD Caviar Black 1TB ASUS DVDRW Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit ASUS Glossy Black 23" 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
ADESSO SlimMedia Pro Corsair AX 850 700D + window side panel RAZER DeathAdder 
Mouse Pad
RAZER Goliathus 
  hide details  
Reply
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Narzon View Post
A soundcard will give you a higher SnR, and will use higher quality chips than onboard, resulting in cleaner, more distinct sound. For music especially, I'd consider some sort of dedicated DAC (like a sound card) essential. For gaming, a card can give you many more options to customize your experience, and can help you with ingame positioning.

The Xonar series cards are wonderful for both music and gaming, except in Bad Company 2. They give considerably worse positioning than Creative cards (though still better than onboard audio) in BC2, so if that's a factor, go for either the X-fi Titainum, or the X-fi Titainum HD.

The Xonar DX and X-fi Titanium are surround cards, which can utilize up to 8 analog channels. That said, they still provide excellent sound for powered speakers and low impedance headphones.
The Essence STX/ST and Titanium HD are dedicated stereo cards, so while they can't do analog surround, you'll be getting higher sound quality from your headphones/speakers. The Titanium HD is generally cheaper than the Essence, and tends to be on par in terms of music quality while performing better in games. The STX/ST however, has a dedicated headphones amp for higher impedance headphones (up to 600 OHMs.)

One more card to consider is the Xonar DG. You can find it for ~$25, and it's still an enormous improvement over onboard audio. It's also the only card before the expensive STX/ST that has a headphones amp, though it's much weaker than that of the Essence.

Good luck, and if you have any more questions please ask.
Thanks for your thorough reply. I heard the creative soundcards don't really work well with windows 7 and gaming on windows 7. Heard it give crackling sounds.

I am ordering the pc off of iBUYPOWER, so these are my only choices.
3D Premium Surround Sound Onboard
ASUS Xonar DG
ASUS Xonar DX
ASUS Xonar Essence STX
Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy SE
Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio
Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Champion Series
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by problemgaming View Post
Which one do you recommend? Are both good for gaming and movies?
I would recommend the STX. I have the ST though but its pretty much the same thing.

Basically if you have the sound set-up for it already it will give you probably the best quality and most customizable features for music and movies.

Made all my movies, music and games sound way different in a good way.

It can take some getting used to for games too, but since your coming from onboard I'm sure you will only notice improvement.


Quote:
Originally Posted by problemgaming View Post
I am ordering the pc off of iBUYPOWER, so these are my only choices.
Why do you not just build your own pc? You will save money and get better parts.
i7 3820
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
i7 3820 AsRock X79 Extreme6 Sapphire 6950 2gb Sapphire 6950 2gb 
RAMHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (4 x 4GB)  Crucial M4 128gb LG HD-DVD/Blu-Ray Combo Drive Corsair H80 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Pro 64bit Samsung XL2370 Cooler Master Quick Fire (cherry blues) Corsair TX850M 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Fractal Define R3 SS Xai SS 4HD Asus Xonar Essence ST 
  hide details  
Reply
i7 3820
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
i7 3820 AsRock X79 Extreme6 Sapphire 6950 2gb Sapphire 6950 2gb 
RAMHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (4 x 4GB)  Crucial M4 128gb LG HD-DVD/Blu-Ray Combo Drive Corsair H80 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Pro 64bit Samsung XL2370 Cooler Master Quick Fire (cherry blues) Corsair TX850M 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Fractal Define R3 SS Xai SS 4HD Asus Xonar Essence ST 
  hide details  
Reply
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by problemgaming View Post
Thanks for your thorough reply. I heard the creative soundcards don't really work well with windows 7 and gaming on windows 7. Heard it give crackling sounds.

I am ordering the pc off of iBUYPOWER, so these are my only choices.
3D Premium Surround Sound Onboard
ASUS Xonar DG
ASUS Xonar DX
ASUS Xonar Essence STX
Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy SE
Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio
Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Champion Series
From my experience, I did have problems with X-fi Titanium drivers, but many don't. The Titanium HD is known to work perfectly with W7. Regardless, all of the Creative cards listed are frankly not worth the money. The X-fi Titainum Fatal1ty is the same thing as the X-fi Titanium, but more expensive (especially since it's part of a custom iBuy build). Unless you play BC2 religiously, I'd avoid all of those Creative cards.

So, I'll recommend ASUS cards.
The STX is better than the DX is better than the DG. Get whichever you are comfortable with spending money on. All are great options. The STX might be more "future proof" since it'll allow you to use most higher-impedance headphones without a seperate amp.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Sound Cards and Computer Audio
Overclock.net › Forums › Components › Sound Cards and Computer Audio › Do I need a soundcard?