Originally Posted by drnilly007
I would sell your motherboard and get one that has better sound drivers. I have an ASUS z77 board and the sound drivers are great and have awesome capabilities. This option however involves selling your current rig and purchasing a new one which may be too much of a hassle.
Not one of the better ideas I have seen on this website. I think you are trying to advise a system upgrade and use the 120 budget to give him a bit of wiggle room. (And by the way OP, by the time you sell your mobo and CPU (which isn't difficult what so ever) you could totally afford a system upgrade. An i7 950 with a asus sabertooth board would be about 250 bucks shipped. With the 120 bucks from your sound card budget, you could afford a i5 3570K and a asrock extreme 4 z77 board.....so it is a possibility). The issue is that on board sucks no matter what board you get in comparison to a full blown sound card. Now if the OP was looking for more gaming performance, then your idea would actually be a decent one, but the OP was talking about a better surround sound experience. The amount of time that would be spent on a system upgrade would negate any benefit in terms of sound quality.
@Eagle: The Asus DX wouldn't be a bad card either. The creative sound card is slightly better for gaming, but more importantly, the drivers are much more stable. There have been plenty of people in the past few weeks alone that have had several issues with the asus sound cards. So while the DX is cheaper, I think in this case you are getting what you pay for with the creative sound for.
@OP: I actually did answer your question, but I answered it in such a way that I probably should have realized no one would have understood other than me so sorry about that.
When you say "surround sound performance".....well I really have no idea what you are referring to since that term really isn't used. I can sort of guess at what you mean, and I think what you meant is positioning. Meaning that the birds and foot steps will sound like the sound is localized to a much more precise area. Lets say a bird is behind you at EXACTLY the 5 oclock position in the game. With most sound solutions, the bird sounds like it might be coming from the 4:45 to about the 5:15 position. Well if it is a bird, it really doesn't matter (unless it is a bird that breaths fire or something), but if it is an enemies foot steps, you want to make sure that the sound is at exactly your 5 oclock position.
Now the creative sound cards are better at positioning, so when I answered your question, I answered it by saying the creative sound card had the better positioning. I am sorry for not explaining that.
HOWEVER, the second important factor in surround sound performance would be how much control you have over the sound coming out of your speakers. To be more specific, you might have your speakers positioned in weird places in your room. So lets pretend that your front right channel is further away from you than your left channel. With the right software, you can raise the volume of that channel to make it sound like it is closer to you. The software that comes with the creative sound card for controlling such factors is FAR superior to what asus offers. In fact asus software is pretty pathetic (please keep in mind though that asus is way better for music, so if you want to help other people on this website, please keep in mind that creative sound cards are not the "end all - be all" sound card).
So if you want to say surround sound performance, then yes, the creative is much better.