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When is a Dedicated Sound Card Worth it?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
So my motherboard's sound seem to just take a poop after testing a gtx460 in my computer (oh i love nvidia ty nvidia). Now I am looking at getting a sound card to replace it. I have a logitech 5.1 surround system. I was possibly just looking at one of those Creative x-fi Live! card for like 5-10$ used on ebay. At what price would I actually notice a difference from motherboard sound? Any recommendation? If there is an improvement I don't mind spending a bit of money but really just want my speaker sound back. The TV output through HDMI is pretty lame.
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post #2 of 21
You could just get a behringer UCA202 and not deal with drivers. That's the biggest problem with those cheap older cards, is the lack of drivers for newer versions of windows.
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post #3 of 21
I guess the easy answer is when all, or at least your primary, component(s) are audiophile quality.

You'll only get sound quality as good as the weakest link in your system. As DrGroove alluded to, with older hardware you will most definitely run into driver issues immediately or soon.

It looks like you should be able to get a new one for about $50. Which should give you the results you're listening for. Or maybe check the Marketplace here.
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post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by emeraldage View Post

...one of those Creative x-fi Live! card for like 5-10$ used on ebay. At what price would I actually notice a difference from motherboard sound? Any recommendation? If there is an improvement I don't mind spending a bit of money...

Yes, even one of those will sound better than onboard.
If you can find them, the Daniel K driver will improve the sound and enable hidden features in those cards.

As for spending more money, the sky is the limit.
There's a lot of very good info here on OCN in the Sound Cards and Computer Audio forum.
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post #5 of 21
Daniel K. drivers are not going to make that old sound card work in Windows 7 64 bit. The cards still have a 2GB memory limitation. If you have more than 2GB of memory in your system (which the poster does), you will have problems. The card will work with the KXProject driver, but onboard audio is capable of producing sound quality as good as the SB Live! card. Even the SB Live's gaming effects are outdated as is the interface, so you are lucky if it works at all to produce basic windows' sounds let alone work for gaming and movies.
The SB Live! drivers and applications were created for Windows 98 when hardware accelerated audio was still available. 15 years later should be long enough to tell the op to move on to something modern.

And like everyone else that mentions them, Daniel Kawakami's drivers are not going to make a crappy sound card sound great. They are not magic drivers, they simply make the card able to function under Vista and Windows 7 64 bit when they would not without crashing before.

Reminds me of people that say, "Oh yeah, well I know a guy back home that could fix that up real quick and do it cheaper, too! Well, except that guy ain't here."
Quote:
Originally Posted by billbartuska View Post

Yes, even one of those will sound better than onboard.
If you can find them, the Daniel K driver will improve the sound and enable hidden features in those cards..

Edited by chalkbluffgrown - 3/7/14 at 10:39pm
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses I didn't know that card was that old. What about something like this? http://www.amazon.com/Xonar-DGX-PCI-E-GX2-5-Engine/dp/B007TMZ1BK/ref=sr_1_2?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1394261046&sr=1-2&keywords=pci-e+sound+card

I don't think i want to really spend any much more than that. Do these cards have a plug for the front panel sound on them?

It would seem I could get a pci one as well but that would be sooooo close to my GPU fan intakes.
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post #7 of 21
I think the DGX is the best bang for the buck sound card available today. The DGX is for those that use headphones for gaming mostly. The DSX is for those that use speakers mostly and need 5.1 or 7.1 upmixing. You can't go wrong in my book with either card.
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by emeraldage View Post

So my motherboard's sound seem to just take a poop.
Quote:
Originally Posted by chalkbluffgrown View Post

And like everyone else that mentions them, Daniel Kawakami's drivers are not going to make a crappy sound card sound great.

Just pointing out that the OP's $5 solution will work.

No one has mentioned an external DAC since the OP has indicated a budget somewhere over $5.
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post #9 of 21
Get the asus xonar DGX like I did. Very cheap, and definitely worth it.
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Haha I do have money if I want to buy a more expensive one but I can't imagine how the sound can really be improved that much better. I'm really thinking about that DGX. I don't see a reason to spend 60$ for the asus DSX or whatever it was. I could just get a new motherboard for that used at least lol.
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