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Why buy a sound card? (Noob in training)

post #1 of 53
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Hey guys,

I'm building a new rig at the end of this month, and as I look at people's sig's and different builds, I am seeing a consistent trend of sound cards.

I have never purchased a sound card before. I have always used the on-board audio (I've always had ASUS mobos). I play video games, I listen to music. However I'm not running a 5.1 system to my computer. I just bought a 2.1 Altec Lansing FX6021 which sounds great.

Is it worth buying a sound card?
(The mobo I plan on getting has a ALC889A chipset, idk if that helps)

How much should I spend on one? I really don't want to spend a lot on it (If I even should buy one)

Thanks Guys!
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post #2 of 53
Post the rest of your specs and then we'll see what you have. If you have everything else ok, then a sound card is a good option. It does improve sound quality nicely.
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post #3 of 53
Some people say they cannot tell the difference, some say they can.

However they all say they bought it to take the load off the processor.

If you are happy with the output of onboard then you don't need a sound card. However if your CPU was rather weak i would suggest buyingone because it means your CPU doesn't have to process the sound whilst doing other jobs
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post #4 of 53
If you like better sound, then yes, soundcards are well worth the money. If you dont care if your music or game sounds a hell of a lot better, then a soundcard would not be worth it. Just keep in mind it will have to be paired with some decent speakers or headphones. A soundcard cant make junk speakers sound incredible. Also, good speakers can make onboard audio sound better, but a soundcard will make them sound a LOT better.

EDIT: With some decent speakers or headphones, if you cant tell the difference between onboard audio and a decent soundcard, you need to get your hearing checked.
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post #5 of 53
Sound cards are always risky business. I'd try to avoid anything in the 15-35 dollar range. Thus far I've had no luck. Picking up a Sound BLaster for about 70 dollars soon, I'll let you know how that goes. But if your mobo is recent, your built in is probably better than any 15-35 dollar sound card.
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post #6 of 53
To be completely honest...The only difference I can see is with EAX. A good example is in BF2142. With EAX enabled, the crystalizer on and some other misc settings, 2142 sounds unreal. I will never go cheap when it comes to computer parts again. I just bought a 4400 am2 chip with an ecs mobo recently and found I'm not happy with the mobo due to not having what should be standard now, a gigabit network card. I have never been so happy with my name brand x-fi card and evga video card. In the end, you get what you paid for.
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post #7 of 53
I switched to a sound blaster 24 bit and I seem to put out more bass (although this onboard on my dfi board is godly compared to otheres). Go to best buy and get one, just to test it out. Then later just bring it back and say it doesn't work and buy a better one if it convinces you.
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post #8 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by la4ours View Post
To be completely honest...The only difference I can see is with EAX. A good example is in BF2142. With EAX enabled, the crystalizer on and some other misc settings, 2142 sounds unreal. I will never go cheap when it comes to computer parts again. I just bought a 4400 am2 chip with an ecs mobo recently and found I'm not happy with the mobo due to not having what should be standard now, a gigabit network card. I have never been so happy with my name brand x-fi card and evga video card. In the end, you get what you paid for.
What speakers do you have? With some nice speakers, you can tell if you listen to a lot of music.
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post #9 of 53
If you buy a cheap soundcard, then you will only be taking some of the load off of the CPU, this can really help with gaming... but, some soundcards are just not worth it. anything over 100 dollars generally is a waste of money.... I bought a 30 Soundblaster Audigy for my computer and the sound quality is much better than the onboard Realtek that my Gigabyte mobo provided. Plus you get alot of extra goodies to improve the sound quality further such as hiss removal and reverb... it really all depends on what you plan on doing with your new computer, but a nice soundblaster card will put you where you wanna be.
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post #10 of 53
I have $10 speakers and use onboard sound, why, it is what I need.
If you feel your missing something soundwise, get new speakers first, then get a soundcard IMO.
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