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Where to begin...

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm thinking about getting a sound card for my gaming rig, as currently I'm using onboard audio, and I'd like to be able to pull the load of audio processing off of my processor.

However! I have no idea where to start. I've never actually purchased a sound card before, so I don't really know what to look for in a decent one. A brief poking around on Newegg was somewhat fruitless, and I figured you guys could help me going in the right direction.

One thing I think I've decided is I'd like the card to be a PCI-e 1x card. I figure that will future-proof it a bit, as from what I understand sound cards don't really go out of date as quickly as other hardware.

I have an old Audigy card (circa 2004-ish) lying around that I was using in a previous rig, is that thing still going to be as good as any of the current ones? I wouldn't really consider myself a huge audiophile, but I do appreciate good sound. I'm assuming even though it's an older card, that it still pulls the load off of the processor, correct?
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post #2 of 9
I'm not much more knowledgeable than you on sound cards, but I've heard the Asus Xonar DX is a good choice. You might be able to find a good deal on a used one.
post #3 of 9
Xonar DG provides a built-in headphone amp@a cheaper price than a DX while still providing just as good audio as the DX. If you want any better, skip the entire midrange product line and go for the Xonar Essence STX.
 
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post #4 of 9
Pulling a load off the processor? That at best would be a marketing gimmick that came with the Creative X-Fi cards a few years ago. Sound cards are for improving the clarity of the audio being played by your speakers and such. It doesn't improve FPS or relieve your processor of anything.

If that hasn't dissuaded you and you still think that improved audio quality is worth a price, then you might want to start naming a price, and also what you plan on using for (mostly). Though general consensus is that you should stay away from lower end creative offerings and we've progressed past the audigy by a fair bit.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Well, based on what I'm seeing on Newegg, the DG isn't available as a PCI-e 1x interface. Looking at my motherboard, all my PCI slots will be unavailable when I get my second 5770 installed, so PCI-e 1x is definitely going to be a requirement.

So you guys would recommend this guy then?:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16829132006

SNR is outstanding for the price, based on what I can see here. However, would I notice a big difference between this card and something like this?:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16829102021
Or
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16829132005

I'd like to try to stay around $150 if I can, based on what I see the prices jump pretty abruptly from $100 to $200, so that might not be reasonable. This rig is primarily used for music and gaming.

In terms of the CPU thing; I wasn't reading marketing copy when I picked up that information. It seemed logical to me though, that just like integrated graphics use CPU clocks, that onboard audio would use CPU clocks. If this isn't the case, I'm curious as to why not.
Edited by SectorNine50 - 4/22/11 at 11:42am
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post #6 of 9
yeah, you get soundcards for an increase in the clarity of the sound, not for CPU load. It's not a gimmick of anything, it was an issue.......with Pentium 2's and 3's. Since then, it's far from an issue. Audio uses far less CPU power than graphics, as there's far less information needed.
post #7 of 9
will about the CPU load.........it`s true buying a sound card will relive you CPU from dealing with sound processing but NOT in that tough CPU you got
you will never get extra FPS or faster performance, the difference is unnoticeable

only thing that audio processing uses a stand alone task by the CPU and the Windows OS is very rich environment for multitasking bugs so yes a sound card will actually help but not in the terms of performance.

about the 3 cards you have posted all are great :
1 the DX seems to be the best choice (performance + price)
2 the fatal1ty is better for gaming but no need for the I/O drive ,and Creative is know for it`s unstable drivers
3 the D2X is the greatest of the three but it`s a bit expensive for a person who says (I wouldn't really consider myself a huge audiophile) right

anyway if are interested in Creative`s gaming X-Fi techs try to get the Auzentech X-Fi Forte it`s about 140$ (it`s almost the same as the fatal1ty card with extra built in headphone amp and yes stable drivers )
http://www.auzentech.com/site/products/x-fi_forte.php
    
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post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crag View Post
1 the DX seems to be the best choice (performance + price)
2 the fatal1ty is better for gaming but no need for the I/O drive ,and Creative is know for it`s unstable drivers
3 the D2X is the greatest of the three but it`s a bit expensive for a person who says (I wouldn't really consider myself a huge audiophile) right

anyway if are interested in Creative`s gaming X-Fi techs try to get the Auzentech X-Fi Forte it`s about 140$ (it`s almost the same as the fatal1ty card with extra built in headphone amp and yes stable drivers )
http://www.auzentech.com/site/products/x-fi_forte.php
The Creative Fatal1ty doesn't have any headphone amps? So it would be bad for headphone gaming?
Auzentech is all discontinued on Newegg.
post #9 of 9
you dont need a headphone amp for gaming unless you have some high impedance/sensitivity headphones; headphone amps are usually going to be used by those that listen to music more and have higher end audio equipment (headphones in this case)
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