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Dedicated Sound Card vs. Onboard Sound

3028 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  plact10
Ok I searched everywhere I could for a recent answer to the question of what is better, dedicated sound card or onboard sound. I couldn't find anything recent and my lack of knowledge in anything audio is keeping me confused. I have an XFX 780i mobo and use some Logitech 5.1 speakers. I think the sound is good but I have nothing to compare it to and I've never owned a dedicated sound card on any computer. I'm wondering if I could benefit from investing in one or if they are just one of those things that people needed before mobos became more advanced. Thanks!
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you could definitely benefit from dedicated sound cards but integrated isn't bad either. I switch between the two in my rig all the time and it doesn't really make a difference
You will notice a big difference. Even more if your speakers are decent.

I would recommend getting an Asus Xonar D1/DX to not spend too much, but have it enough of a difference to sound a lot better.
I was using the onboard sound on my 780i, and then I found a razer barracuda AC-1 on woot for $50. Since I run fiber to my receiver, I noticed a huge difference immediately! With my onboard sound, regular windows sounds, Hulu, music, etc, would only output in stereo, but with the AC-1, it outputs in real-time Dolby Digital Live! and DTS, which sounds fantastic. I would say try to find a decent dedicated sound card.
Modern day onboard sound is actually fairly good. That said, you CAN see a benefit to using a dedicated sound card in some situations.

The two more common ones are:

If your speakers cost more than 100 bucks.

If your speakers are connected via optical and you want to play games with surround sound.

Generally, unless at least one of the criteria above are true, you would be better off simply upgrading your speakers.

Now, assuming you do decide you need a sound card:

If your budget is:

$80 ish http://www.buy.com/retail/product.as...ingid=63446755 (Xfi Extreme Music)

If you have more cash to spend I recommend

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...ech-_-29156010 (Auzentech X-Forte) for more gaming


http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?p=SC-...a6d0746f2110d4 (Xonar Essence)

for a more music oriented build.
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Thanks a ton for all of the advice!
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