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Windows 7: Sound Card

11 May 2012   #1

Mac OS X 10.9
Sound Card

So I have a question. What you you use a sound card for when mostly every motherboard has everything all the ports on them.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 May 2012   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

Back "in the day" onboard sound was terrible and often suffered from "noise" generated from the other motherboard components. It was fine for office use, but for gaming and audio work, it wasn't capable, nor did it have the ports.

Most of those issues have been long since resolved, so the sound card market has nearly died out. If you need advanced outputs or some very unique processing for music creation, you might need a sound card....but for pretty much everything else, the onboard suffices.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 May 2012   #3
Microsoft MVP

Win 7 Ultimate x64

Number one reason, better sound. Onboard sound works and is enough if you don't mind poor sound, but compared to a sound card with decent speakers or headphones onboard sounds like garbage. It has got better over the years but it is still a long way from even some of the budget sound cards available now. And yes I have tested the supposed latest and greatest from Realtek (ALC892 on my motherboard), and compared to my X-Fi it just sounds awful for music and games (muddy and lifeless).

This of course only applies if you are connecting via analogue, if you are connecting via optical/coax then it doesn't matter as neither the onboard or a sound card is doing anything more than passing the digital signal to whatever is on the other end and it is doing the processing (digital to analogue).
My System SpecsSystem Spec


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