View Poll Results: Are sound cards still important for anything above general browsing/office work?

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  • No, onboard is good enough

    12 32.43%
  • Yes, but only for gaming/movies

    12 32.43%
  • Yes, but only for audiophiles and professionals who work in sound

    22 59.46%
Multiple Choice Poll.
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  1. #16
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    Re: Are soundcards even needed anymore?

    Well MS didn't help things by cutting off direct access to the underlying hardware for soundcards, which is what a lot of the older soundcards were designed for.

  2. #17
    gamerk2 is offline Self-Professed Audio Guru
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    Re: Are soundcards even needed anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by notdrugged View Post
    I have noticed that with Soundblaster cards, it's typical for system stability to come and go. I've not ever had stability issues caused by onboard sound even once. But I'm guessing the manufacturer support of the product you are using has something to do with it. Still, I just don't like it. I actually prefer not to use sound cards. A sound card vendor needs an adequate team to smash bugs with them. I am thinking based on what I've witnessed over the years it is probably one of the more difficult PC components to maintain as a manufacturer. Put it on the shoulders of the motherboard manufacturer, and it's probably easier to handle instead of the motherboard manufacturer trying to wrangle twenty or so discreet products of varying designs. There are already a staggering number of different motherboards with processors and controllers of differing software, frequencies and interconnects...just imagine what it's like to manufacture several differing products for a company to make compatible with what's out there. Not that I"m making excuses, it's just that I don't have as much faith in PC-based sound as I used to. Hell, half the time a PC can't even handle power states the way they should. Why should they have crystal clear sound that doesn't pop, hiss, or stutter?

    Then again, if your onboard sound has problems I guess you have to buy a sound card and hope it fixes it.
    Creative is known to have a LOT of driver problems; It should be noted that Creatives woes don't show up on Auzentech X-fi model cards...

    But then again, how many people simply buy Creative because they don't know anyone else makes [let alone makes better] soundcards?

  3. #18
    gamerk2 is offline Self-Professed Audio Guru
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    Re: Are soundcards even needed anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan View Post
    Well MS didn't help things by cutting off direct access to the underlying hardware for soundcards, which is what a lot of the older soundcards were designed for.
    Only for Directsound; OpenAL and other audio API's are still hardware accelerated.

  4. #19
    Joined
    Sep 2002
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    Texas
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    4,301

    Re: Are soundcards even needed anymore?

    gamerk2,

    Thanks for those suggestions....

    In the end I placed an order for just a basic sound card, as I do not run 5.1 speakers anymore, or do much gaming for that matter (Except C&C generals and Zero Hour) I just finally got tired of having to restart the computer due to an issue with the via onboard sound.

    Laterz,
    dafanman

    Click on Pic for Dafanman's Specs

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  5. #20
    Joined
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    31

    Re: Are soundcards even needed anymore?

    if you look at how good the sound was with creatives EAX for games like bf2/2142.
    and then compare the sound to bfc2/bf3 sound now, you'd miss the 3d sounds for sure.
    it's too bad bf3 needed 3d sound also. its like games are de-evolving

    late to chime in but wasn't much of a rush anyway i see.

    EAX 5.0

    EAX 5.0 is present in Sound Blaster X-Fi sound cards (except the Xtreme Audio cards).

    * 128 simultaneous voices processable in hardware and up to 4 effects on each
    * EAX Voice (processing of microphone input signal)
    * EAX PurePath (EAX Sound effects can originate from one speaker only)
    * Environment FlexiFX (four available effects slots per channel)
    * EAX MacroFX (realistic positional effects at close range)
    * Environment Occlusion (sound from adjacent environments can pass through walls)
    Last edited by MtRush; 10-13-2011 at 10:59 PM.

  6. #21
    Joined
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    Re: Are soundcards even needed anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by MtRush View Post
    if you look at how good the sound was with creatives EAX for games like bf2/2142.
    and then compare the sound to bfc2/bf3 sound now, you'd miss the 3d sounds for sure.
    it's too bad bf3 needed 3d sound also. its like games are de-evolving
    Sorry but I'm not understanding what you are trying to say. Are you saying BC2/BF3 are lacking in 3D (directional) sound?
    If you enjoy gaming click here to learn about the Fragging Frogs.



    [Proudly using only AMD desktop CPUs since 1996 and now also GPUs in 2014 - Thanks AMD!!]
    My Rigs - My Upgrade History - My Games

  7. #22
    gamerk2 is offline Self-Professed Audio Guru
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    Re: Are soundcards even needed anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by MtRush View Post
    if you look at how good the sound was with creatives EAX for games like bf2/2142.
    and then compare the sound to bfc2/bf3 sound now, you'd miss the 3d sounds for sure.
    it's too bad bf3 needed 3d sound also. its like games are de-evolving

    late to chime in but wasn't much of a rush anyway i see.
    EAX had NOTHING to do with directional sound, all it did was add some extra audio effects to the Directsound library. A good example would be room transitions, where teh audio was more smoothly changed to an indoor effect using EAX, as opposed to a sudden change.

    All of those effects can be done via OpenAL and other audio API's; how else do you think Alchemy works? [Its an OpenAL wrapper]. The only difference is you no longer have a Creative monopoly on "Gaming soundcards".

  8. #23

    Re: Are soundcards even needed anymore?

    I have always had a dedicated sound card.
    For music, unless you are listening to low bit rate mp3's it's a must.
    While onboard sound has come a long way, it still lags behind a good dedicated card.

    Quote Originally Posted by gamerk2 View Post
    ^^ For under $100 and PCI, the top options are:

    ASUS Xonar DG
    ASUS Xonar DS
    HT Omega Striker
    ASUS Xonar D1
    Scratch the Striker. Garbage. Had one, sent it back. Just barely better that onboard.
    It's a 16/48 card and nowhere is that spec listed.



    Quote Originally Posted by DaFanMan View Post
    Can anyone recommend a decent cheap sound card (Pci) that works in both the windows xp 32 bit and windows 7 64 bit environment??
    No via chipset please

    Laterz,
    dafanman
    Cheap is not always better. You get what you pay for.
    If you are going to do a card, do it right the first time. You won't have to go back and do it again.

    I have this and can highly recommend it.
    HT | OMEGA CLARO 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Sound Card
    It's a true 24/192 card and it has a built in front panel audio connector for mic/headset - headphones.



    Drivers are solid. Easy to install.
    http://www.htomega.com/downloads.html

    My sound set up:

    HT|Omega Claro / Klipsch Pro Media v4.1
    Esoteric Sounds Rek-O-Kut Professional Phono Preamp MKII
    Technics SL-1210 MKll w/ Stanton 681EEE MKlll
    Sennheiser HD 580 Precision / Sennheiser PC165 (Mic/Headset)
    It's All About Having Fun ..... Isn't It?

    Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 | AMD FX8350 Black Edition | CoolerMaster Hyper 212 EVO | Corsair XMS3 16GB DDR3
    XFX Radeon HD 7950 3GB DDR5 | Acer G246HL 24" WideScreen
    Samsung 840 EVO 500GB | Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB (Storage) | Samsung SH-S224 DVD Burner
    HT|Omega Claro | Technics SL-1210 MKll ~ Stanton 681EEE MKlll
    Esoteric Sounds Rek-O-Kut Professional Phono Preamp MKII
    Klipsch Pro Media v4.1 | Sennheiser HD 580 Precision ~ Sennheiser PC165 (Mic/Headset)
    Lian Li Lancool PC-K7B w/ Enermax NAXN 82+ 750W
    Win7 x64

  9. #24
    Joined
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    Columbus, Ohio
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    35
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    2,139

    Re: Are soundcards even needed anymore?

    I think a sound card is still important if your going to be gaming with your PC, or using it for serious multimedia.

    However, for your typical internet surfer who might want to listen to an mp3 or youtube every now and then, there isn't any real need these days.
    Motherboard: ASRock Z97 Extreme4
    CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 Haswell
    RAM: 8GB Mushkin DDR3
    HDD1: Mushkin Enhanced ECO2 120GB SSD
    RAID 1 Array: Mushkin Enhanced ECO2 512GB SSD x 2
    PSU: CORSAIR CX750
    OS: openSUSE Tumbleweed

  10. #25
    Joined
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    4,301

    Re: Are soundcards even needed anymore?

    GhostDog,

    Thanks for the suggestion, Ive allready purchased a Rosewill 5.1 sound card the RC-701, got it yesterday, Installed the drivers for xp and win7 and it does just what I need it to do... Produce sound without crashing to blue screen

    If I ever get back to pc gaming then I will go with something more robust, as it stands now with 6 computers spread around the house the one that needed the sound card is only used in the evenings so I could not justify the expense.

    Laterz,
    dafanman

    Click on Pic for Dafanman's Specs

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  11. #26
    Joined
    Jun 2001
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    Southern Tier of NY
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    52
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    21,707

    Re: Are soundcards even needed anymore?

    At one time I was having a lot of problems with Win7 boot hangs, disk errors and other seemingly unrelated issues which I eventually traced back to my Creative X-Fi. While debugging I tried a few different drivers including the unofficial driver package and none really helped. Eventually I just pulled the card and all the problems instantly went away. I don't know if it was a bad card or some sort of compatibility problem with my system but I don't really miss it. I find the Realtek ALC892 on my GA-890GPA-UD3H to deliver very good sound in games. I don't listen to music on my PC so that's not a factor for me.
    If you enjoy gaming click here to learn about the Fragging Frogs.



    [Proudly using only AMD desktop CPUs since 1996 and now also GPUs in 2014 - Thanks AMD!!]
    My Rigs - My Upgrade History - My Games

  12. #27
    Joined
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    Sarasota, FL
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    2,496

    Re: Are soundcards even needed anymore?

    Personally, I never had driver problems with Creative, except maybe when some updates just didn't install but I guess I didn't need them anyway. I have a 5.1 setup right now in WinXP, so I'll stick with a sound card. I have never used anything above an Audigy2 though.
    Skaarj-laptop:Asus G750JW-NH71,Win8.1,Corei7-4700HQ,12GB DDR3 RAM,Nvidia GTX 765M 2GB,Realtek HD,TSST CDDVDW SN-208DN,WDC 750GB HD...
    SkaarjMasterDuo:WinXPSP3, Core2Duo E8600(Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P),Noctua NH-C12P,4GB Corsair XMS2 TWIN2X4096-8500C5 RAM,Nvidia EVGA GTX-750Ti 1GB,SB Audigy2 6.1,Klipsch 5.1 sats,Dayton sub,Pioneer VSX-819H-K rec,,Enermax 850W PSU,Lian-Li PC-71B full tower,Pioneer DVR-216D,BenQ DW1655,Asus E818A3T,2-1TB WD HDs.....
    Dragonslayer (at Mom's house now): WinXPSP3, P4 3.2GHz(Asus P4P800-Deluxe),Thermalright SLK-947U,3GB Corsair XMS PC3200 RAM,ATI Radeon 9800Pro 256MB,VGA Silencer,SB Audigy2 5.1,Seasonic 500W PSU,Silverstone FT01-B mid tower,LG DVD burner,Asus E616P3..
    Dragon1: (off for now, will not boot) Win98SE, AthlonXP 1900+(Soyo SY-K7V Dragon+),Thermalright AX-7, 512MB Crucial 2.5 DDR PC2100 SDRAM MSI GeF4Ti4400,SB AudigyGamer,Enermax 431W PSU...

  13. #28

    Re: Are soundcards even needed anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lenny View Post
    At one time I was having a lot of problems with Win7 boot hangs, disk errors and other seemingly unrelated issues which I eventually traced back to my Creative X-Fi. Eventually I just pulled the card and all the problems instantly went away.
    Quote Originally Posted by SkaarjMaster View Post
    Personally, I never had driver problems with Creative, except maybe when some updates just didn't install but I guess I didn't need them anyway.
    That's the deal with Creative.
    Some people have issues and the only resolution is to ditch the card, while others have none and the card performs as it should.
    After all these years, even when Creative had the market cornered, it's still a crap shoot.
    It shouldn't be that way.
    It's All About Having Fun ..... Isn't It?

    Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 | AMD FX8350 Black Edition | CoolerMaster Hyper 212 EVO | Corsair XMS3 16GB DDR3
    XFX Radeon HD 7950 3GB DDR5 | Acer G246HL 24" WideScreen
    Samsung 840 EVO 500GB | Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB (Storage) | Samsung SH-S224 DVD Burner
    HT|Omega Claro | Technics SL-1210 MKll ~ Stanton 681EEE MKlll
    Esoteric Sounds Rek-O-Kut Professional Phono Preamp MKII
    Klipsch Pro Media v4.1 | Sennheiser HD 580 Precision ~ Sennheiser PC165 (Mic/Headset)
    Lian Li Lancool PC-K7B w/ Enermax NAXN 82+ 750W
    Win7 x64

  14. #29

    Re: Are soundcards even needed anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by DaFanMan View Post
    GhostDog,

    Thanks for the suggestion, Ive allready purchased a Rosewill 5.1 sound card the RC-701, got it yesterday, Installed the drivers for xp and win7 and it does just what I need it to do... Produce sound without crashing to blue screen
    No problem.
    GD
    It's All About Having Fun ..... Isn't It?

    Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 | AMD FX8350 Black Edition | CoolerMaster Hyper 212 EVO | Corsair XMS3 16GB DDR3
    XFX Radeon HD 7950 3GB DDR5 | Acer G246HL 24" WideScreen
    Samsung 840 EVO 500GB | Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB (Storage) | Samsung SH-S224 DVD Burner
    HT|Omega Claro | Technics SL-1210 MKll ~ Stanton 681EEE MKlll
    Esoteric Sounds Rek-O-Kut Professional Phono Preamp MKII
    Klipsch Pro Media v4.1 | Sennheiser HD 580 Precision ~ Sennheiser PC165 (Mic/Headset)
    Lian Li Lancool PC-K7B w/ Enermax NAXN 82+ 750W
    Win7 x64

  15. #30
    gamerk2 is offline Self-Professed Audio Guru
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    Medford NY
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    Re: Are soundcards even needed anymore?

    @GhostDog

    Consider the Striker off my recommended list; Guess the D1/DX stands alone in the $80 range now.

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