About Sound cards.

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I am curious as to what the difference is between a motherboard soundcard and a cound card you would buy seperate and put in a pci slot? Say like a Soundblaster Audigy 2 or whatever its called. I don't know if thats the top one or not. But, by going about and buy a sound card, does that some how unlock secret sounds that can not be heard in games unless you get one? Im really curious as to why someone would go about buying one.
 
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The only reason I went out and bought an actual sound card was because I couldn't get my onboard sound to work under Linux. I got the cheapest one I could find, too. >_o

I would assume if you're doing work that involves a lot of perfect-quality sound (creating music or sound effects), then an actual card might sound better. Or atleast be more configurable, likely giving you more options for 3D effects and whatnot. I can't see any hidden sounds in games, only available for players with PCI soundcards. That'd be pretty funny, though.

For the most part, you shouldn't need to worry about getting a sound card if you have integrated audio. If you do, you'll know why you do. It's not really like a video card; there's only so much you can do with sound.
 
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DragonDude said:
The only reason I went out and bought an actual sound card was because I couldn't get my onboard sound to work under Linux. I got the cheapest one I could find, too. >_o

I would assume if you're doing work that involves a lot of perfect-quality sound (creating music or sound effects), then an actual card might sound better. Or atleast be more configurable, likely giving you more options for 3D effects and whatnot. I can't see any hidden sounds in games, only available for players with PCI soundcards. That'd be pretty funny, though.

For the most part, you shouldn't need to worry about getting a sound card if you have integrated audio. If you do, you'll know why you do. It's not really like a video card; there's only so much you can do with sound.
Oh ok. Yeah i have a onboard sound card. I just wasn't sure if I should go out and buy a soundcard.
 
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About the only thing buying a soundcard would do for gaming and such would be to increase the performance by a tiny bit, cuz the load is being put on to your sound card now instead. So you could go out and buy a cheap soundcard for that, but you probably wouldn't even notice the difference anyways, so it's a moot point.
 
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Actually, most onboard sound systems still use a DSP (digital signal processor), the soundcard equivalent of a GPU. Some add-in cards offer no DSPs, so you can't go by that alone. The true difference lies in fidelity.

Motherboards generate a tremendous amount of signal noise via their electrical business. So on board sound often sounds worse, producing a hum when you turn on your system's speakers to max, where an add-in card avoids this by being connected only through the single edge, and being better insulated against such noise intrusions by design. If you are big on clarity, and you absolutely need 100% clear signal, go with an add-in card, if not, there is no need to spend more money. Some more recent games completely forego DSP API's anyway, and thus don't use hardware acceleration. Examples include both Doom 3 and Source engines.
 
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Take a simple soundblaster live!, it will be alot better then your onboard sound.(Unless you have an nForce2, which has also pretty good onboard sound)
 
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KidBoy17 said:
I am curious as to what the difference is between a motherboard soundcard and a cound card you would buy seperate and put in a pci slot? Say like a Soundblaster Audigy 2 or whatever its called. I don't know if thats the top one or not. But, by going about and buy a sound card, does that some how unlock secret sounds that can not be heard in games unless you get one? Im really curious as to why someone would go about buying one.
The best sound card out there right now is the Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-FI, Hands down. If you want the ultimate in sound get this.
 

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