View Full Version : Advantage of a sound card?
07-15-2007, 10:46 PM
I know that once upon a time, there was a distinct advantage to having an independent sound card to take the load off the processor. I was under the impression that nowadays though, the M/B onboard sound systems were good enough that the CPU shouldn't be adversely affected. Is that still the case, or should I try out a sound card? If so, will just any sound card do, to take the load off the CPU (ie. I have an old Soundblaster Live around here somewhere, or an inexpensive Audigy)? I only have 2.1 speaker system and I mostly fly using my USB headset anyway so I'm not willing to spend too much.
On board sound cards still rely on the CPU to do the actual audio processing, while the Sound Blaster Audigy and X-Fi line (well, most of them) will do it themselves. There are some cheaper versions of the Audigy (Audigy 4 SE I think) and X-Fi series (X-Fi Extreme Audio) that are little better than on-board, but the rest will take the load off. If you want to buy one, the X-Fi Xtreme Gamer would be a good choice.
Using a USB headset bypasses the sound card (on-board or add-in) altogether as they have one built in.
There are other add-in sound cards, but they are typically geared towards sound quality and again use the CPU for any processing.
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