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Intel17
03-09-11, 09:18 PM
Hi all,

I've been thinking about getting a sound card for my PC. Now, I have no problems with my on board Realtek audio, but something tells me that a sound card is one of those things that you don't know you're missing until you have one.

So is it worth getting a sound card? If so, what are some recommendations? (I'm primarily interested in just having games sound as good as possible)

Roadhog
03-09-11, 10:23 PM
what is your speaker setup?

Pennyboy
03-09-11, 11:59 PM
I have a PCI Sound Blaster X-fi Fatality and Logitech Z-680 for speakers and the X-fi is def better sounding than the onboard sound on my mobo. However from all the reviews I have read, eg from Hardocp
the card to get now is the Sound Blaster Titanium HD, i have heard the ASUS Xonars are also good but the titanium is better. This is the sound card i'm going to upgrade to in the next couple of weeks.

Check it out here

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2010/10/25/sound_blaster_xfi_titanium_hd_card_review/

ATOJAR
03-10-11, 12:21 AM
I have the Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer sound card, Its a great sound card(not to hard on the wallet either)and a good step up from on-board. You pretty much hit the nail on the head when you said ...

one of those things that you don't know you're missing until you have one

Its kind of like going from a low res CRT monitor and then buying a decent large flat screen, Or using cheap headphones and buying a good pair .... Its like wow.

I still remember playing games like Battlefield 2/2142, Counter Strike source etc when i put my X-Fi Xtreme Gamer sound card in my system, I remember playing and just thinking how unbelievable the explosions sounded, How much better the guns sound, I could hear things in all my games i couldn't here before.

Even with stereo headphones creatives X-Fi CMSS-3D technology does a great job, Especially in games like CS:S when listening for footsteps.

Sure on-board sound is getting better now but its sill cant compare to a dedicated sound card.

bob saget
03-10-11, 12:45 AM
for me games was least different, but music sounded COMPLETELY different. almost uncomfortably clear. took me like a week to adapt.

thread jack: should i disable the onboard audio in bios? i didn't, and maybe once every couple weeks i get a BSOD in BFBC2, and i think it may be audio related...

ATOJAR
03-10-11, 12:51 AM
Yip, Disable ... Windows will have installed drivers for your on-board ... Could cause a confliction.

Maybe your BF issue.

for me games was least different, but music sounded COMPLETELY different. almost uncomfortably clear. took me like a week to adapt.

Agreed, Both movies and music sound great.

bob saget
03-10-11, 01:52 AM
is that what azalia audio is? i couldnt find any integrated audio option....

autobot
03-10-11, 03:01 AM
I used to use Creative cards, but I got sick of the popping and crappy-ass drivers so I tried out a Asus Xonar DX and I am loving it!

Pennyboy
03-10-11, 03:22 AM
I used to use Creative cards, but I got sick of the popping and crappy-ass drivers so I tried out a Asus Xonar DX and I am loving it!

I find the drivers so confusing, Creative make it so hard to update them! As for popping I have never had that since I upgraded from a SB Live to an Audigy 2 ZS.

Intel17
03-10-11, 08:22 AM
I'd love to get that Titanium card, but my budget is around $60 - $70. Also, my PCI-E 1x slot is covered up by my CPU cooler, so would I be able to stick a PCI-E 1x card into a full-size 16x slot?

@Roadhog - I have a pair of Sennheiser HD 202 headphones. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16826106508

rombat
03-10-11, 12:01 PM
Intel17, yes you can stick a PCI-E 1x into a PCI-E 16x slot.

Bigbuck
03-10-11, 12:22 PM
I bought the Asus Xonar DS and Corsair HS1 Headset. I tried the headset first and you can definitely hear small things better such as footsteps and the brush moving in BC2. Adding the sound card made things "louder" I guess is the best way to describe it. Can't remember the exact version but I think it's the latest driver available from Asus makes everything muffled. Switching to an older driver fixed the problem.

Intel17
03-12-11, 02:21 PM
So lady luck was smiling my way today -- a local electronics store happened to be going out of business, and I scored a Sound Blaster Titanium X-Fi for $60. And holy ****. I cannot believe how much..."crisper"...everything sounds. I am so incredibly blown away.

Redeemed
03-12-11, 02:41 PM
I had an X-Fi... Gamer I believe it was? Maybe the eXtreme one, forget now. Anyhow I had it hooked up to my 5.1 A/V receiver and honestly *much* preferred the optical out on the onboard. I could see the massive improvements when using my headset but when using my speakers... just sounds better with the on-board's optical out.

Like I said if you primarily use headphones definitely worth it IMO, if you're using good external speakers on a decent receiver, not worth it.

bob saget
03-12-11, 02:44 PM
thread jack: should i disable the onboard audio in bios? i didn't, and maybe once every couple weeks i get a BSOD in BFBC2, and i think it may be audio related...


is that what azalia audio is? i couldnt find any integrated audio option....

bumpety bump :)

Redeemed
03-12-11, 02:46 PM
bumpety bump :)

Yes, that is what azalia audio is.

bob saget
03-12-11, 02:50 PM
Yes, that is what azalia audio is.

gracias cowboy.

K007
03-12-11, 06:30 PM
So lady luck was smiling my way today -- a local electronics store happened to be going out of business, and I scored a Sound Blaster Titanium X-Fi for $60. And holy ****. I cannot believe how much..."crisper"...everything sounds. I am so incredibly blown away.

same, i am on the asus version but onboard is so crap!...i am glad some of those high end motherboards like i saw of the gb assassin have x-fi onboard.

fasedww
03-13-11, 01:59 PM
So lady luck was smiling my way today -- a local electronics store happened to be going out of business, and I scored a Sound Blaster Titanium X-Fi for $60. And holy ****. I cannot believe how much..."crisper"...everything sounds. I am so incredibly blown away.

Your so Lucky, I just ordered one from Newegg 179.99.:)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102033

Rakeesh
03-13-11, 05:58 PM
Sound card is good, I'd stay away from creative though - there are numerous problems with them. Just for a few examples:

- Their drivers are awful
- They internally remix all sound sources to 48/16, so bit perfect audio is impossible
- Infamous popping sounds
- More expensive than better cards (e.g. asus xonar series)
- They have poorly shielded PCB's so EMI from other devices in your PC will distort audio.

ATOJAR
03-13-11, 06:09 PM
Sound card is good, I'd stay away from creative though - there are numerous problems with them. Just for a few examples:

- Their drivers are awful
- They internally remix all sound sources to 48/16, so bit perfect audio is impossible
- Infamous popping sounds
- More expensive than better cards (e.g. asus xonar series)
- They have poorly shielded PCB's so EMI from other devices in your PC will distort audio.

Sure there are better cards out there but i can honestly say in the three years+ i had this card i haven't had one single issue .... So far.

crainger
03-13-11, 06:10 PM
Xonars are usually more expensive than comparative Creative and Azentech cards here in AU anyway

New Creative cards have shielding also. They also offer the best performance in games. Asus cards can randomly drop 15FPS in some games like Bioshock, if it's a driver issue, then clearly ASUS drivers need work also.

I myself have had no issues with Creative or Azentech cards. Then again, I've been using PCs since 1987 so I was here when sound cards came in with DOS and early Windows. If you've been through that anything these days is a walk in the park.

Rakeesh
03-13-11, 06:47 PM
I myself have had no issues with Creative or Azentech cards. Then again, I've been using PCs since 1987 so I was here when sound cards came in with DOS and early Windows. If you've been through that anything these days is a walk in the park.

I used to use creative cards until SB Live (which was my last one) After that I didn't care anymore because DirectSound pretty much meant an end to compatibility problems. (remember in the dos days if you didn't have a creative sound card or an ad-lib it was pretty much hit or miss for which games supported your setup)

Personally I use the HDMI port on my Radeon. End to end 8-channel bit-perfect audio. WASAPI support works perfect too so I listen to music using MPC-HC/reclock. It's quite impossible to get better audio than that :D Literally it just can't happen.

crainger
03-14-11, 02:34 AM
Well it can, but it's well out of the realms of gaming.

Remember Gravis Ultrasound? LOL The Disney Sound cards? Oh man. I remember even Tandy/Radioshack had one.

Yaboze
03-14-11, 08:53 AM
I have the X-Fi Titanium. It's small, PCIe and shielded.

I have no issues at all with Windows 7 x64. No pops, nothing. What I like most is the optical audio in, because I have my 360 on my LCD using the MS VGA cable. I have the wire from my case going into the card (Intel HD compliant or whatever) and I can use the audio ports on the front of my case.

The only problem is that EVGA put the PCE x4 slot in a bad slot, so if I go SLI, I'll have to dump the card.