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Any use for a sound card these days?

Any use for a sound card these days?

In the past Ive always brought dedicated sound cards for my computers, however these days most motherboards have some sort of audio support built in, in fact many even are capable of surround sound, and a large amount of the audio processing can be done completely in software anyway (eg as I understand, XAudio2, which is set to replace DirectSound does all processing in software, just using the hardware to actually send the final audio data to the speakers).

Asked by: Guest | Views: 61
Total answers/comments: 3
Guest [Entry]

"The motherboard integrated soundcards usually have much more noise, noticeable at higher gains, due to proximity to other components and not being shielded. This noise can be very unpleasant, and if you have good speakers/headphones, it's even more noticeable.

If you care about the sound quality and/if you have good quality speakers/headphones, you should get a good soundcard, perhaps an external one if you plan on recording something aswell (easier to connect, no interference).

On another note: did anyone ever notice in some computers you can hear a static noise when moving the mouse with max volume?

EDIT: If you really want to see how your soundcard performs comparing to others in the market, download the audio benchmarking tool at audio.rightmarkdotorg and compare your results with some commercial and professional sound cards out there in their site. You'll probably need a cable to connecto the speaker and microphone jacks. (though I think this might be a little bit too much if you're not into audiophile/professional stuff)"
Guest [Entry]

"As of Windows Vista, Microsoft started requiring a minimum quality level out of motherboard audio. Any machine with the Windows Vista (or Windows 7) logo has a minimum sound quality level requirement. The idea that motherboard audio is really noisy and that you need another sound card to compensate for this should be a thing of the past.

The biggest uses for external audio would be more inputs, different connectors (e.g. balanced connectors), and prosumer quality levels. For listening to audio, you shouldn't need anything but the HDAudio controller on your motherboard."
Guest [Entry]

"I have found a very specific problem on my laptop that makes an external soundcard very useful. The sound card on this laptop (a zepto 6324) is situated in the lower right corner of the PC and that is also where the headphone and mic plugs are. The sound card is not shielded at all from mobile phone interference. Can you see the problem yet?

Even though the mobile phone has to be quite close to trigger this, if you have the laptop on your LAP and you carry your mobile phone in your right front pocket, this will cause constant interference from the mobile phone whenever it does anything, including looking for a network. This makes it impossible to keep your phone in your pocket while watching movies on trains, buses, etc. and is one, albeit very specific, area where an extra soundcard would be useful."