Onboard sound - any good?

  lee_robinson1983 13:32 20 Mar 06

Is High end onboard 8 channel sound good enough for modern games? I was looking at some system specs and the game wanted a minimum of a 16 bit sound card?

There's an option of getting a SoundBlaster Audigy SE 7.1 24 bit card but should I bother or not?

Suggestions are very welcome :)

  Stuartli 13:50 20 Mar 06

Obviously a dedicated sound card would be a good choice but onboard sound can prove of excellent quality, particularly those from Realtek and C-Media.

In fact the onboard soundchips from these comapnies can also be acquired in PCI card form and at remarkably keen prices.

I used C-Media 8738 onboard sound for four years with a former motherboard until I was given a SoundBlaster Live! sound card.

The difference in the sound quality was remarkably marginal, with the Creative card having a little more "body" - since that time C-Media has released even better onboard sound products.

There are, of course, specifiations laid down for AC '97 onboard sound chipsets. See, for instance, these links:

click here

click here

  Stuartli 13:54 20 Mar 06

C-Media's website can be found at:

click here

and particularly this example:

click here

  anchor 15:35 20 Mar 06

Similar thread:

click here

Look at possibly upgrading your speaker system first; I think that where you may notice a significant improvement. That is, unless you have good one at present.

  Jdoki 15:42 20 Mar 06

To be honest I've found that quality difference isn't huge between onboard and Creative cards (up to the Audigy 2 ZS - not tried the new line of cards).

The real difference is how CPU intensive the audio chip is, which can have a knock on effect of 'stealing' a few frames per second in games.

The Creative cards will definitely give you slightly better audio (this is more noticeable if the software supports the EAX sound standard), and be less CPU intensive in games...

Because of my AV setup I stopped using my Audigy 2 ZS as it was more convenient to use the onboard optical out rather than have multiple connections running in to a switch box. It's a shame that Creative cards don't come with optical out as standard rather than having to buy the more expensive versions with the front panel inputs/outputs

  SG Atlantis® 15:48 20 Mar 06

that really is a similar thread, isn't it ;)

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