Onboard audio?

#1 Posted by Osaladin (2527 posts) -

So I'm noticing more and more motherboards these days have on-board HD 7.1 audio and the like. Is it as bad as it used to be? If you want decent sound out of your 5.1 speakers do you still need to buy an audio card, whether it be an external or an internal? I don't use my headphones much anymore, other than for VOIP, and from what I can tell, the sound coming from my speakers is pretty good. So all in all, is it worth it anymore to buy sound cards?

#2 Posted by Kazona (3085 posts) -

Depends on your needs, but I'd say that for most people onboard audio is plenty good enough. They have gotten a lot better.

#3 Posted by MyNiceIceLife (625 posts) -

It's not necessary unless you want to do some high end audio stuff. If you're just playing games or watching stuff on the internet you won't notice a difference.

Online
#4 Posted by SomeJerk (3305 posts) -

If you get issues playing games, buy a proper sound card because RealTek is still the devil.

#5 Posted by Devildoll (899 posts) -

all i can say is that my shitty $20 soundblaster audigy i bought a long time ago is noticably ( not by magnitudes) better than the integrated soundchip in my p4p800se motherboard ( pentium 4 )
as well as my P6TDeluxe V2 motherboard ( socket 1366 )
  
creative drivers can be a mess though. 
Then ive also got a xonar ST, which is again a couple of notches better, but now we're stepping into audiophile territory.

#6 Posted by Osaladin (2527 posts) -

Good to know, if I start to notice drops in quality I'll invest in a decent sound card.

#7 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

Only get a soundcard if you want Dolby Headphone or extra ampage.

@MyNiceIceLife said:

It's not necessary unless you want to do some high end audio stuff. If you're just playing games or watching stuff on the internet you won't notice a difference.

Well CMSS-3D/Dolby Headphone are reasons alone to get a soundcard if you use headphones.

#8 Posted by bybeach (4899 posts) -

I will throw this out, that the sound card on my over-expensive Rage MB was increasingly failing and producing real annoying chatter through my Home theater. I didn't think I could solve it, but both solve it I did and I do believe for the first time am sending (judging by the clarity and separation) a correct signal to my Home theater. I did this via optical-out on my PC. I honestly do not know if I am utilizing the MB sound-card per se, because the optical-out is well separated from the on board card portion physically. Fortunately I had still one unused optical -in on my Home Theater, I bought a nice Pioneer. X-box and I believe my TV uses the other 2.

I may want headphones someday....

#9 Posted by ajamafalous (12039 posts) -

It only matters if you're doing high-end audio stuff; otherwise onboard is more than enough.

#10 Posted by EXTomar (4845 posts) -

Sound cards are ubiquitous technology these days. Many motherboards now feature SPDIF or Optical. Many motherboards as well as video cards now feature a fully functional HDMI that function as an audio device that can handle the full range of digital audio.

Personally I don't use anything more than "Stereo" for gaming. For a HTPC, I would use the the full features because it is connected to the entertainment system but for many games that kind of audio is overkill and adds nothing.

#11 Posted by Devildoll (899 posts) -
@Sooty:  if you are hooking your headphones up straight to your soundcard, you'll notice a difference even when playing an mp3.
#12 Posted by Imsorrymsjackson (855 posts) -

Onboard is all you need really.

#13 Posted by Subject2Change (2966 posts) -

No most onboard sound is good for every day use, unless you are a crazy audiophile who only listens to FLAC files you should be fine.

#14 Posted by MikkaQ (10318 posts) -

I haven't bought a soundcard in like 8 years.

#15 Posted by Marz (5658 posts) -

you have to be a real Audiophile to think an integrated soundchip isn't good enough.

#16 Posted by AndrewB (7669 posts) -

Basically... if you play games and MP3 audio, integrated audio = fine. If you want good quality audio and have the speaker/headphone hardware to take advantage of it, get a soundcard. Don't get any dedicated card for gaming, however; in my experience, driver support drops off too quickly for it to be worth the headaches in causing games to crash and other audio related bugs. I thought buying a high-end ASUS card would mean an end to this, but believe me: it hasn't. They haven't updated the drivers for the D2X (a $200 card) in a year, and it does mean the occasional games-related issue.

That said, for listening to lossless audio with decent headphones, I'd still recommend the Xonar Essence. 5.1 sound... well, only if your speakers are quality.

#17 Posted by OhNoOh (6 posts) -

I have an external audio-interface (Focusrite Saffire Pro 40), but I use it for recording and to power my studio monitors. I'd say the quality of the DAC and the power-amplifiers is dramatically better than the integrated card as it doesn't have the same self-noise and minor distortion problems, but honestly for video-games I would never bother using anything but my headphones, and you really only need a higher quality interface if you are running high-quality speakers/monitors.

#18 Edited by Devildoll (899 posts) -
@Marz said:

you have to be a real Audiophile to think an integrated soundchip isn't good enough.

are you really confident in saying that?
Most people just havent tried. 
 
If they really got a chance to try it out for a couple of week, i bet a lot of people would drop down the $20 for the crappy audigy like i did.
#19 Posted by wewantsthering (1578 posts) -

They're usually decent, but sometimes you're get interference so you'll get some light buzzing on the inputs/outputs, which is a big deal if you want to record something or master audio. Otherwise, it's usually okay.

#20 Edited by MrKlorox (11209 posts) -

It's fine as long as you don't use headphones, or use really cheap headphones. The problem with headphones is that you can pick up interference and noise from the other components on the motherboard, such as the CPU or network chip, that you normally wouldn't hear. Also onboard usually lacks the amplitude to get nice heavy bass with headphones.This is why many gaming headsets are their own soundcard and work via USB.

#21 Posted by Asurastrike (2167 posts) -

@Devildoll said:

@Marz said:

you have to be a real Audiophile to think an integrated soundchip isn't good enough.

are you really confident in saying that? Most people just havent tried. If they really got a chance to try it out for a couple of week, i bet a lot of people would drop down the $20 for the crappy audigy like i did.

I don't have speakers, and rarely use headphones when on my PC. So $20 seems like a lot.

#22 Posted by predator (352 posts) -

I wouldn't dream of using my AKG K501 with onboard audio, external DAC and amplifier are essential.

#23 Posted by charlie_victor_bravo (1047 posts) -

I had to take out old sound card of from my PC because of the size of the new graphic card. I have tried to live with onboard audio for couple of months but now I am planning to get some sort of crazy raiser card or something to get that sound card back in there. Onboard audio is probably fine if you are not used to better quality sound systems but boy is it a step down otherwise.

#24 Posted by Devildoll (899 posts) -
@Asurastrike said:

@Devildoll said:

@Marz said:

you have to be a real Audiophile to think an integrated soundchip isn't good enough.

are you really confident in saying that? Most people just havent tried. If they really got a chance to try it out for a couple of week, i bet a lot of people would drop down the $20 for the crappy audigy like i did.

I don't have speakers, and rarely use headphones when on my PC. So $20 seems like a lot.

So you dont use sound at all? well then even $1 for the best soundcard in the world would be too much.
#25 Posted by Humanity (9604 posts) -

I'm sure if I'd buy an actual sound card I'd see a crazy difference but as it stands I've been using onboard sound for ages and it's not something that really bothers me. I also use my LCD TV speakers and don't have any special 7.1 surround sound setup hooked up to it. Graphical things will annoy the hell out of me but sound, eh, as long as it works.

#26 Posted by Asurastrike (2167 posts) -

@Devildoll said:

@Asurastrike said:

@Devildoll said:

@Marz said:

you have to be a real Audiophile to think an integrated soundchip isn't good enough.

are you really confident in saying that? Most people just havent tried. If they really got a chance to try it out for a couple of week, i bet a lot of people would drop down the $20 for the crappy audigy like i did.

I don't have speakers, and rarely use headphones when on my PC. So $20 seems like a lot.

So you dont use sound at all? well then even $1 for the best soundcard in the world would be too much.

I know :P I will probably invest in speakers at some point.

#27 Edited by Marz (5658 posts) -

@Devildoll said:

@Marz said:

you have to be a real Audiophile to think an integrated soundchip isn't good enough.

are you really confident in saying that? Most people just havent tried. If they really got a chance to try it out for a couple of week, i bet a lot of people would drop down the $20 for the crappy audigy like i did.

yup, i have a soundblaster audigy in my other system and the one i currently use is the Realtek ALC892 HD chip on my MOBO... i felt no need to bring in my other sound card. Like i said, you'd have to be an audiophile to say it isn't good enough.

#28 Edited by Devildoll (899 posts) -
@Marz: mkay. 
well my story goes like this.
 
I had the built in audio in my P4P800SE mobo ( ADI AD1888), back then i was a kid, 2003 i think? was fiddling around with overclocking, and suddenly my on board sound disappeared , i thought i had blown the chip or something so i bought the audigy. and just keept on running. 
at this point i didnt notice a difference in quality between my old on board and the audigy, probably because i didn't even think there would be one, i was just happy to have sound again.
 
then one time i reset my bios so the overclock and all the other settings disappeared, the onboard popped up again.
so i thought i'd start using that again, i however noticed that my music sounded a tad crappier,  so after a while i switched back to the audigy, and confirmed that there was a quality difference.
 
then i upgraded to a socket 1366 system, with a P6T Deluxe V2 motherboard.  ( ADI AD2000B)
assuming the onboard on this would beat my old 20 buck audigy, but nope.
so i dumped the audigy in there as well.
 
and during all this time i had pretty low tier headsets/headphones for around 40 bucks. 
though, both those mobos had "analog devices" sound chips, that realtek of yours might be better, who knows.

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