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Old June 2, 2012, 05:36 AM
frontier204 frontier204 is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Ottawa, ON
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My System Specs

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Note I'm also someone who doesn't care that much about sound, although I keep my music in lossless formats but can't tell the difference from 192 kbps coded MP3 The only motherboards that really improve over the usual Realtek sound are the "gaming" themed motherboards:

Examples:
ASUS - Motherboards- ASUS Maximus V GENE
GIGABYTE - Motherboard - Socket 1155 - G1.Sniper M3 (rev. 1.0)

Both the examples I listed are mATX boards, as the ATX variants are so much more expensive that you're better off buying a sound card + a lower-end motherboard if you don't need all the features the boards provide. (see below)

A good compromise that I found was this little device, the Asus Xonar U3: http://ca.asus.com/en/Multimedia/Audio_Cards/Xonar_U3/
It sounds just a bit better than my onboard sound (Intel DP67DE + Realtek), but the best thing about it is it completely eliminates any high-pitched noise that comes from my video card while gaming. It had no problem driving my SRH550DJ headphones before I gave that pair away to family members, and right now it's driving my old Altec Lansing speakers. Note the "GX" function for that device has broken drivers, so don't use the "GX" mode on that USB card unless you want to see your games crash.
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