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Old October 25, 2012, 08:50 PM
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Default Do I need a soundcard? (My specs are included)

So here is my current system specs (I'm building the machine, it isn't complete yet)

Gigabyte GA-Z77X Mobo
Intel i7-3770K Ivy Bridge 3.5GHz
Mushkin DDR3 PC3 10600 8Gb x4(32Gb)
XFX DoubleD Radeon HD 7970
OCZ Vertex 4 128Gb 2.5 SSD (Operating system and Programs)
WD Red 1Tb 3.5 HD (x2 Raid 1 Mirrored for Data)

So the thing is that I can't decide if I actually need a sound card. I have ALWAYS used onboard sound. I don't use surround sound or anything, but I do game. Typically I just use headphones, but from time to time I will use my speakers (I have pretty plain Insignia speakers with a small subwoofer) for some gaming and to crank up music from time to time while cooking/cleaning/entertaining company.

So what do you think? I have never used a soundcard before, but do I need one? the only reason I ask is that someone gave me crap for putting 2k into my system without bothering to invest in a sound card. I figured for what I do a sound card might actually go to waste, but is the quality really that better or whatever reasons might be usefull for my purposes?
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Old October 25, 2012, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tethlah View Post
So here is my current system specs (I'm building the machine, it isn't complete yet)

Gigabyte GA-Z77X Mobo
Intel i7-3770K Ivy Bridge 3.5GHz
Mushkin DDR3 PC3 10600 8Gb x4(32Gb)
XFX DoubleD Radeon HD 7970
OCZ Vertex 4 128Gb 2.5 SSD (Operating system and Programs)
WD Red 1Tb 3.5 HD (x2 Raid 1 Mirrored for Data)

So the thing is that I can't decide if I actually need a sound card. I have ALWAYS used onboard sound. I don't use surround sound or anything, but I do game. Typically I just use headphones, but from time to time I will use my speakers (I have pretty plain Insignia speakers with a small subwoofer) for some gaming and to crank up music from time to time while cooking/cleaning/entertaining company.

So what do you think? I have never used a soundcard before, but do I need one? the only reason I ask is that someone gave me crap for putting 2k into my system without bothering to invest in a sound card. I figured for what I do a sound card might actually go to waste, but is the quality really that better or whatever reasons might be usefull for my purposes?
Unless the speakers and/or headphones are of good quality your onboard will be perfectly fine.
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Old October 25, 2012, 09:33 PM
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The quality of your audio hardware (speakers, headphones, etc) will usually determine that. If don't have high end audio equipment, you won't see the benefit of a sound card unless you've noticed your onboard is very noisy (popping, crackling, etc).

ALSO, you gave us pretty useless information. The onboard audio is on the motherboard, so that is all that matters for determining the quality of your current sound, but you didn't tell us what motherboard you own. There are a lot of versions of the GA-Z77X....... the UD5 has a great onboard audio chip, where the UD3 has a much cheaper one. I am very impressed with the Realteck ALC889 on my motherboard and my $200 ASUS Xonar essence STX isn't any better sounding on my $160 headphones (I own the card to use with my $600 headphones). The UD5 of your model has the ALC898 chip, an improved version of mine.
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Old October 26, 2012, 02:56 AM
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Do you have $500+ in quality audio equipment? if not, onboard is more than enough.
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Old October 26, 2012, 03:10 AM
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OP you really don't need a sound card but if you've never used one before you can buy one and feel the difference in sound (which a lot depends on your speakers/headphone).
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Old October 26, 2012, 03:32 AM
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IMO no. But the easiest thing to do is use onboard and then if you have high end audio equipment and are hearing imperfections or lack of clarity because of the onboard then add a sound card.
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Old October 26, 2012, 05:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by draemn View Post
The quality of your audio hardware (speakers, headphones, etc) will usually determine that. If don't have high end audio equipment, you won't see the benefit of a sound card unless you've noticed your onboard is very noisy (popping, crackling, etc).

ALSO, you gave us pretty useless information. The onboard audio is on the motherboard, so that is all that matters for determining the quality of your current sound, but you didn't tell us what motherboard you own. There are a lot of versions of the GA-Z77X....... the UD5 has a great onboard audio chip, where the UD3 has a much cheaper one. I am very impressed with the Realteck ALC889 on my motherboard and my $200 ASUS Xonar essence STX isn't any better sounding on my $160 headphones (I own the card to use with my $600 headphones). The UD5 of your model has the ALC898 chip, an improved version of mine.
I'm getting the UD5
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Old October 26, 2012, 09:26 AM
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that is one thing I love about onboard now day compared to say 6+ yrs ago on board sound now is very good. my first build I bought a sound card which was a asus zonar DX which is a pretty decent sound card and back then I could really notice the difference , but a few builds later I actually cannot tell the difference mind you I am using barely average $50 head phones but still I don't even use my sound card any more.
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Old October 26, 2012, 09:31 AM
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As someone whom just had a X-Fi Xtrememusic practicaly on its last legs have to switch to realtek HD onboard audio & using a set of senheiser pc350's that are hero modded .... I can honestly say there IS a fairly substantial diffrent .... less amplifications, limited dynamic sound range to name a few.

Look into something like a Asus Xonar DX card at least if you buy one ..
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Old October 26, 2012, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tethlah View Post
I'm getting the UD5
Then don't wast your money on a sound card unless you get into the higher end audio solutions (i.e. over $400). That sound-card is pretty damn good. Very good SNR, a nice array of Dolby features (at least my UD5 has a good set of software features) and good sound quality with almost zero noise.

As for the post above me, my ears don't hear much of a difference (with my Sennheisers HD515) between the onboard ALC889 chip and my Xonar Essence STX. Until I put on my HD650s, I would have said my sound-card was a waste of money.
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