Advantage of sound cards

Noctos

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#17 Yesterday, 04:58 PM
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Registered User Join Date: Nov 2004
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Hi, i was wondering if i should use the nforce 4's onboard sound card which is ac97, or i should buy a 30 pound audigy 2 sound card.

Also at the mo i'm using some cheap fm801 sound card i bought like 4 years ago. Will i notice a significant increase in sound fidelity such as a deeper base and distinctive treble if i move to either new mobo sound or audigy 2. I'm using hercules 5.100 speakers silver edition.

cheers

ps: Audigy 2 or any suggested sound card i could get for below 40 pounds
 

umheint0

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With the Audigy2 you'll get better stereo separation, higher S/N, higher output voltage, and generally better than the AC97. However, that's like saying a Grand Am is better than a Cavalier. Neither is really that great. Shop around, don't look at Creative, and read through this forum. There are other brands such as Turtle Beach, Hercules (Guillemot), M-Audio and Terratec who make far superior hardware.

umheint0's phat setup --> <A HREF="http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~umheint0/system.html" target="_new">http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~umheint0/system.html</A><--
 

Crashman

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Former Staff
Well, you'll definately get SLIGHTLY better system performance if you use a POWERFULL soundcard (as in, one that processes it's own data). And you can get better sound if you use a truely great soundcard. But let's look at what most soundcards have:

Take a look at typical $20-30 5.1-7.1 soundcards, many have the same codec you find on a typical motherboard, and a bit more hardware to make it work from a PCI slot. What do you gain?

So you'd want something with a good DSP. Then you consider Creative. Remember the Yugo GV? The "sport" Yugo? I think it cost $4800 instead of $4000 or something along those lines. Imagine the Creative SB Live is a Yugo GV in a world of smog-erra "sports" cars. It looks like it gives comparitively good performance, but has all kinds of problems.

Now, there's a Porche 911 in the market, but most people don't even realize it's there. That's the Aureal Vortex2. Creative was so large a player they actually managed to put Aureal out of business by suing them repeatedly, and loosing. Aureal spent it's entire fortune on lawyers and was unable to pay their operating expenses!

OK, now Creative is going virtually unchallenged. They add a Turbo to the Yugo GV (Audigy). They add Nitrous to the Yugo GV (Audigy2). Etc. But in the end, they're just patching up a crappy Yugo GV!

There are better companies than Creative. They make hardware that is more stable, less problematic with drivers, etc. But these products don't shine on the market as well, partly due to marketing, partly due to age. I'd choose them anyway. Stuff like the Turtle Beach Santa Cruiz.

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cookingfrags

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how you feel about soundcards really just depends on personal experience. if you get good sound quality, reliability, etc., with it, then its as good as it gets. personally, i'm really happy with my Creative card (Audigy 2 Value). havent had any problems, sounds great, and games well. the only problem so far is that Creative hasnt released the EAX 4.0 AHD driver for my card yet (tried the latest "Audigy 2" one and didnt work...others have the same problem).

as for the Santa Cruz...it's mostly for those nitpicky audiophiles who feel that it offers the best in music reproduction. and from what i remember, Turtle Beach also stopped releasing drivers...a problem if the card doesnt work well with the OEM drivers or if youre looking for newer audio standards. for gaming, hands down, the Audigy series for support of the most formats and (according to reviews here at THG) have low DirectSound3D CPU usage.
 

the_Prisoner

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Crash, I agree the Turtle Beach/Voytera Santa Cruz is a great card. It is Cheap and works great! Creative, I have a love hate relationship with them. More hate then love.
The thing I remember years ago was Creative taking over AdLib. That wasnt a good thing. AdLib was the standard for gaming, at least that for my first sound card.

Then again before sound cards, we just heard the beeps from the PC speaker. So even Creative is an improvement.

Off to build some rockets,

the Prisoner


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