Is there still any point of adding a sound card for most users?

GunsMadeAmericaFree

Senior member
Jan 23, 2007
781
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106
I've watched over the last 30 years as networking, video, sound and even wifi cards have slowly been incorporated onto motherboards. (or processors)

I occasionally see pretty good deals on recent used Soundblaster cards. However, I'm not sure if I would really get any benefit by adding one. We pretty much just listen to music from Accuradio or Youtube, using either the internal speaker on our PC's, or else on the add on speakers that I installed in an extra 5.25" drive bay. We don't listen to it loud. I also play some casual games.

Would there be much of any point in adding one of those cards?
 

OlyAR15

Senior member
Oct 23, 2014
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Not really. Chances are, your speakers are the weak link. Unless you have really good speakers, then you're not going to notice better sound.
 

GunsMadeAmericaFree

Senior member
Jan 23, 2007
781
109
106
Not really. Chances are, your speakers are the weak link. Unless you have really good speakers, then you're not going to notice better sound.
I was wondering about that. The last time I noticed superior level sound was back in ~ 2001, when I bought a system that had an actual Sound Blaster chip on the motherboard, and I played some games with 3D sound, wearing headphones. That was pretty cool - it seemed like I could 'hear' enemies coming at me from different directions. However, I rarely, if ever play any 3D games these days, so I'm not sure if it would make much of a difference. A lot of the time I'm playing back ~64k to 96k mp3 files, and I doubt they would sound much different, either. Just wanted to check. I used to have a huge stereo deck hooked up to my PC, but that died, and I've never replaced it.
 

MrSquished

Lifer
Jan 14, 2013
15,313
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I don't know how you can enjoy listening to music on internal PC speakers. I mean live a little. You don't have to get high end speakers but spend a hundred bucks on something and jam out.

Onboard audio would be just fine for that application.
 
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damian101

Senior member
Aug 11, 2020
291
107
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No, not really. Quite the opposite often. If you buy a soundcard that's already quite a few years old it might very well produce a less accurate signal than the onboard sound.
Not that you could hear a difference anyway in that case.
 

Oyeve

Lifer
Oct 18, 1999
21,444
523
126
My PC is hooked up to my 75" 4K TV. I have a Vizio 5.1 sound bar that sounds great. I haven't used a sound card in many years. I do, however, miss playing with sound effects from my sound blaster Awe 64 days. Running multiple instances of win amp and doing flange effects playing 2 sound files at the same time. sigh, win10 killed all that fun. I have always meant to look to see if there are sound cards that can do this on win10 and my set up but all the sound gets pumped from hdmi via optical to the tv. Just haven't researched it yet. And probably won't.
 

biostud

Lifer
Feb 27, 2003
16,576
2,076
126
You and most users, no. Those of us who enjoy lossless music and buy good headphones/speakers, yes. And those going for the top shelf would get a DAC instead.
 
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GunsMadeAmericaFree

Senior member
Jan 23, 2007
781
109
106
I guess I just sort of got tired of having cables running all over the place, and I liked the sound from the mini stereo speakers in the 5.25" drive bay. In our tower pc, that is just below head height, so the sound is pretty decent, really, especially if you need headphones. (when 1-2 other people are on the other computers next to that one)
 

CP5670

Diamond Member
Jun 24, 2004
5,123
351
126
Also, if you buy a good one you can pretty much use it forever, and migrate it across PCs. Mine is over 10 years old now. They don't become obsolete like video cards or other things. You can still get the reverb/etc. effects if you want, and it's one of the main reasons I keep using mine.
 

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