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Hi just wondering where you guys sit with sound cards. Do you use them or stick with onboard sound. I know that a lot of modern motherboards produce good sound but when your trying to extract every cpu cycle for graphics a card helps. I have aCreative SB Audigy 2 ZS. I would be interested to read your thoughts. Brett Nicholls

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Sound cards do several things. 1) They do alleviate a tiny bit of stress off the CPU. However the difference is probably going to be unnoticeable. 2) It is MUCH better than any on board sound you will get. I have an HT OMEGA Striker, and it was well worth the $90. However for me it made more sense to have one because I'm kind of an audiophile. 3) A motherboard only has so much space for audio connections. Most sound cards offer many different connections, from the analog audio in/out to the digital in/out, and S/PDIF on the more expensive models. Some have built in Amps, Dolby software, and much much more. For me, sound cards still have their place in my case. Even though the market has dropped sharply.

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Sound cards do several things. 1) They do alleviate a tiny bit of stress off the CPU. However the difference is probably going to be unnoticeable. 2) It is MUCH better than any on board sound you will get. I have an HT OMEGA Striker, and it was well worth the $90. However for me it made more sense to have one because I'm kind of an audiophile. 3) A motherboard only has so much space for audio connections. Most sound cards offer many different connections, from the analog audio in/out to the digital in/out, and S/PDIF on the more expensive models. Some have built in Amps, Dolby software, and much much more. For me, sound cards still have their place in my case. Even though the market has dropped sharply.
The unhappy truth is that when Microsoft went with WDDM in Vista and W7, a sound card became largely wasted effort, unless you're planning on connecting via fiber optic digital or something likewise exotic. With all sorts of USB options for microphones/headsets etc, it's not really necessary to have a sound card to have lots of additional options in your system configuration beyond what your onboard audio will support--which is quite a bit with any recent motherboard.If you have a need for a specific interface, a sound card is not a problem, but don't fool yourself into thinking that you're taking any load off your CPU with a sound card under WDDM. Without the ability to use hardware acceleration via the hardware abstraction layer, like pre-WDDM systems were capable of, all a third-party sound card does is add unnecesary overhead to the sound subsystem in most common applications, including MSFS.RegardsBob ScottColonel, USAF (ret)ATP IMEL Gulfstream II-III-IV-VColorado Springs, CO

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Bob: soundcards these days are only useful on consoles. the games support hardware mixing and 5.1 surround and that does help out quite a bit, especially since it needs to be AAC encoded in realtime to fit down a digital pipe. As for hardware level access the problem is windows was designed to have multiple programs share the soundcard, but there still is a way to get to the primary hardware buffer. I paid $1200 for my soundcard and it's one of the faster ones on the market when it comes to hardware buffers, 8 ms record time compared to 100+ms on the average soundcard. 100ms is a longtime if you are trying to record , process, playback in real time.

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Interesting topic. I have a Creative X-fi card, originally used in my XP box. Now it seems the drivers are a pita to work with in Win7. However I doubt my dated onboard sound would be any better...

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