neil0311

Sound card or on board 7.1 HD audio????

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I'm looking to upgrade my 6 year old Sandy Bridge-E system to a new system with a Kaby Lake i7-7700K CPU. I know the guidance for FS9 and FSX (and now P3D) with older systems was always to have a separate sound card to offload the overhead from the CPU.  Is that still the guidance or doesn't it matter anymore with the newer and faster CPUs? 

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On-board sound is very good these days. Personally I've never had an issue with on-board sound. It's been quite a few years since I used a dedicated sound card.

Asus MB's are particularly good in this respect.

You don't say which board you contemplate, but my advice would be to use on-board sound as you can always buy a sound card later if required... I don't expect you to need to though.

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I used to always use a sound card to save cycles on the CPU and provide good sound, but with this system, built many years ago, I tried the on-board Realtek sound set.  With the Realtek graphic equalizer, I was able to shape the sounds and it sounded about the same as my old Soundblaster card.  So, no more sound card to suck off of the PSU and with today's fast, multicore CPU's, it's not a huge drag on performance.

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Don't forget the era of 100% CPU utilization hasn't existed for years.  In those days we were lucky to have a GTX680 GPU and at 100% CPU utilization, if we could offload 4 CPU cycles with a dedicated soundcard, we did it.  Today we are using 50% or less CPU utilization, maybe 75% in certain applications so a dedicated soundcard is not required for CPU offloading.  I haven't used a dedicated SC for years.

Now for sound quality, is a dedicated card required?  No. 

Is there a noticeable difference between onboard and discrete? Most likely (depending on MB etc but most likely dedicated better). 

Do I need a discrete card? For non audiophiles flying with a gaming set of headphones listening to downloaded music, no.  Audiophile or simply a person that wants the best of the best or certain features not available on integrated sound, yes, buy a dedicated card.

Take the $200 US. that a good dedicated card would cost and put it into something that really matters like GPU, SSD, Memory or something.  You will get much more bang for the buck.

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I agree with all the above. Haven't used a sound for years and, when I did experiment with my Asus sound card, the sound quality was no different to my ears, and neither did it improve my CPU performance one bit. Not even 1fps in flight sims or games.

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IIRC, Windows 7 and above no longer support hardware acceleration of sound. I just pipe my sound from my video card to my stereo via HDMI.

Cheers!

Luke

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