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 Post subject: The State of Soundcards: Why No Love?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:53 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:34 am
Posts: 2
Hey folks, I'm relatively new to this forum, but I've been reading MaximumPC for a long while now. I have a question you may be able to shed some light on:

Why don't we hear (Get it? Hear?) much about soundcards these days? I recall thinking it integral to the building of a PC that a decent card be included, but when I look at Maximum's Dream PC Builds 'n whatnot, there is little to no mention of what soundcard is being used or recommended.

Have they become purely a peripheral device that we can take or leave? Has the motherboard taken over the duties of the dedicated soundcard? I've certainly noticed that there are less cards available these days than years ago. (Might just be a windshield survey though.)

What are your takes on the state of soundcards?


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 Post subject: Re: The State of Soundcards: Why No Love?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:25 am 
Clawhammer
Clawhammer

Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:37 pm
Posts: 4544
On-board sound has gotten loads more better now than it was years ago. Most can do 24-bit@96KHz (probably with restrictions), have basic THX/Dolby support, an arrangement of effects, and can handle many channels. The only reason why anyone would get a sound card aside from audiophiles seeking better quality was gamers who wanted to take advantage of Creative's offerings. The only problem now is Creative's EAX was made obsolete in 2007 with Windows Vista because Vista axed the one thing EAX relied on: DirectSound.

That and people use OpenAL now or have software mixing that works with what Windows is set to. Source for instance has built in surround sound. Unreal Engine 3 games seem to know how many speakers you have as I've been playing Mass Effect 2 with surround sound without explicitly telling it to run in surround sound.

You only buy a sound card now to either get the best audio quality ever, or to get high-end audio features. And I could argue that to get the best audio quality, you would use S/PDIF with a TOS-LINK cable to a compatible receiver/amp. The audio in your computer is digital until it hits a DAC. Why not make it immune to noise (it's digital, small amounts of noise will not affect it, not to mention TOS-LINK is optical) until the very end?


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 Post subject: Re: The State of Soundcards: Why No Love?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:50 pm 
Clawhammer
Clawhammer
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Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2005 6:22 pm
Posts: 4406
Location: In the closet
I luv all my HT Omega's. Wouldn't open my ears without them. Paired with Klipsch Promedia 5.1/2.1 the Claro Plus+ is my favorite.


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