Need advice on choosing Sound Card for new PC

  thestig 01:14 18 Mar 2006

Hi. I'm about to buy a new Computer. I need advice on the Sound system. I'm going to be playing Battlefield 2, Quake 4, and playing MP3 audio etc.

If I choose the Creative Soundblaster X-Fi Extreme Music Card, it is an extra £70 which really stretches my budget. I've looked at the Soundblaster card and its really impressive. Plus it's good value at £70. Creative are advertising it for £99 on their website!

But the PC that I intend to buy automatically comes with "7.1 Channel Surround Sound (On-Board)".

Would this 7.1 Surround Sound On Board be any good for games & music?

What would you do? Pay that extra bit for the Soundblaster Card? Or save money and choose the Surround Sound On Board?

  Diodorus Siculus 08:06 18 Mar 2006

Go with the on board sound for now and if it is not up to scratch, you have the option to add another card when you want.

Sound cards are easy to install. Simply disable onboard sound in the BIOS and install the drivers for the new card.

  hzhzhz 09:43 18 Mar 2006

I agree with Diodorus Siculus, try the onboard sound first. I f its not to your liking then the Creative Soundblaster X-Fi Extreme is a good choice in my opinion.

  Totally-braindead 12:18 18 Mar 2006

Have to agree with the others, three or four years ago I'd have advised going with the seperate sound card but onboard sound has come on leaps and bounds and is really rather good now. As Diodorus Siculus has said if you're not happy you can always add a sound card later.

  anchor 12:58 18 Mar 2006

Don`t forget the quality of the loudspeakers is just as important; (perhaps even more).

  wee eddie 08:23 19 Mar 2006

Why spend £70 on a Card when you are probably spending less than that on the speakers.

Use the On-board sound and get the best set of speakers that they offer.

  >steve< 11:51 08 Apr 2006

in my opinion your best bet is to stick with youreonboard sound card and invest your money in a good set of speakers 7.1 can be a bit messy(wires)i use logitechz2300 thx technology very powerful as good as any 5.1 system i have herd.

  Diodorus Siculus 18:22 08 Apr 2006 Logitech X-530 - PC Multimedia Home Theatre Speaker System - 70 Watt (Total):
click here

Decent set here at amazon for £40

  gudgulf 21:00 08 Apr 2006

I believe both the games you mention support the latest EAX 5.0 standard that only the X-Fi series will reproduce.

There is no doubt that the X-Fi cards are the dogs dangly bits when it comes to sound reproduction.

Having said that it is an expensive option and unless you match it up to a decent speaker set up such as the Creative GigaWorks series click here or better you wont gain full advantage.

I'd start off following thestig's advice (and others) and using decent speakers with the onboard sound.

Reguard the X-Fi soundcard as a very desirable upgrade and look for any special offers to take advantage of in the future, or when funds permit.

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