The answer is, of course - it entirely depends on your ears... :-) You're right that onboard sound has come a long way since the early days to the point where, IMHO, you need to be a fairly committed audiophile to justify a separate sound card. Personally, I couldn't - but then, my hearing is pretty non-discriminatory. (Although, that said, I added a soundbar to my TV and the difference is amazing - but then, flat screen TV sound is notoriously poor.) For the PC on which I mostly play music, I just use its onboard sound - but I've matched that up with a decent Creative 2.1 set-up which delivers a quality of sound that absolutely meets my needs. However, as I say - you may be more discriminating. If you do decide to go for a 'real' sound card, I'd certainly stick with Creative - I've been a fan of theirs for ages, and haven't yet found anything (sound cards or speakers) that I think is better value.
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