Does anyone buy Sound Cards anymore?

Does anyone buy Sound Cards anymore?

Is this industry dying or just become more narrow? Sound cards nowadays are mostly built into the motherboard (brand comes to mind is Realtek) and they’re already good enough with some having 5.1 surround sound while others have up to 8 channels.

Back in the days, people would buy a separate card for their sound card. The ones built-in to the mobo aren’t recommended because they allegedly consume CPU cycles by around 10-15%. Thus a separate chip was better.


creative sound card

Now, we got plenty of CPU power to dispense so that’s no longer an issue. The last time I bought a PCI sound card was like 6 years ago. Creative Labs was for the gamers, Yamaha went for the music geeks and musicians (does Yamaha still make any sound cards?).

Seems like the hard core gamers are the ones buying the newer sound cards. Any body else have any special use for a separate sound card?

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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21 Responses

  1. Andre says:

    I think people focus more on the peripherals rather than the internal hardware for sound devices. Eg subwoofers and surround speakers. Only the professional users would seem to have a need for the internal hardware soundcards.

  2. Subwoofer says:

    i still buy sound card because the built in sound card has very bad sound quality.

  3. Fitz says:

    Good observation. I actually don’t remember the last time that I bought one.

  4. jhay says:

    I last bought a sound card back in 2000. Afterwards, there wasn’t really a need for it.

  5. ralph says:

    nah. i have an external soundcard creative soundblaster audigy 2 ZS so i could put two 2.1 surround sound speakers. plus its a video editor.

  6. Yeah I am still using a separate sound card. I guess for ordinary use a built in sound card is good enough but for multimedia production a separate card can really make a difference.

  7. Maruel says:

    Yeah, we still use our internal SB Audigy 2 ZS which be bought like 4 years ago. We have changed motherboards and processors but we always retain this sound card even if we just a 2.1 speaker system and doesn’t use it’s 5.1 features. :)

  8. orgl says:

    I guess pci soundcards will still remain available in the market, especially those hardcore gamers, musician, and hobbyist whom preferred using PCI or PCIe type of soundcards. Like for instance, you can find in some forums that most musically inclined individuals are talking about setting up a dual sound card mainly use it for replacing the traditional analog audio mixer and take note I haven’t seen any built-in sound that provide a midi connector which are often used by musician for connecting their midi capable keyboards or synthesizers that don’t have a usb or firewire connectors. In my own case I bought a cheap pci soundcard and installed it because my Asus A7V266m motherboard built-in sound can’t drive my pioneer headphone simply because it doesn’t have enough pre-amp power.

  9. Dexter says:

    I don’t remember when I bought one. I always use built in para tipid..

  10. vance says:

    I still do, especially if your built-in one suddenly dies..

    X-Fi are really good.. but they won’t sound good unless you have a good set of speakers.

  11. I’m still using a Creative Audigy 4 sound card bought almost 2 years ago but I might ditched and go with an onboard solution.

  12. andre says:

    for most users the built-in ones are enough, so why buy a separate one? it’s also worth mentioning that few sound cards in the market are really much better than the built-in sound in today’s motherboards. syempre gagastos ka rin lang, wag naman pipitsugin na sound card.

  13. Im going to buy 2 new sound cards this year – 1 for upgrading my existing PC; the other for the new PC I’m going to assemble.

    So yah, hardcore gamers like me do buy non-built in stuff still ;) We prefer the almighty powerful independent peripherals because we have more choice than the built-in ones, and secondly, we want “the” ultimate experience.

    Not just for gaming but for other entertainment purposes as well, watching *ehemm* downloaded shows for example. And creating videos ;)

  14. ChrisMo says:

    I always bought separate peripherals, I am a little picky with my PC parts so I guess for emergency needs I use all on-board systems, and use the add-on cards for most days. I am also quite ecstatic with these new plug and play USB sound driver/thumb(I dont know the proper name for it) Since sometimes when I work at night I use headphones on my PC and adding a usb SRS 3d wow preprocessor makes the sound better than the software equivalent, and it has noise cancellation too. And I have these other USB sound thing which puts out a 7.1 system THX certified, now that’s innovation…!

  15. Lucien says:

    I’m planning to buy either an EEE PC pre-loaded with Windows Live, a 500GB external H/D and an external soundcard or a regular desktop with a powerful internal soundcard.

    This should go well with my Original Audio CD’s which I’m planning to rip into lossless media and my Shure earphones.

  16. Almi says:

    Using a PCI Soundcard especially those having branded names like SounBlaster having a specs of 24bit would really make a difference. Your like comparing a cheap headset bought in the sidewalk to a BOSS headset. Yes, I agree. You have to consider the price and the practicality of the hardware but what I dont agree is the fact that some people were saying that branded PCI soundcard are a thing of the past and are just the same with the built-in sound system in most motherboard. Guys, get real, Ok!?

  17. wolfdale says:

    there is no such thing as sound quality today with sound cards .It’s like mp3 players , they are all the same .built in sound chips today are the same as external sound cards.the cpu cyrcles thing is a would be more correct to say that a sound card lags the computer due to the pci connection when a stock sound chip is directly on the motherboard. its a waste of space , time , money, energy and speed. The same thing is going to happen soon with cpu and gpu, they are going to be the same thing

  18. Beccer says:

    I’ve been looking for 1 decent sound card review site all bloody day. I need to connect my PC to my amp via optical OR coax for 5.1 over my present stereo setup. Not to mention getting rid of that really annoying humming sound. This my friends is why we still buy sound cards. Reviews have become a mere description usually ripped off the mans. page. I was have been going to Tomshardware since its beginning for advice. NO MORE Tom. You will have to struggle along without me from now on.

  19. popeye says:

    you are comparing the onboard soundcards to consumer sound cards like creative audigy or asus xonar. you are forgetting about the big guns like M-audio delta or tascam pci. on a professional level, a dedicated sound card is essential. sound output is roughly the same if you compare the onboard soundcard with pci soundcards using 2.1 speakers. its the input where you see the big difference. the MIC in of all onboard sound cards are absolutely crap. you can forget its even there. they’re only good for voice chat or voice calls. don’t even consider these for recording. Its too noisy and sometimes have intolerable latency. the line in is tolerable but still would not pass as professional recording quality again because of noise and poor amplification. As there are no other inputs other than the line in and mic in (both of which are not reliable for recording purposes), this is one reason why a dedicated sound card is still necessary. Another thing is MIDI i/o. no built in soundcard has this.

  20. fuji x100 says:

    I most certainly will put this website to my favorite features, it can be good.

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