Realtek ALC889 vs discrete sound for surround sound performance

Discussion in 'Sound Cards and Speakers' started by Simek, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. Simek

    Simek Geek Trainee

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    Hi all,

    I was thinking of adding a discrete audio card - maybe in the $80-$120 range - to my gaming rig. Currently I have the Sabertooth X58 motherboard that uses the Realtek ALC892 audio chipset to drive the analog outputs. The speaker system I use is the Logitech x-540 set. Now I know many people say that these days a sound card is getting less and less important (especially if you're using low-end speakers), but my issue is that I want better surround sound realism. Right now in the multi-channel audio games I play (like Skyrim and Fable III), the surround sound effects like the birds\nature and enemies sneaking up behind me are often very quiet\underappreciated and trying to balance the back speakers with the front ones introduces distortion. Since the front and back speakers are positioned the exact same way and have all the same specifications, I know the speakers are not to blame.

    So in summary, I'm simply asking if buying a discreet audio card will give me better surround sound over using the ALC892 chipset that's built into my motherboard.

    I've also heard that sound cards have a dedicated audio processor and therefore don't need to use the CPU for processing audio (thereby offloading the CPU and giving better performance in games). I'd like to ask if the real-world performance gain by doing this is actually noticeable at all, especially since I'm running a Core i7 950.

    If you do think an audio card would be worth it for me, please recommend me something (I like the look of the Asus cards so far). I need something that's $80-$120, high-quality, and supports 5.1 or 7.1 channel analog outputs.

    Thanks for being patient with me.
  2. Sniper

    Sniper Administrator Staff Member

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    I'd suggest reading up more on "Differences between On Board and a Sound Card", personally I'd stick with onboard! then again I've never owned sound card to see if I could tell the difference.

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