Stick with on board audio or buy a PCIe audio card for superior sound performance?

the doctor

New member
I just built my 1st Computer system and I am contemplating whether or not it may be beneficial to buy a quality sound card. Even though I'd not really consider my self a complete audiophile, I do take audio rather seriously. Half of my audio files happen to be FLAC encoded format (all others is mostly very high encoded mp3) and I also currently have my computer system connected to 5.1 Klipsch sound system, that happens to be quite amazing. Which means there's not a significant quality of sound reduction in between my encodings and audio speakers. I use my machine for 4 things...playing tunes, playing on-line games, watching television shows (avi & mkv typically) and basic www browsing.

And so the real question is:
Can I obtain a noticeable distinction in sound quality intended for music files, games and flicks if I purchasing a decent PCI/PCI-e audio card?

I recognize that if this was five or ten years earlier the answer would unquestionably have been a to get one. But I tend to be getting mixed messages nowadays.

New Computer System:
MB - Asus M4A87TD
CPU - AMD Phenom II x1090t
Graphics - EVGA GeForce GTX 590 x2
RAM - OCZ 4 GB DDR3 1600mhz
HDD- Western Digital Caviar Black 4 GB, OCZ Vertex 2 120 GB x2
Power - 750W

As well, if a member feels I should buy a sound card, what might be some first rate recommendations.Perhaps not top of the range nevertheless I am willing to fork out close to $100 if this brings a respectable enhancement.

Beware Beware Enthusiast
Go with on board sound or PCI sound card?

Since that's a more recent system board I wouldn't be worried about obtaining a audio card. I am using a audio card from '06 right now and that i don't hear a noticeable change from my on board to the PCI audio card. However, I use 2.1 speaker system, they're 40w, maybe they are not good enough to see a difference. Save your hard earned cash to spend on a computer component that will improve you computer performance, or better yet, buy $100 worth of Noctua low noise cooling fans and improve you audio by removing the sound from noisy cheap fans.


New member
Go with on board sound or PCI sound card?

The only real purpose I've got a PCI sound card, is the fact that I enjoy retro games that require a Soundblaster Compatible audio card. The older cards all have MIDI ports, however you are able to just purchase a stand alone PCI MIDI I/O card if you need one.

You don't really need one but if you are trying to get a higher frame rate out of you video games, it could help you to buy a card.

The Assassin

New member
The only reasons you will want to go with PCI sound card to to gain every ounce of performance out of your system or you need other function you on board card isn't giving you. If you not a hardcore gamer, stick with the on-board audio!