Naturally, this has hurt the market for sound cards, but there is still a niche for expensive cards that guarantee superior sound quality to integrated alternatives. Is this claim valid, or is it just pricey snake oil? Is a sound card necessary when building a gaming PC? Over the past ten years, as motherboards and processors have gotten smaller and more effective, many functions that used to be separate computer components have been integrated. Many contemporary desktops come from the factory without even one PCI card.
Sound cards are one of the formerly discrete components that are now a part of the typical PC’s motherboard. Naturally, this has hurt the market for sound cards, but there is still a niche for expensive cards that guarantee superior sound quality to integrated alternatives. Is this claim valid, or is it just pricey snake oil?
Why Would You Need a Sound Card?
A sound card’s apparent purpose is to generate sound. Why hardware is required for the task needs to be clarified. After all, Audio seems straightforward; why give hardware processing any thought? The task could be more straightforward, even though the Audio is less complicated than the video because there is less information to process. Offloading Audio to a dedicated chip is preferable because it can use some processor cycles. Is a sound card necessary when building a gaming PC?
Nowadays, most motherboards come with a chip, but the ones found on dedicated sound cards are typically stronger. Hardware that supports features like virtual surround sound, a pre-amp, or specialized Audio formats may also be in a more sophisticated audio chip. Additionally, sound cards are in charge of increasing audio output. No matter the onboard audio configuration, almost all motherboards only provide 5.1 audio through conventional 3.5mm jacks. Some people can’t even do that. Software options are also frequently constrained, giving users few options for customizing audio output to their preferences. A sound card is typically necessary to enable 7.1 audio and typical home theater outputs like S/PDIF on a PC.
Does A Sound Card produce Better Audio?
Because audio quality is mainly subjective, evaluating it can be challenging. Standards exist, but most reviewers need more specialized tools manufacturers to use to calibrate expensive audio hardware. Blind comparison tests are typically needed to find the difference. Is a sound card necessary when building a gaming PC?
Fortunately, The Tech Report is one of the few websites that still do this. Over the past few years, they have reviewed several discrete sound cards, most recently focusing on the affordable ASUS Xonar cards. They evaluate the quality using a combination of hardware testing and blind listening tests, and they frequently discover that discrete cards are superior to integrated Audio.
Should A PC Gamer Purchase A Sound Card, Then?
If game audio quality is your only concern, the answer is no. It will be difficult to tell the difference, and some games don’t output Audio well enough to make the hardware necessary. Only so many audio sequences last long enough for the player to enjoy because video games primarily emphasize visuals. You would be better off investing your money in another serious gaming accessory. Surround sound is one feature that might make a sound card practical. Even with a headset intended to provide excellent surround, some integrated Audio chips need to handle it better, which can result in sound that seems flat or poorly staged. For the best outcomes in this scenario, a sound card is required. Is a sound card necessary when building a gaming PC?
Those who frequently watch movies or listen to music should pay particular attention to sound cards. In these circumstances, a difference in quality is more prominent, and since the source material is frequently reasonably good or even great, superior gear will stand out. Some customers could also want to connect a more powerful subwoofer or a premium 7.1 system, hardware that most motherboard audio can’t accommodate.
Is a sound card necessary when building a gaming PC? There are numerous justifications for not using a sound card. Like with anything, there are compelling reasons to acquire one as well. According to my experience, several cards may have EQ characteristics and motherboard audio components that differ from one another. You may continue with the default EQ of a Sound Blaster because you prefer the additional bassy sound it produces. Every action is never right or wrong. Next, audiophiles will continue to assert their superior knowledge. It doesn’t imply that you should agree with what they say.