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  1. Member
    Join Date: Sep 2006
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    I'm building a new computer, and the mobo is a Gigabyte B85M-D3H. I'm going to be using an EVGA nVidia 750 GTX Ti FTW (2GB) graphics card, but the focus of this thread is what I'm going to do in regards to sound output. Typically I avoid using onboard audio & video chipsets, but in this case the onboard does have HDMI-out, (as does the video card, though with my current monitor I'll be using DVI), so maybe the onboard sound chipset doesn't suck like mobos of days gone by. If I add a soundcard, I'd be using my existing Audigy II PCI card. I also have a couple SB Live! PCI cards. The onboard sound chipset is realtek, and in my experience realtek hardware has been complete garbage.

    So which should I go with, the onboard realtek sound chips, or my trusty Creative sound card(s)?
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  2. Member
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    Originally Posted by Startropic1 View Post
    If I add a soundcard, I'd be using my existing Audigy II PCI card. I also have a couple SB Live! PCI cards. The onboard sound chipset is realtek, and in my experience realtek hardware has been complete garbage.

    So which should I go with, the onboard realtek sound chips, or my trusty Creative sound card(s)?
    Since you've got all the parts, try both. Please post back with your results.
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  3. It's generally not the audio chipset on the motherboard that's the problem. It's the analog audio circuitry on the motherboard. It's hard to isolate the analog section well enough to keep noise from the digital motherboard entering the analog section.
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    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    It's generally not the audio chipset on the motherboard that's the problem. It's the analog audio circuitry on the motherboard. It's hard to isolate the analog section well enough to keep noise from the digital motherboard entering the analog section.
    Just to clarify, when I said the realtek hardware I've used was generally garbage, I wasn't referring to their mobo sound chipsets. I've had various NIC cards and other controller cards made by them that were trash. I've generally avoided their products since.
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  5. The cards were still inside the computer case -- full of noise. The same analog issues apply.
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  6. Member turk690's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Startropic1 View Post
    So which should I go with, the onboard realtek sound chips, or my trusty Creative sound card(s)?
    Try the onboard sound first. Realtek has made great strides over the years with regards to their sound chipsets. A current popular one is the ALC889, which feature specs that wouldn't be out of place in an audiophile scenario. Motherboard manufacturers have touted the advanced audio features of their recent offerings, but I suspect that they like to use the ALC889, not only because of its excellent specs, but because it is cheap (single digit dollar figure, in a recent review comparing sound cards at tomshardware).
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  7. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    I prefer creative sound cards due to the midi sound files sounding much better than onboard sound software midi.
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  8. Member turk690's Avatar
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    Stop feeling suicidal just because he unfriended you on fezbuk.
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  9. Member
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    I have an old 785G motherboard with Realtek ALC889 audio and a new B85 motheboard with Realtek ALC892 audio. The specs on the ALC889 are indeed slightly better overall, as mentioned in the article in post #8. Both have been fine for a TV's 10W speakers and typical 2.1 channel PC speakers. I never tried them with good headphones, surround speakers or higher quality speakers. Everything I have read about PC audio indicates that discrete sound cards are usually better. ...but if you want to save an expansion slot, then you might as well test your new onboard audio and see what you think.
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  10. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    In many ways, external A->D/D->A converters are even better (though also more $$) than sound CARDS, because then the analog circuitry is further isolated from the high-noise-generating Mobo/PC internal digital circuitry. These can be: USB, Firewire, Thunderbolt, etc. connections, which are all digital to and from the PC. Also, can further allow for sample clock genlocking to a higher performance master source.

    Scott
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  11. Member Krispy Kritter's Avatar
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    What OS are you running? How will the audio be output?

    If Win7 or newer, it will boil down to which card actually works properly. The older Creative chipsets (Audigy, Live, etc.) don't have proper Win7 driver support. The same applies to some of the older Realtek chipsets.

    And if you use a digital output, it won't matter which you use.
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  12. Member
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    The OP's socket 1150 motherboard can't be used with Windows XP or Vista (no Intel drivers), so if any of his old sound cards don't have proper drivers for newer versions of Windows, he can't use them. The Realtek ALC892 audio on the OP's new Gigabyte B85M-D3H motherboard will be just fine with Windows 7 or Windows 8.X.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 15th Aug 2014 at 00:56. Reason: correction, no Intel drivers & fixed grammatical errors
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  13. If your system and HW is supported by KX Drivers http://www.hardwareheaven.com/community/forums/kx-project-audio-driver-support-forum.67/ then choice is simple. Issue with on-board cards is not only due of series compromises but also due usually poor drivers - they provide basic functionality sometimes in stable sometimes in not stable way and that's all.
    Whenever it is possible i use personally separate card than integrated - and always you can use 2 audio boards at the same time - good if they are used for different things not only to listen mp3).
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  14. Member fritzi93's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by turk690 View Post
    Originally Posted by Startropic1 View Post
    So which should I go with, the onboard realtek sound chips, or my trusty Creative sound card(s)?
    Try the onboard sound first. Realtek has made great strides over the years with regards to their sound chipsets. A current popular one is the ALC889, which feature specs that wouldn't be out of place in an audiophile scenario. Motherboard manufacturers have touted the advanced audio features of their recent offerings, but I suspect that they like to use the ALC889, not only because of its excellent specs, but because it is cheap (single digit dollar figure, in a recent review comparing sound cards at tomshardware).
    Yes, try it first. You might be surprised.

    (My HTPC has the ALC892 onboard. Output routed through the 5.1 receiver in our HT.)
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  15. Windows installs only minimal drivers for Realtek audio chips. Download full drivers from Realtek and install them.
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