Contact Us Order Status & Tracking Register & Log In My Cart
Computer Hardware PCs & Barebones Laptops Tablets Electronics Software Tools Deals
Browse Top Categories
Special Offers
Info

Featured Products
Mushkin Ventura Ultra 240GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive, P/N: MKNUFDVU240GB.
Mushkin Ventura Ultra 240GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive, P/N: MKNUFDV...
Only $199.99

LaCie Starck 1TB USB 2.0 3.5in External Desktop Hard Drive, Model: 301888KUA-R. Reconditioned Brown Box
LaCie Starck 1TB USB 2.0 3.5in External Desktop Hard Drive, M...
Only $57.97

Logitech Keyboard Case for iPad 2 Wireless Keyboard, Refurbished. P/N: 920-003402
Logitech Keyboard Case for iPad 2 Wireless Keyboard, Refurbis...
Only $21.99

Home >> Computer Hardware >> Sound, Speakers, MP3 >> Resources - PC Audio >> 

How to Choose a Sound Card?

How to Choose a Sound Card?


By Dr. Michael and Lee Penrod

You are encouraged to make links to this article from your website and tell your friends

The following advice is based on many years of experience. It is provided as a free service to our customers and visitors. However, Directron.com is not responsible for any damage as a result of following any of this advice. You are welcome to distribute these tips free to your friends and associates as long as it's not for commercial purposes.

  • The quality of onboard audio has been dramatically increasing in the past year or so. Many new integrated solutions such as the nVidia nForce/nForce2 chipsets and cheap 5.1 integrated solutions like the C-Media 8738 have taken onboard audio to a level acceptable by many. Most new motherboards now have at least some form of onboard audio. If you are buying a new motherboard you may want to see how you like the onboard audio before purchasing a separate sound card. You may very well find that the onboard sound is more then adequate for your needs.

  • Most computer sound systems are designed for both gamers and music lovers at the same time. An inexpensive sound card of any brand, costing only $10-20, together with an inexpensive pair of speakers, is adequate for most average users.

  • With the advent of DVD, new multimedia software, MP3 audio, and high bandwidth Internet access on the horizon, the reason to have sound on a computer is changing. A realistic surround sound system is a must if you want to watch movies on your computer monitor.

  • For gamers the good news is that the prices of high-end sound cards have been falling like a rock in the past year or so. One popular high end sound card, the SoundBlaster Live used to cost $200 just a year and a half ago and now goes for a small fraction of that. As the Audigy is being replaced with the Audigy II price on them are also dropping.

  • Feedback from our customers and our own testing suggest that the result of high-end speakers with subwoofers does not correlate well with the price of such products.

  • Here is some clarification on many confusing terms used on sound cards. 16-bit vs. 32-bit: These terms refer to the bus structure of a sound card, i.e., the number of bits of information the card can process at one time. An ISA sound card is 16-bit and a PCI sound card is 32-bit. Now, what do AWE64, PCI128 and AW37 mean? These mean the total number of sound waves that can be output at the same time! The SoundBlaster AWE64 sound card is a 16-bit ISA sound card capable of producing 64 sounds at the same time, while the Acer/AOpen AW37 is a 16-bit ISA sound card capable of making 37 sounds at the same time. More confused? OK, the higher the number of sound waves the better.

  • The term 6-Channel audio and 5.1 audio are used interchangeable and mean basically the same thing.

  • If possible use PCI sound cards. ISA is obsolete, and USB can sometimes be more problematic and of lower quality then similar PCI counterparts.
If you find this article useful, please create a link to it from your website or tell a friend about it. If you have any comments or suggestions about this article, please email information@directron.us

| Other "How to Choose" Tips | Microprocessor | Memory | Motherboard | Hard Drive |
| Monitor | Video Card | Sound Card | Network | Case | Power Supply |
| Go to Top | Home | Other Resources |

Copyright 1997-2008 Directron.com/HCCI. All rights reserved
Last Updated: 07/09/03



Customer Feedback through Yahoo!
Join our Newsletter

Shipping Policy Customer Service Payment Policy
  Tracking Orders
  Est. Shipping Cost
  Time-in-Transit Map
  FAQ - Shipping
  Top Reasons for Delays
  UPS, FedEx, Postal Office
  Walk-in Sales
  APO/FPO Orders
  International
 
  Return Rates
  Statistics
  Satisfaction
  Account Applications
  Frequent Errors
  FAQ-Services
  FAQ-Tech Support
  Newsletter
  Order Status
 
  Credit Card via Phone
  Purchase Order
  Prepay, PayPal
  Resellers, VARs
  Corporate/Business
  Educational Government
  Terms & Conditions
  Price & Tax
  FAQ-Payment
 
Directron.NET- Help Desk Directron.ORG - Resources Short Cuts
  Sales Support
  Tech Support
  Knowledge Base
  Customer Service
  Open Forums
  Advanced Search of Help Desk
  How to Choose?
  FAQs, Glossary
  BYO
  Installation
  How to Upgrade?
  Troubleshooting
  Top Sellers
  New Products
  Quiet Computers
  Water Cooling
  Overclocking
  Case Painting
 

Rated 5-Star by Customers thru Yahoo! BBB Online Reliability Program Directron BizRate Ratings Rated 8.38/10 on ResellerRatings Customer Rating & Comments

PNY HP 16GB Hi-Speed Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Flas...
Only $8.48

LTS CMR8273 42 pcs IR LEDs IP66 Weather-proof Aluminum Bulle...
Only $74.99

Beige APC Back-UPS CS Uninterruptible Power Supply BK500, 300...
Only $90.99

Black/Blue Cooler Master Elite 311 ATX Mid-Tower Computer Cas...
Only $36.99

Black/Blue Cooler Master Elite 311 Mid-tower Computer Case, ...
Only $53.99

Logitech M600 Wireless Optical Touch Mouse, Unifying Receiver...
Only $10.99

HP x4000 Butterfly 2.4GHz Wireless Mouse H2F49AA#ABC, 1600 CP...
Only $10.99

*Free Standard Shipping* Dell Latitude 10 ST2E 10.1in IPS Scr...
Only $279.99

Dell Carrying Case for 10in Tablet (Black), Scratch-proof, Po...
Only $12.99

Opti-UPS 575VA/345W Value Series VS-CB 575VA UPS, 3 UPS Outle...
Only $47.99

OPTI-UPS Stabilizer Series 2000 Voltage Regulator, 1000Watts...
Only $32.99

LTS CMR5170 SONY Effio-E DSP Weather-proof Bullet Camera, SON...
Only $89.99

Hanns.G HT231HPBU 23in Multi-Touch Widescreen LED Monitor, 5m...
Only $234.99

Ricoh SP 204SN Monochrome Multifunction Laser Printer, 1200 x...
Only $99.99

Iview 2.5in / 3.5in SATA to USB 3.0 Hard Drive Docking Statio...
Only $29.99

Belkin Play Wireless USB Adapter, up to 300 Mbps, Model: F7D4...
Only $19.89