View Full Version : Should I use a Soundcard or onboard audio?

16th December 2008, 22:37
My main PC uses an Asus A8N-SLI Premium motherboard which has built in audio using a Realtek ALC850 codec. I've had no complaints about the quality of the audio when listening to music or other things. However I can normally hear some audio interference during games, especially if using headphones.

I think this is PSU based interference because the system needs to draw a lot more power during gaming for the graphics card at the same time as quite intensive processing and ram access. You can hear the HD access via interference through headphones for example. But this isn't the case with audio when not playing games. I can listen to audio perfectly without any interference while working.

I've got a spare Creative Audigy 1 soundcard. It is currently in a system I still use, but that system is by local test server, so it doesn't need to have good audio, just be able to make a noise for alerts and stuff, and it has onboard audio for that.

But the question is, will switching to using the Audigy 1 in the system fix the interference problem? Or is it going to continue due to some grounding issue in the case and hardware somewhere?

My other thinking is that the Audigy will also free up some of the main CPU processing time as it won't have to be running the onboard audio.

So should I disable the onboard audio and install the Audigy 1 soundcard? Or stick with the onboard sound and try to fix the interference?

17th December 2008, 10:01
The Audigy will give you better sound quality and less cpu charge, garanteed!

17th December 2008, 10:44
That's what I was thinking. I had actually forgotten I had the Audigy in one of my older PCs. If I had remember I probably would have installed it when I built this PC a couple of years ago. Then the other day I suddenly remembered it was in there and a lightbulb lit up. :)

I will try and move it to the newer system when I get time.

I've heard on some forums that you can install Audigy 2 drivers for an Audigy 1 sound card to get better sound quality and more features. Has anyone heard anything about this? Is it true?

17th December 2008, 10:48
It happens with be before, putting a sound card improved sound quality, RCA connecters are usually better, and some sound interference i had that was over.
But i think the sound card will get you more resources from the system (memory?).
But sound is better, and if you use a digital sound card output, that's a great improvement.

17th December 2008, 11:00
The motherboard's onboard soundcard also has 8.1 + digital outputs so it is quite well featured, which was why I stuck with that until now.

However you are right about the resources. Using a soundcard should free some system ram, although the card being on the PCI bus will obviously then use some itself, and also as this system has 3GB of ram I doubt the different will be noticed. But I am sure the sound quality will be improved once I make the switch, which is the main reason. Also it should reduce the load on the motherboard in games, which might squeeze a few more FPS out of the graphics card. :)

31st December 2008, 01:42
I finally had time to remove the Audigy from the other system and install in into my main PC. First I uninstalled the on-board drivers, then disabled the on-board audio from the BIOS, then installed the Audigy into the bottom PCI slot and finally rebooted and installed the SB Audigy drivers.

This all seemed to go well, and on a finally reboot I had audio and all seemed to be working correctly. However the network connection was showing as connected, but there wasn't actually any network connection working. Doing a commandling ipconfig returned nothing at all, so the PC wasn't even on the network! Instantly I thought the Audigy was conflicting with the motherboards 2 network ports. I first tried to disable the Audigy firewire network drivers and rebooted, but no change. Then I found a webpage that listed common XP network problems, and said that often resetting the TCP/IP stack fixes such problems, so I tried it and it worked. :)

If anyone else finds their system seems to be connected to the network, but it can't see or connect to anything then try the following command from a commandline window.

Enter: netsh int ip reset resetlog.txt

And if that doesn't work google winsock fix and download the fix and run it.

31st December 2008, 02:36
A very nice bonus I just realised about the Audigy (that for some reason I never thought about before) is that it has a digital out, and the Akai hifi I have my PC connected to has a receiver with two digital inputs (that I've never used as I have my other equipment connected via optical to my Sony reciever).

So I thought I would give it a try. And it worked using the same cable I had been using for analogue audio. ;) I moved the 3.5" jack from the analogue output of the card, and plugged it into the digital out. Then I disconnected the two phono conenctors from the other end of the cable from the receiver and connected the red (right-hand one) into one of the digital inputs on the reciever and it worked! Sounds really good.

So glad I installed the Audigy card now. Audio now being output via digital to the reciever means no interference at all and much better sound quality. :D