As someone that plays FPS games and uses a headset, how important is a soundcard? Is it worth it? I use a USB soundcard right now just for an optical port, but I've heard PCI soundcards improve the sound a lot.

edit: not getting one

Upvotes | 10

buildapc

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NomNomMeatballBanned
7 Answers

Some soundcards can give you a broader spectrum range. This allows more lows and more highs in tue audio signal and can really improve sound. You'll hear things you didnt hear before in games and some music will sound fuller and have some instruments or sounds otherwise not heard with onboard audio.

If you are using a usb headset this wont help. The usb headsets essentially act as their own sound card. If you need optical out plenty of cards have that as well now.

Upvotes | -2 avatar
nukacolaguy

Probably going to get flailed for this, but they are a waste of money. They're basically a gimmick, lose a lot of the sound quality and have high impedance. Ones onboard on the motherboard are just as good pretty much.

If you want someting to improve sound get a DAC.

If you're using optical plug it in the back. not the front.

Upvotes | 39 avatar
killevery1ne

Hello,

I wouldn't say they're important. The simple onboard audio solution on your motherboard is more than good enough. And $2 vs $200 $2000 sound cards don't make a difference. You're just buying features.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/high-end-pc-audio,3733.html

Upvotes | 6 avatar
annaheim

get the e07k from fiio, look it up, they're cheap and good, there are probably desktop specific dac/amps aswell. Also, get good headphones first. Check out /r/headphones.

Upvotes | -1 avatar
colaturka

Here's a good video from Tek Syndicate explaining on a basic level why sound cards are pretty pointless.

Upvotes | 2 avatar
lawnmower16

If you're using an optical out, the soundcard you're using means absolutely nothing :P. All it's doing is passing the pure digital stream and something else down the line is actually converting the stream into audio.

Upvotes | 1 avatar
randallphoto

you know, i remember years ago certain soundcards had a noticeable effect on gaming FPS (frames per sec). i don't know if that's true anymore and i'm too lazy to run benchmarks with the sound disabled in the BIOS, but maybe if your sound is traveling through the USB that may impact fps vs a pci card

Upvotes | 1 avatar
jcy
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