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  • Cheap Sound Card Suggestions

    All,

    Moved back from a USB headset to a non-USB headset (Altec Lansing 515) and noticed choppiness, etc. with the onboard audio (AC97). I have an old 2.1 speaker system that is rarely used as the headset is used almost exclusively. I'm trying to decide which of these two sound cards would be better...

    Chaintech AV512 5.1 which appears to offer pretty much everything I need and gets decent reviews
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16829120102

    or

    Soundblaster Live 24-bit 7.1 which seems pretty solid as well and also gets good reviews. SB has always been solid.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16829102176

    Yeah, I know at this point I really don't need the 5.1 OR 7.1 functionality because of my speakers so I am more interested in quality at this point.

    I can get both locally and the big difference is price, the AV512 is $15 while the SB is $30. Is there enough of difference to justify paying twice as much?

  • #2
    Re: Cheap Sound Card Suggestions

    Well, Micro Center made my decision for me. They were only place with a sound card less than $30 and when I called they said they had an AV512 in but no SB but when I got there it was the exact opposite, no AV512 and one SB. They had a couple of other cards for $30 but they weren't as well known as SB.

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    • #3
      Re: Cheap Sound Card Suggestions

      You did say cheap, but I just wanted to mention that the new SB X-Fi sound cards would be the best for your headsets. The new chipset is specially designed to work with headsets. Reviewers say if you play on a headset most of the time, this is the sound card to get.
      Telorn

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      • #4
        Re: Cheap Sound Card Suggestions

        Thanks for the info Telorn. I may look at upgrading to the next level later in the year but what I needed for now was just something a step up from onboard to get me through. :) I'm hoping I see better quality from the SB Live as compared to the AC97 onboard audio I used last night with the new headset.

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        • #5
          Re: Cheap Sound Card Suggestions

          The SB Live 24bit will be marginally better than the AC97... but it has its shortcomings. It's not a "real" SoundBlaster like the Audigy cards and the older SB Live! cards. This is the card I would have gone for.
          Battlefield Admin() ()
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          • #6
            Re: Cheap Sound Card Suggestions

            I'll keep that in mind perry. I basically wanted something I could grab local and install in preparation for playing tonight to see if there is any improvement. If there isn't much with the SB Live I'll just return it and order online.

            I'm not a huge audiophile so as long as I can hear decent in-game I don't need all of the bells and whistles. In fact, the main reason I'm upgrading from onboard audio is because AC97 audio doesn't play well with TS and games with in-game VOIP. I did notice some choppiness with the AC97 audio last night. If the SB Live resolves that issue and improves the quality a little that's all I'm really asking for. If not, I'll look for something within $10 more.

            Not that I wouldn't LOVE to have an X-Fi card, I just can't justify dropping $100+ for a sound card right now.

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            • #7
              Re: Cheap Sound Card Suggestions

              The SB Live 24bit may not be any better w/ TS + VOIP... It does not support hardware mixing, which I believe is also the problem with the AC97 junk.
              Battlefield Admin() ()
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              • #8
                Re: Cheap Sound Card Suggestions

                Ah, if that's the case it will be going back soon. :)

                Do any of the other $29.99 cards at Micro Center support hardware mixing (link below)? I'm just not that familar with sound card stuff because I've always used either onboard audio or a USB headset.

                http://www.microcenter.com/search_re...product.retail

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                • #9
                  Re: Cheap Sound Card Suggestions

                  I use onboard AC97 codec and use teamspeak and in game voice together just dandaay

                  As far as I can tell the only reason to even use a non onboard card anymore is if you have a 5.1 setup, need special inputs/outputs, or.. well I don't even know.

                  Songs and movies (if you don't have the 5.1 or > speakers) sound the same. AC97 is a good codec.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Cheap Sound Card Suggestions

                    I think how well AC97 works depends on what chipset your MB has. The little research I've done shows widely varying results with onboard audio.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Cheap Sound Card Suggestions

                      The advantage to a seperate sound card is it uses less CPU time, especially the X-Fi series. On board options require the CPU for all operations.
                      Telorn

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                      • #12
                        Re: Cheap Sound Card Suggestions

                        Originally posted by Telorn
                        The advantage to a seperate sound card is it uses less CPU time, especially the X-Fi series. On board options require the CPU for all operations.
                        Exactly, which is why I'm thinking switching to a card will probably resolve the choppiness. Researched a bit regarding Teamspeak and it looks like if you do run into problems with it and BF2 VOIP you can switch TS to Wave mode and it seems to take care of the problems.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Cheap Sound Card Suggestions

                          Originally posted by Bhack
                          I use onboard AC97 codec and use teamspeak and in game voice together just dandaay
                          How? Mine refuses to work. If I'm on TS/Ventrilo, the ingame VOIP (on the send side, not receive) doesn't work. Then again, I last tried that on Win2k and upgraded to XP over the weekend. Maybe now it'll work?

                          Anyway, can anyone out there that has one or both of these cards give me a fair appraisal?

                          http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16829102188

                          http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16829102178
                          [squadl]
                          "I am the prettiest african-american, vietnamese..cong..person." -SugarNCamo

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                          • #14
                            Re: Cheap Sound Card Suggestions

                            wildcat has the xfi card, ill direct him to here for you
                            that sounds like a good idea trooper.
                            -Vulcan

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                            • #15
                              Re: Cheap Sound Card Suggestions

                              That's an easy answer, Smoker, the X-Fi! Audigy is soooo last generation ;) And for $20 more, why the hell not? X-Fi has more audio channels, better fidelity, awesome headphone support, and it uses MUCH less CPU resources than the Audigy. No comparison. Get the X-Fi.
                              Telorn

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