As compared to not having one at all
Do you have anything to back this up that isn't entirely subjective? There are plenty of sound cards out there with VERY good DACs, so I'm genuinely curious about what makes your DAC so magical as to be able to make such generalized declarations.Aside from that, no soundcard (onboard or PCI/PCI-e) holds a candle to my external DACs for sound quality.
The extra depth, detail and imaging is another realm, not a close contest.
My experience confirmed by colleagues, friends, family and fellow audiophiles.Do you have anything to back this up that isn't entirely subjective? There are plenty of sound cards out there with VERY good DACs, so I'm genuinely curious about what makes your DAC so magical as to be able to make such generalized declarations.
One thing to take into consideration is also that integrated sound chips hog the cpu more than dedicated gaming cards.
Games that use Miles Sound or Creative Alchemy still have hardware acceleration. Also the built in sounds are often linked directly to the chipset and system ram, causing interrupts to the CPU/Ram subsystem which basically make all your cores wait in idle while the sound is processed. Or so I've been told at least.I don't think that is true anymore because Microsoft changed so the sound API since Vista. I use my XFi_Xtrememusic and can't say it is better than the sound on my mb, I just use it because I already had it since XP days when sound hardware acceleration mattered. It sounds a bit different only because of its processing features.
Not so long ago I had an argument with a game developer about this subject and he claimed Miles still offers hw acceleration and direct3d support. Dunno.I know about Alchemy and have it installed but is only useful in very old games and as for Miles I just read this.
"Miles also contains our Bink Audio decoder plug-in. Bink Audio is close to MP3 and Ogg in compression size, but uses around 30% less CPU than either, and with far less memory! We expect most customers to use this format - it's perfect for games! This is the same audio codec that we've had available in Bink for many years. Thousands of games have used it, and now its included in Miles!"
Sounds like the performance benefit is a feature of the software and not your hardware.
It's more complicated than that. Again, I'm not an expert on the subject but a game developer told me that an integrated sound card will access cpu and system ram differently from a pci or pci-e sound card. It will cause interrupts to the memory subsystem and this will lag down the cpu regardless of the amount of cores it has. The CPU cores share a common pipe to ram and this becomes a bottleneck.Yeah but that is going to be such an insignificant amount that it really doesn't matter. That is if you have a CPU that isn't 10+ years old.
Oh gods... I was stuck with one of those for a while. Utterly sucked due to the blasted driver that had to remain in memory at all times. Had a rather hard time getting everything shuffled around for enough low memory for some games.My first soundcard was a ProAudio Spectrum. My first PC came with no soundcard so bought a cdrom/soundcard kit and that is what the soundcard was. Came with Civilization too - Bonus.
Oh gods... I was stuck with one of those for a while. Utterly sucked due to the blasted driver that had to remain in memory at all times. Had a rather hard time getting everything shuffled around for enough low memory for some games.
My experience confirmed by colleagues, friends, family and fellow audiophiles.
I used to have an Auzentech Prelude which was a great sound card but its nowhere close to my DACs.
One reason I bought the Asus Z170 Maximus motherboard is because it has a cheaper version of the DAC chip (ESS Sabre 9023p 24bit) used in my main DACs (ESS Sabre32 Reference 9018s 32bit).
I wanted to see how it compared.
Its definitely an improvement on PC soundcards but not close to the detail and imaging of my external DACs.
My DACs are
Stereo - Eastern Electric Minimax Tube Plus (Tube removed, makes the solid state section exceptional).
Eastern Electric Tube DAC Plus Digital-to-Analog Converter
EASTERN ELECTRIC TUBE DAC PLUS REVIEW
7.1 - Oppo 105D.
Oppo Digital BDP-105D Blu-ray/SACD player Darbee Edition Review
Oppo BDP-105 Blu-ray Player Review: The Universal Audiophile Dream Machine? (older version, the D is slightly better)
The sound of the Minimax Plus and Oppo 105D are very similar but the Minimax has the edge on detail and imaging.
Thats not to say the Oppo suffers, its phenomenal. It additionally plays 7.1 via HDMI or direct playback and 384KHz stereo media via PC USB, has a 32bit volume control, BD Player, USB drive input and a decent headphone amp.
They are both a world apart from PC sound cards.
It hasnt mattered for years.
CPUs breeze through the processing with barely any impact.
The level of processing hasnt changed and is so low, CPUs and memory are now incredibly fast in comparison.
My E8400 was fine with a soundcard or onboard, I didnt notice a change in framerate or any stutters caused by either.
I ended up just doing a bunch of trial and error. I also had a multi-config boot floppy, was easier than mucking around with the config set for windows (3.1) on C. Though it's too bad I didn't have anything like cutemouse at the time, that uses a bunch less memory.Yea, memory management was a chore in Dos for sure. But a friend bought a book on memory management so I read it, he never even read it, and I got pretty good at it so was able to run any game. I had a multi-config with about 6 differnet configs and for games that came on floppy I would have a config with no cdrom driver loading, etc. The trick was the order you loaded the drivers so that you didn't shortchange a driver on memory at the bottom of the stack.
I ended up just doing a bunch of trial and error. I also had a multi-config boot floppy, was easier than mucking around with the config set for windows (3.1) on C. Though it's too bad I didn't have anything like cutemouse at the time, that uses a bunch less memory.
I do remember getting dos 6.22 at one point. I carefully backed up my hand-tweaked configs and ran memmaker. It rather screwed things up to basically no surprise.
the SB Recon 3Di on my Gigabyte Z170x gaming 7 is really quite nice sounding. Some of these new mobos have very good onboard sound.
Agree here. I thought internal sound cards were about as good as it gets but then I upgraded from my SB X-Fi Titanium to a Schiit stack (Bifrost/Asgard) - if you have headphones that are worth a damn the difference is night and day.Sound card was nice (I still have a PC using an STX w/V5s) but the biggest upgrade was going Schiit Bifrost/Asgard2 and HE-400i's. If you've got cash, that's a wonderful way to blow it. Use optical out from your PC.
Agree here. I thought internal sound cards were about as good as it gets but then I upgraded from my SB X-Fi Titanium to a Schiit stack (Bifrost/Asgard) - if you have headphones that are worth a damn the difference is night and day.