Depends on what you are doing. If you are using digital out then having a sound card is pointless. If you use the soundcard as a DAC like I do for my two channel audio, then it is incredibly important. Your audio setup is only as good as the weakest link in the chain. If the weakest link is your soundcard it is important. If you are playing your audio through some $10 PC speakers then it's clear that it is not the weakest link in the chain and it is unimportant until it becomes the weakest link.