View Full Version : how good is built in audio?

jan tanjo
02-26-2002, 12:00 PM
I know that this is a very difficult question to answer without knowing the nitty gritty, but generally, what is the performance hit on a system when you have the built in audio features enabled (5.1 sound). Is it 10%, 50%. Is there a way I can figure it out without using the system.

This is a P4 with a gig of RAM

Yours without wax

02-26-2002, 12:58 PM
It's nowhere near 10%...On a P4 system (you don't mention what speed, but it shouldn't matter) you would probably not notice ANY difference between using built-in or a separate sound card...

Generally, you want to avoid built-in components because in addition to possible resource overhead, you then usually lose PCI slots and if some great new technology comes out, you end up disabling the onboard stuff and replacing it.

However, I recently bought a mobo w/built in sound and NIC...not only does the sound card offer more features than most normal sound cards (6 channel, optical inputs) but even with the sound and NIC built in, I have 1 AGP and 6 PCI slots and the board is among the fastest with the KT266A chipset...

So, basically it depends on the situation, and I would NEVER get a board with built-in video, but unless you run a recording studio, I wouldn't shy away from a feature-rich onboard sound card...

When all else fails, read the instructions.

Microsoft Knowledge Base (http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=fh;rid;kbinfo)

Google (http://www.google.com)

02-26-2002, 04:12 PM
From what I have been seeing recently onboard sound is getting much better...and like hired said some of the offerings in onboard are just dripping with quality features.

On my older, slower Celeron machine, yes there is a noticeable difference, but it is not too bad, and I think that once you get close to the 1GHz range you aren't going to really notice it at all ( the processor under most circumstances is spending a large portion of its time waiting for something to do anyway...)

Links list:Computer Links (http://www.dreamwater.org/tech/mjc/index.htm)

Celts are the men that heaven made mad, For all their battles are merry and their songs are all sad.

[This message has been edited by mjc (edited 02-26-2002).]

jan tanjo
02-27-2002, 11:00 AM
Thanks people.

I agree, under normal condition I would NEVER...EVER get a mobo with anything built in but this is a special situation.

Yours without wax

03-15-2002, 07:00 AM
Thou you do not say so, the only Mobos I know of with built in 5.1DD sound are those built around the Nvidia Nforce chipset. From the benchmarks I have seen the built in audio on the boards which use the Nivida sound have about the best available sound at a very low cost (2-5%) of CPU usage. I have just built up a system around the ASUS A7N266E board, onboard 5.1Dolby Digital sound and GF2 Mx video. This will keep all but most hardcore gamers happy. I installed and played American Magees Alice on this system the other night it ran smooth as silk. The quality of sound is good enough that I think the teenager will now use this system rather the then my Athlon/ GF2 GTS system. No matter how high of quality the sound I am still not liking most of what he playes!

(1Ghz Duron/ASUS A7N266/256MB 2100DDR)

03-16-2002, 03:57 AM
Yes, onboard sound eats up slightly more CPU cycles than a separate sound card, but again you won't notice a darn thing on a P4, with a gig of RAM besides!

Technically, even a separate sound card utilises the CPU, which is why most QuakeIII and graphics benchmarks are run with the sound disabled by convention, but when the difference between sound and no sound is 5 frames per second out of 150-200+ (standard P4 performance), your monitor is even incapable of that kind of precision. And let's face it, no gamer would ever play games without sound, it's suicidal!!

On the general topic of onboard sound quality, I actually used to play games on a P166 MMX with onboard sound (worse than '97 codec) and I found the sound quality to be perfectly acceptable with fewer than 4 'voices' simultaneously; and that was on a cheap JBL Pro 2-speaker set-up! My new onboard sound on my Asus A7V266-E (KT266A board) is quite excellent and I have yet to hear the limit on the number of simultaneous voices it can produce. While I would like to upgrade to an Audigy-based card, I also plan to upgrade to XP, which is known to have a few Audigy problems...

It's mainly for this type of compatibility problem that most PC's have onboard sound. I'm not really a sound freak myself, so I can't say if the extra quality is worth it (I personally can't tell the everyday difference), but I'm sticking with onboard for now.

03-17-2002, 01:41 AM
quite frankly when i bought/installed the k7s5a board, i thought ( and still do ) that the onboard AC97 2.2 codec sound is quite decent. However, i'm a big turtle beach fan from way back, so i went ahead and installed my santa cruz ( whoop any creative! card's butt any day! http://www.PCGuide.com/ubb/tongue.gif ) because it does provide a better sound w/my BOSE speaker setup.

I like to hear the whimpers of my frag victims http://www.PCGuide.com/ubb/biggrin.gif ( not too mention their footsteps as they try to sneak up on me ).

But, for just every day use, onboard sound is quite acceptable IMHO.


"It is by the fortune of God that, in this country, we have three benefits: freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and the wisdom never to use either."
-Mark Twain { Samuel Clemen's }

[This message has been edited by iisbob (edited 03-17-2002).]

03-17-2002, 04:46 PM
i like onboard sound the only problem between my regular card and the onboard is on my card i got bass/treble controls which is a must for me. the on board doesnt have this option its locked out. i run a MSI k7t266 pro mobo is there a patch or something to enable my treble and bass controls if so ill use my onboard more it has better sound quality

03-18-2002, 07:53 AM
Thou you do not say so, the only Mobos I know of with built in 5.1DD sound are those built around the Nvidia Nforce chipset. The SiS 645 chip set also has built in 5.1 sound. I recently bought the Soyo P4S Dragon Ultra the sound on this board is better than my SB Audigy MP3 in my other system.And with a fast P4 and 1GB of RAM you won't see any decrease in performance.

I think Windows XP and Microsoft use more of my bandwidth than I do!
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