Audigy vs. Onboard Realtek HD Audio -- which is better?

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Audigy vs. Onboard Realtek HD Audio -- which is better?

Postby McMick » 2012-2-02 @ 22:51

I have some sort of audigy card, SB0090, that came with a front-panel thing with all kinds of gold-plated plugins and things, including firewire. The audigy itself has gold plated hardware all over it. Very blingy.

My question is, does it do anything for me that my onboard Realtek HD Audio doesn't? I use 3DSoundback from Realtek to enable EAX on older games.
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Re: Audigy vs. Onboard Realtek HD Audio -- which is better?

Postby luckybob » 2012-2-02 @ 22:57

The general rule of thumb is, NEVER use onboard audio. it is ALWAYS inferior to a dedicated card. Now the ones made in the last few years (core 2 duo and newer) are acceptable. You have the original Audigy chip. they were good boards.

That being said, I always use my add-on card for music and gaming. and I leave the onboard turned on for skype and other online chat.
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Re: Audigy vs. Onboard Realtek HD Audio -- which is better?

Postby keropi » 2012-2-02 @ 23:02

yeah I feel the same about onboard audio too... in my current i7 setup I use a pci-e X-FI from auzentech, before that a normal pci x-fi and even before a live! ... never stuck to onboard except from office use.
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Re: Audigy vs. Onboard Realtek HD Audio -- which is better?

Postby Zup » 2012-2-02 @ 23:17

luckybob wrote:The general rule of thumb is, NEVER use onboard audio. it is ALWAYS inferior to a dedicated card.


With some exceptions. Cheap sound cards often are based on CMI8738... which has been mounted in a lot of sound cards. Maybe the amplifiers are better, but...

Thinking about that, I'm using a Asus Xonar DS, based con CMI8788 (rebranded to AV200 in my card). Seems that CMI knows how to make a good sound chip... but most manufacturers choose the cheap one.

luckybob wrote:That being said, I always use my add-on card for music and gaming. and I leave the onboard turned on for skype and other online chat.


I use my sound card for both functions and left the onboard sound disable. Normally I use my speakers, but when I need to chat I connect a headset to the front panel.

Also, I had a PS2 headset (from SOCOM game) connected via USB. That headset was actually a great chatting hardware. The mic didn't catch background noise but the voice was captured OK, and being a lightweight monoaural headset, you could hear sound from the speakers.

Some friends use the sound card for gaming, and bluetooth mini headsets for chat. They're great to supress unwanted background noise, but can exhaust the battery with a bad sense of timing.
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Re: Audigy vs. Onboard Realtek HD Audio -- which is better?

Postby McMick » 2012-2-02 @ 23:21

This is my onboard audio chip, ALC889: http://www.realtek.com/products/product ... ProdID=173

So the audigy has better specs that that? I find that hard to accept. The audigy is 12 years old!
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Re: Audigy vs. Onboard Realtek HD Audio -- which is better?

Postby leileilol » 2012-2-03 @ 00:05

I prefer ALC888 over any PCI Creative card...
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Re: Audigy vs. Onboard Realtek HD Audio -- which is better?

Postby SquallStrife » 2012-2-03 @ 00:11

The onboard sound on recent chipsets like X58 and Z68 is actually very good.

Onboard sound has a bit of a stigma, and rightly so, but it's tonnes better now than it used to be.
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Re: Audigy vs. Onboard Realtek HD Audio -- which is better?

Postby RogueTrip2012 » 2012-2-03 @ 00:50

Are you using optical output on the onboard? If so your fine.

I can only say there is a multitude of reasons to run a discrete soundcard.

Here are a few.

Most OB sound is not Hardware Accelerated like higher add-in cards. (dunno if you audigy falls in this category)

OB soundcards usually produce audible hiss/pops in speakers. I had a A8N32-SLI with HD-Audio that hissed with system activity. I Finally solved it by removing the PC Speaker!! Same thing happens with my ASUS M3A78-T motherboard but not resolved by same method. My X-Fi sure fixed the problem though!!

EAX support can be limited/broken

Some discrete can actually boost amplification on headphones making them sound better! My X-Fi does in this case.

DAC's are almost always better with discrete add-ins. Yet Optical does not always improve anything as there is less processing.



Now this depends on which Audigy you got. SB did market some cards which are non Hardware Accelerated. Even re marketed the Sb live chipset in some of the Audigy line. IIRC the mp3 and gamer half-height cards are usually suspect for this.
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Re: Audigy vs. Onboard Realtek HD Audio -- which is better?

Postby SquallStrife » 2012-2-03 @ 01:07

Those factors have all been addressed over time. A8N32 is very old board. (Well, in the context of this forum, not that old... :P)

They still use the CPU for some operations, but it's less than 1% on a modern system with a multi-core CPU. Hardly an issue.

EAX support is moot looking forward, it's been deprecated in favour of OpenAL, which is supported by most onboard audio chips.

Edit: So of course, the choice would depend on what system the OP wants to get audio from. A brand new computer today, or an older machine. A brand new computer I wouldn't bother adding sound to for most purposes. An older one, I definitely would.
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Re: Audigy vs. Onboard Realtek HD Audio -- which is better?

Postby maddmaxstar » 2012-2-03 @ 03:13

I used to be a Creative audio-buff, but haven't run a true Sound Blaster since I sold my X-Fi XtremeMusic a couple years ago.

Thinking about it though, true Sound Cards usually offer better Signal to Noise ratio than the stuff mounted onboard, not just limited to the feature set (24bit, 7.1 Dolby, etc). Onboard audio, it depends on the implementation, how well shielded it is from the rest of the board logic, but usually Onboard has an SNR of 80-90db or worse (I think, it's been a while since I researched it). The typical X-Fi is 112db, the Live 24bit/Audigy Values are around 106db and I think the Auzentechs are absolutely insane at over 120db, which makes a huge deal with Audiophiles. However the lay person with basic "Pop can" PC speakers aren't going to notice the extra clarity.

That said, I'm using a Realtek ALC892 on my Asus M5A88-M: http://www.realtek.com/products/product ... ProdID=284
What I'm wondering though, is what would be better, the ALC892, or a Sound Blaster Live 24bit I have collecting dust. My money's on the 892 for anything other than SNR...

(edit: card model of my old X-Fi was wrong)
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Re: Audigy vs. Onboard Realtek HD Audio -- which is better?

Postby Anonymous Coward » 2012-2-03 @ 03:23

I'm currently using an ALC889, but only because I'm running an osx86 system. I am not a fan of onboard audio, but the integrated audio on this gigabyte board actually seems half decent. I admit that I don't have very good hearing, but this is definitely much better than the integrated audio on my older boards (where I would actually have to use discrete audio because it was unbearable).
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Re: Audigy vs. Onboard Realtek HD Audio -- which is better?

Postby SquallStrife » 2012-2-03 @ 03:34

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_Blaster_Live!

ALC892's 95dB vs SB Live 24's 100dB.

The Realtek site specifies "A-weighting", maybe Creative calculates their SNR differently?

Without some $500 cans and some 96 or 192kHz lossless tracks, i doubt that 5dB would even register.
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Re: Audigy vs. Onboard Realtek HD Audio -- which is better?

Postby swaaye » 2012-2-03 @ 03:46

It's not about the magical SNR rating of the codec. That tends to be intangible bullshit just like 24-bit and high sampling frequencies.

However, unless you are using digital output, motherboards frequently have obvious analog signal noise that is very annoying for any sort of headphone use. This isn't caused by the codec chip but instead by cheap motherboard design. Some boards even give you nice squeals when different bits of hardware in the system are stressed vs. idle.

But yeah I have heard mobo audio that is quite acceptable.
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Re: Audigy vs. Onboard Realtek HD Audio -- which is better?

Postby DonutKing » 2012-2-03 @ 03:55

I found that onboard audio output was fine for me. however when I tried to record something, the onboard had a lot of background noise, hiss and crackle etc. After upgrading to a sound card this went away.
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Re: Audigy vs. Onboard Realtek HD Audio -- which is better?

Postby SquallStrife » 2012-2-03 @ 03:57

I've had discrete cards that have those issues too, swaaye, I think that's bad board design, rather than bad individual components.
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Re: Audigy vs. Onboard Realtek HD Audio -- which is better?

Postby keropi » 2012-2-03 @ 10:40

My Asus P8Z68-V has a "Realtek® ALC892 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC" on board... tried it a couple of days in the beginning because I did not want to put a PCI sound card in the system (pci slots in the last intel chipsets are not driven by the chipset itself but from external bridge ones, intel stopped supporting pci) while waiting for my auzentech x-fi ...
let me tell you, the difference was night and day - with the same 7.1 speakers... to the onboard's audio defense the auzen x-fi has attention put to sound output but still, the difference was just to huge for my el'cheapo speakers....
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Re: Audigy vs. Onboard Realtek HD Audio -- which is better?

Postby McMick » 2012-2-03 @ 11:33

I've decided to stick the Audigy into a P3 retro system I'm prepping. Thanks for all the replies!
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Re: Audigy vs. Onboard Realtek HD Audio -- which is better?

Postby elfuego » 2012-2-04 @ 12:24

Back in those days, Soundstorm of Nforce2 chipset sounded better then audigy and had a much better driver (manually setting bass level, stereo output to all speakers etc). I actually removed Audigy in favor for it back then :)

Nowadays, the modern codecs are pretty decent and more then comparable with audigy. But older integrated stuff was rly bad.
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Re: Audigy vs. Onboard Realtek HD Audio -- which is better?

Postby leileilol » 2012-2-04 @ 13:42

I've really favored onboard for the performance as well. I never knew my Sound Blaster Live added so much of a bottleneck to game FPS until I went onboard. I stopped using cards since.
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Re: Audigy vs. Onboard Realtek HD Audio -- which is better?

Postby keropi » 2012-2-04 @ 14:04

leileilol wrote:I've really favored onboard for the performance as well. I never knew my Sound Blaster Live added so much of a bottleneck to game FPS until I went onboard. I stopped using cards since.


are you sure about this? because I have seen benchmarks claiming the opposite... not questioning you but could this be specific to your hardware combination?
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