Best and worst sound cards you have ever owned?

Topic actions

Reply 60 of 60, by NScaleTransitModels

User metadata
Rank Newbie

Original Sound Blaster 16 CT1740:
-Low noise
-Real OLP3
-Volume wheel is convenient
-High sampling rate makes it one of the earliest cards that can play modern WAVs
-Much easier to set up than a PNP card. Driver support could not be better. I got it to work well on every version of Windows from 3.11-98, NT 3.51-XP, needing 3rd party drivers only in 3.11. Yes, I was crazy enough to dual-boot every one of those Windows versions thru XOSL on a Dell Dimension XPS P90, the early Pentium machine it came with. I lost track of how much time I spent playing Ultimate DOOM on this machine.

Aztech I38-MMSN834 (AZT 2316):
-Pretty much the same as above. No volume wheel but the integrated modem adds to the retro feel w/o taking up another slot.
-Aztech cards are much easier to find for cheap and much less sought after than non-PNP SB16s or earlier SBs.
-However, it sounds like the later AZT 2320 PNP cards are harder to set up and require the AZTPNP manager.

Least favorites
Sound Blaster Live! CT4780, Dell OEM:
-I see I'm not the only one here who's been burned by the terrible driver support on this card. The card at least works without too much trouble in 2000 and XP, but none of the "SB Live" drivers would install on 98 SE, even OEM drivers. I finally gave in and downloaded the CD from the Vogons driver library, which was loaded to the brim with bloatware. The driver installed but no sound played. After trying several more from the driver library, I finally got this driver to install manually, if anyone needs it: http://www.vogonsdrivers.com/getfile.php?fileid=656
-TL;DR: Drivers are a 8ITCH to install 😬
-Static noise is also high
-Never got it working in DOS mode

-More static noise than an analog TV when you turn up the volume, but then you change the channel and forget to turn it back down 🤣 Seriously though, this card is so noisy that any digital speech in games becomes unintelligible.
-It also looks very cheap/ghetto/hacked together. I threw it in a 386DX-25 system that was too slow to play most games, just to get it out of my sight 🤣


  • ECS FX-3000; 386DX-40@50; ET4000AX, ISA 1mb
  • Acer VI9; 486DLC-40; Mach32, VLB 2mb
  • Chicony CH-471A; CX486s-40; Mach32, VLB 2mb
  • Gateway 2000 P5-60; Pentium-60@66; S3 928, PCI 3mb
  • DTK PKM-0033S; AM5x86-133@160