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Are Sound Cards Worth It? Guides [2022]

Are Sound Cards Worth It? Guides [2022]

Should you get a sound card and are they worth the money? In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about sound cards.

Only taking quality into consideration, the decision about whether to purchase a high-quality sound card and speakers/headphones is highly subjective and based on individual requirements and preferences.

A dedicated sound card is an excellent alternative to your motherboard’s integrated audio solution if it is not working correctly or lacks certain features that you require.

Building a gaming PC is often pretty straightforward.

You should pick a graphics card that meets your performance requirements in a particular resolution.

Make sure your CPU is powerful enough to handle it

Read: Best Sound Card in [2022]

Add 8-16 GB of RAM, an SSD and a hard drive that can hold everything you need.

To keep it powered, you will need a motherboard and a power supply2021

There is one component, however, that is often overlooked and not given much thought when building a PC in 2021: the sound card.

There’s a reason for this – pretty much all motherboards come with integrated audio chips that can easily satisfy the audio requirements of most users.

However, dedicated sound cards still exist, and there are several reasons why you might want to buy one, as well as some reasons not to.

Find out if a dedicated sound card is worth buying in 2021 by reading on!

Dedicated Sound Card vs Integrated Sound Card

Sound Card

As mentioned above, virtually all motherboards have integrated sound cards these days, though they aren’t really “cards” per se. Rather, they are unseen chips integrated directly into the motherboard, and the audio connectors are located on the motherboard’s back panel, plus some extra connectors on the front of the case.  

Related: Liquid VS Air CPU Coolers Comparative Guide

Dedicated sound cards can either be internal or external. As with any expansion card, internal sound cards connect to the motherboard via a PCIe slot. Instead, an external sound card connects via USB.

While the quality varies depending on the brand, model, and price, internal sound cards tend to offer better audio quality than external sound cards. Nevertheless, external solutions are easier to install and are much more portable, so they can easily be used on multiple devices.

What are the reasons you might want to buy a dedicated sound card?

Surround Sound and Connectors

Surround-Sound-and-Connectors

Sometimes, the integrated sound card doesn’t have enough connectors or doesn’t have the right connectors for your needs. Especially when it comes to surround setups, this can be problematic.

Most motherboards have six connectors:

  • Orange (center channel/subwoofer)
  • Black (rear speakers)
  • Grey (side speakers)
  • Pink (mic in)
  • Blue (line-in)
  • Green (stereo speakers/headphones)

Some motherboards (especially the cheaper/more compact ones) may not include the orange, black, and grey connectors, and therefore won’t support the setup. Additionally, some systems may use RCA or optical connectors.

In the event your motherboard does not have the required connectors and cannot support the surround system you want, you will need to invest in a good sound card.

Faulty Integrated Sound Card or Connector

Faulty-Integrated-Sound-Card-or-Connector

Often, when a computer component or peripheral breaks, it is best and most efficient to replace it. Repairs are often either impossible or too costly and time-consuming to be worth the effort.

Hardware problems that involve a motherboard’s integrated sound card or one of the audio connectors aren’t very common. Furthermore, if there is a problem with the motherboard right out of the box, the warranty will guarantee you a new, fully functional motherboard.

But, if something goes wrong and you don’t want to deal with getting a new motherboard or having your PC out of commission while it’s “in the shop,” just buying a sound card could save you time and even money.

Audio Quality – Do I Need a Sound Card?

sound card quality

You’ll always end up asking yourself “Do I need this?” whenever you plan to invest any serious amount of money into a PC component.”. While we’ve all experienced pricey graphics cards and monitors, audio is as subjective as it gets.

We could talk for hours about frequency, bitrate, etc., but at the end of the day, audio quality is best judged by ear. While there are many audiophiles who refuse to settle for anything but FLAC and top-quality headphones, others cannot tell the difference between FLAC and MP3, even with the right gear.

In terms of audio quality, both the sound card and the speakers/headphones are important. If you want to get the most out of a good sound card, you’d need to invest in quality speakers/headphones as well. It would be a hefty and tricky investment, especially since the benefits are dubious and subjective.

Do-I-Need-a-Sound-Card

Thus, whether you’re willing to spend a considerable amount of money on improving your audio experience is completely up to you. In fact, most gamers would probably prefer to spend their money on a better GPU, CPU, or any other component or peripheral that could improve their experience more directly.

See: Wired vs Wireless Gaming Headset – Which Is Best For Gaming?

In retrospect, if you’re considering getting a sound card in case your embedded audio solution doesn’t have the necessary connectors or isn’t working, a dedicated sound card might be a good option.

Conclusion

Are-Sound-Cards-Worth-It

In the end, only you can decide whether or not to purchase a pricey sound card and high-end audio equipment solely for enhanced sound quality. In contrast, if you need to replace a faulty or inadequate integrated sound card, a dedicated sound card could save you time and money.

Check out this article if you’re looking for a new sound card right now. Additionally, here are our picks for the best gaming headsets, speakers, and surround systems available today. The buying guides are regularly updated, so if any appear to feature out-of-date products, that only means they will be updated shortly!


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Edward Connelly
By Edward Connelly

I’m Edward, and I am a passionate tech writer who loves to try new gadgets. I work as the blog editor at TechHamster where I write about everything from how to use technology in your business, to what apps you should download for your next vacation. I also test out all of the latest and gadgets that come along!

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