Will A Sound Card Boost Performance?

Status
This thread has been Locked and is not open to further replies. Please start a New Thread if you're having a similar issue. View our Welcome Guide to learn how to use this site.

Rez

Thread Starter
Joined
Aug 18, 2004
Messages
38
I've had my custom-built PC for little over a year now and have a little bit of money to spend but I'm just wondering what I can do to get the biggest step-up in performance for as little cash or if there's anything else I can do besides hardware upgrades to yield better performance for new games like Battlefield 2.

At the moment I have:

P4 3.0 Ghz w/HTT
ASUS P4C800 Deluxe Motherboard
Sapphire ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128 MB (Catalyst 5.6)
1 GB PC3200 RAM
Western Digital 120 GB S-ATA HDD
Windows XP Home Edition (Service Pack 1)

As you can see, I don't have a sound card and was thinking about buying one because at the moment I'm using the 6 channel onboard sound the motherboard offers. While this isn't too bad I'm wondering if I'd get better performance in games if I had a sound card dedicated to processing sound rather than giving extra work to the CPU (presumably). There's not much point upgrading the graphics card or CPU because nothing has really surpassed them enough yet for the money spent to be worthwhile I don't think.

So that leaves me with the RAM being upgraded to 2GB, adding a nice sound card or maybe something entirely different. Any help is much appreciated.

Thanks
 
Joined
Mar 16, 2002
Messages
13,404
Rez said:
I've had my custom-built PC for little over a year now and have a little bit of money to spend but I'm just wondering what I can do to get the biggest step-up in performance for as little cash or if there's anything else I can do besides hardware upgrades to yield better performance for new games like Battlefield 2.

At the moment I have:

P4 3.0 Ghz w/HTT
ASUS P4C800 Deluxe Motherboard
Sapphire ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128 MB (Catalyst 5.6)
1 GB PC3200 RAM
Western Digital 120 GB S-ATA HDD
Windows XP Home Edition (Service Pack 1)

As you can see, I don't have a sound card and was thinking about buying one because at the moment I'm using the 6 channel onboard sound the motherboard offers. While this isn't too bad I'm wondering if I'd get better performance in games if I had a sound card dedicated to processing sound rather than giving extra work to the CPU (presumably). There's not much point upgrading the graphics card or CPU because nothing has really surpassed them enough yet for the money spent to be worthwhile I don't think.

So that leaves me with the RAM being upgraded to 2GB, adding a nice sound card or maybe something entirely different. Any help is much appreciated.

Thanks
gfx card, 6600GT is only $150, 6800GT about $300 to $350, I have to think that either of those would be an improvement over the venerable 9800pro in most modern games, that being said, yes I think that a sound card would free up some resources and of course RAM may help for the newer games also. I would look into the gfx card issue a little before you write that off, but you may be right to stick with the 9800pro for now, untill you go with a new mobo with PCIE slot
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2003
Messages
231
If you are hardcore about getting a few more FPS in your games, then getting a dedicated SPU would get some for you, but not enough that you would pay out for one, really. You'll never get any where near as big a boost as you would upgrading other components of your system. (RAM, CPU, vid card)

Unless you don't like the quality of the sound coming from your onboard audio, I say don't bother.
 
Joined
Mar 16, 2002
Messages
13,404
9800pro-128 4/8x agp
DirX 9
Mem interface 256-bit
Mem clock 680Mhz
Pixel pipeline 8
Core clock 380Mhz

6600GT-128 8x agp
DirX 9
Mem interface 128-bit
Mem clock 900Mhz
Pixel pipeline 8
Core clock 500Mhz

6800GT-256 8x agp
DirX 9
Mem interface 256-bit
Mem clock 1000Mhz
Pixel pipeline 16
Core clock 350Mhz

from this it looks like the 6600GT is still a pretty good bump in speed, the mem interface drops in half from 256 to 128, not sure what that really means though, and of course the nvidias come with some current bells and whistles as far as drivers go also.
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2003
Messages
231
clock speeds on video cards don't mean much at all. the GeForceFX 5800 had similar clock speeds to the 6600GT and it was seriously underpowered when compared to 9800 pro.

With that said, the 6600GT is a faster card, and has faster ram on it (GDDR3) which means it's 128mbs will work a lot better than the 256 on the 9800.
 
Joined
Mar 16, 2002
Messages
13,404
spoon_T_Rex said:
clock speeds on video cards don't mean much at all. the GeForceFX 5800 had similar clock speeds to the 6600GT and it was seriously underpowered when compared to 9800 pro.

With that said, the 6600GT is a faster card, and has faster ram on it (GDDR3) which means it's 128mbs will work a lot better than the 256 on the 9800.
ahh, thanks for the info :)
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2003
Messages
231
haha, actually, I found an old pc gamer in the bathroom yesterday (where I do all my magazine reading) and happened to flip to a review of a 9800 pro when it was just coming out and it compared it vs. the fx5800. I was really surprised myself. I knew the fx cards sucked (had a 5600 myself) but I was surprised to see that the 9800 pro had significantly lower clock speeds and it was still a superior card. the fx chipsets were just never meant to be made. if it hadn't been for them, ati may not have caught up in the graphics race. (not saying ati makes bad cards, but nvidia had an edge and lost it with the fx cards.)
 

Rez

Thread Starter
Joined
Aug 18, 2004
Messages
38
Going back on topic, I don't think there's much point me buying a graphics card at the moment - it's not worth the money given the Radeon 9800 isn't that old or underpowered yet. Back to the question at hand, does anyone else think I can expect a performance increase if I equip my system with a sound card?

Cheers
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2003
Messages
231
Here's some stuff I found on benchmarking soundcards using Counter-Strike: Source

http://techreport.com/etc/2004q3/cssource-audio/index.x?pg=1

http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/attachment.php?attachmentid=8674&stc=1

The difference it shows is a meesly 5 fps between and audigy 2 and an a crappy onboard. I don't know how yours would do at all, but I do know that why brite would recommend getting a new vid card rather than a sound card: IF you are looking for an actual increase, why not just up your video card? If you're going to spend the money, why not put it towards something that won't give you a small increase in speed? You will see more of a difference, despite wanting to believe your card is adequete enough.

Whatever...it's your money.
 
Joined
Mar 16, 2002
Messages
13,404
spoon_T_Rex said:
clock speeds on video cards don't mean much at all. the GeForceFX 5800 had similar clock speeds to the 6600GT and it was seriously underpowered when compared to 9800 pro.

With that said, the 6600GT is a faster card, and has faster ram on it (GDDR3) which means it's 128mbs will work a lot better than the 256 on the 9800.
I think the 9800 had more pipelines than the FX series if that means anything, gamers usually look at graphics quality and FPS, they want both. It was my understanding that the nVidia cards had some magic that worked much better with the current batch of 3D games, dont know if its a hardware or drivers thing maybe both. If you want a fancy sound card for better sound then I'd probably go for that and more ram, but if your only getting a few FPS more then I wouldnt worry about it. From what I've heard good 3D gaming is mostly graphics card and Ram, not sound card.
 
Status
This thread has been Locked and is not open to further replies. Please start a New Thread if you're having a similar issue. View our Welcome Guide to learn how to use this site.

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

As Seen On
As Seen On...

Welcome to Tech Support Guy!

Are you looking for the solution to your computer problem? Join our site today to ask your question. This site is completely free -- paid for by advertisers and donations.

If you're not already familiar with forums, watch our Welcome Guide to get started.

Join over 807,865 other people just like you!

Latest posts

Staff online

Top