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Onboard Sound versus Sound Blaster Audigy ZS?

2524 Views 10 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Jahm
Just wonder, how does the onboard sound (Realtek ALC850) of the Asus A8N compare with a PCI Siound Blaster Audigy ZS? I have the card from my previous system and am not sure if I should install it or use the onboard sound instead.

Any thoughts?
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The Audigy will be superior to the onboard sound....and give less problems. Disable the onboard sound in the bios and install the Audigy.
I've heard there have been problems, but I haven't heard any specifics, can you go into any detail?

Also, how much better is the SB card? Is it really noticeable? I'm just thinking that assuming the audio doesn't break, mine as well use onboard.
Basically there have been issues with driver stability and a few reports of compatability using the realtek drivers. A few others have reported issues when OC'ing and onboard sound ( crackling, hum etc). If you already have an Audigy ZS, take advantage of the improved sound ( which requires a better speaker system to appericiate) stability and extra options it offers
Ah speakers, yeah I tend to use head phones which is probably why I never pay attention. Although given the stability issues, I think I'll use the Sound blaster.

Speaking of stability, anyone have problems with the onboard network cards? I have a slew of issues with both of them. The Marvell locked up the system if I used the network too much (until I updated the driver from and the nForce constantly downloads files with bad CRC checks. Kind of pissing me off at this point, so any advice would be nice.
Creative software = trouble

After using the onboard sound, I installed my Audigy. The Creative install caused immediate problems and instability. After an hour of trouble, doing many reinstalls of the latest drivers, I just removed the Audigy board and am back to the good ol Asus sound. It is very good, maybe not as good as a dedicated board, but I am finished with Creative and their moron software writers.
Next time, I will purchase a sound board from a different company. Creative is off my list, permanently.
That seems a little far-fetched. I've been using Creative products for 10+ years without any problem. If anything it was more likely your Asus board being faulty with a PCI card.

I noticed a similar problem when I inserted a PCI network card. It was a perfectly good card, but the board wanted crash every 5 minutes because it didn't like it.

Creative makes the best sound cards around, both in technical abilities and reliability.
The inherant problem with onboard audio is that you've got it sitting in the electrical noise storm known as the motherboard. Until they can figure out how to completely shield it from EMI, add-in cards will ALWAYS be better. Unless all your doing is listening to 128 kbps mp3s on $40 speakers and don't give a flying turd about sound quality, you'll want an Audigy. Creative is simply the only company that makes any sound cards worth mentioning right now and they are quite worth mentioning (we're talking studio quality for the newer models). Extensive problems installing one has to be a problem with something else. My Audigy 2 ZS is one of the few components in my system I've never had to think about - it just works.

Skytop, Creative is well known and regarded for the stability of their is one of the reasons why they are all but the only sound card MFG left. I suspect that you did not disable onboard sound before you installed the card and/or did not put it in an appropriate pci slot (it should be in a non shared slot which your mobo manual will show you,,,usually slots 1 & 5) And like Volvonut stated it may have also shown your system is not as stable as you think it is. You will find very few problems on this forum with their sound cards. why don't you list your system like you see in my sig and maybe we can help you out.
I find that my onboard audio works just fine. I'm not obsessed with my PC's audio so the 7.1 digital card built into it suits my needs easily. And the integrated network hardware hasn't given me a problem at all.
Hey, just wanted to provide some details on specific problems I've had with my Asus on board sound.

Initially I had a problem with the "smart jack" setting thing. At first I had problems with one of the channels not working properly. I checked and it wasn't with my speaker system. Then the speaker jacks would loose their configuration after every restart. That meant that I would have to assign each jack from the audio panel every time.

After updating the Cmedia audio drivers, the problem with the bad channel went away, but the smart jack issue came back. Finally an update of the bios, then a re-install of the drivers and this went away.

Also there tends to be a lot of noice on it initially, whenever a sound file is first opened, but it goes away. I still use it right now cause I'm not an aduiophile, but if I had an extra sound card laying around, I'd put it in!!! I don't know if you tired this, but if you diable the onboard audio and uninstall the drivers, it may solve the problem.
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