I would have thought it was a given having integrated sound (and graphics) would hit on performance as you indicated as cpu on mobo needs to carry the load vs dedicated video/sound cards (both having their own dedicated chips to do the work). at least that was the theory. I think it also has to do with whether an individual game is more cpu or gpu intensive as well (video wise). Then you have software v hardware sound emulation . Maybe im just blabbering now lol. Any experts here? :).
Also imho dedicated sound cards 'sound' better. THAT depends on your own perception though. Some of us are real audiophiles...
Yeah, me too. I always thought it was a given. But these guys were actual techs, although they did admit that they weren't sure. One claimed that perhaps it was true, but the hit on performance was so small that no one would ever notice.
I would sure like a definitive answer though, because it sure seems to me the answer would be yes, and if that's the case, I'm going with a sound card in my next rig no matter how small a difference it might be. Fact is, when you run up against a game that might be giving you too few FPS, any little extra power/adjustment you can find might make a difference between a game being playable and just being too choppy to be playable.
But if the answer is definitely no, then I'm ok with sticking with the onboard sound. They have gotten way better, and the one I had on my newest rig sounded amazing. LOL, the only reason I went with onboard sound on that one was because I ordered it with a soundcard, but the company I purchased it from said that with me running two Nvidia GTX 470's in SLI mode, they couldn't find a slot for a sound card on my rig. So, I got it home, hooked it up, and I've gotta say, it sounded amazing. My 5.1 speaker system actually sounded better on that than it did my last rig with a turtle beach/santa cruz card, but that may be more to do with age than anything else.
Sure would like to have a definitive answer one way or the other though.
Okay I think I have a PC able to run The Witcher 2 picked out. Everyone feel free to chime in if you think something is wrong with this list. I have no intention of doing any overclocking, so ignore the part that says "Unlocked CPU for Extreme Overclocking".
From the Digital Storm website as follows.
Case: Corsair Obsidian 550D
Processor: Intel Core i5 2500K 3.30GHz (Unlocked CPU for Extreme Overclocking) (Quad Core)
Motherboard: ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 (Intel Z68 Chipset) (Features Intel Quick Sync Technology)
RAM: 8GB DDR3 2000MHz GTX-8 Digital Storm Certified Performance Series (ADATA brand)
Power Supply: 850W Corsair TX850 V2 (Dual SLI Compatible)
Hard Drive: 1x (500GB Western Digital Caviar (7200 RPM) (Model: Black Edition)
Graphics Card: AMD Radeon HD 7870 or Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 (if the price comes down before I buy my PC in the next few months)
CPU Cooling: Stage 2: Corsair A70 Dual 120mm Fans High Performance Cooler or a Stage 1 single fan cooler from Corsair
Noise Reduction: Noise Suppression Package Stage 2 (Optimized Airflow & Fan Speeds with Noise Dampening Material)
Operating System: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit or Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit (One of those two for the Windows XP Mode they have)
Extra: Internal Digital Media Card Reader
Estimated Cost (with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 680): $2,037
Estimated Cost (with the AMD Radeon HD 7870: $1,718
Any thoughts or suggestions? I have a few final questions.
Is the power supply a good brand or even enough wattage for this setup? Should I go with a bigger supply for future proofing? I have no intention of running anything more than a single graphics card setup if that will help with the question.
Is a Dual Fan CPU Cooler a good choice or overkill?
Can the Core i5 processor run The Witcher 2 at a good frame rate? I saw some benchmarks that suggested that the both of my graphics card choices can run TW2 at great frame rates, but those benchmarks were with a Core i7 processor rather than my choice of Core i5 which is why I ask.
Is my choice of motherboard good or should I go with the ASUS Maximus IV?
Is the RAM good or should I go with something else?
Do I need more cooling if I go with the Nvidia 680? The reason I ask is because I know it runs slightly hotter than the AMD 7870. Plus, the Nvidia 680 has some sort of auto-overclocking which i'm a bit squeamish about. Again, I have NO intention of ever overclocking anything.
I don't have anything to add, I just wanted to say good luck with this and I'm sorry for hijacking your thread with my question. I just read this and realized I had just posted another long one below it and I'm very, very sorry for that.