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How to choose a Video and Sound card


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#1
MR0624

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hey-I was just thinking up a new system I might build and was wondering how you choose sound cards and graphics cards. Anyone have any suggestions?
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#2
audioboy

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It all depends on what you want to do with the machine. If its for general stuff- web, email, etc then onboard sound and graphics will be fine.
onboard sound and video will take up more of your clock cycles and system resources, since it is sharing resources on your mobo.

if its for some multi-media type apps, then better stuff is required. audio/video, etc. want decent equipment to get good results. and DO NOT use a celeron chip for these types of apps- no multimedia optimization on celeron. it will do it, but it will be slow.
if you want to do audio, for example, you will want a pro-level sound card. I can tell you more about that if your interested.

if its for gaming (like the one I just built), then you need to go bigger, and more expensive. even then, it depends on what games you want to play.

sound card wise, everyone seems to have soundblaster of same flavor. while the audigy cards are great, with lots of I/O options, most people dont really seem to need all that (and at $100, seems excessive to me). I threw an old soundblaster live! value card in my new PC, and it does just fine.

video wise, there are 856 choices at the moment. again, it depends on what the applications are, what type of performance you want, and how much you have to spend.
spell out what you want to do with this machine, and we can narrow it down some for you!
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#3
BePro

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This varies vastly, but

Soundcards:

There are not as many choices of these as there are video cards. The most obvious difference I notice are the input/output connections. Cheaper cards, especially ON-board ones, usually have 3 ports, In/Out/Mic. Better soundcards have more connections, and better sound.

Better sound-Better cards will give you options, such as Bass/Trebel controls, effects (such as reverb, chorus, and many others), and more controls over your audio.

Another thing, one that not many people know, is that MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) quality varies GREATLY among cards. On-board usually has whats called "FM Synthesis", or aka Cheap sound. Better cards use better instrument patches, and some even use SoundFonts (samples that sound way beter than regular MIDI sounds).

To sum it up, you can go all out (SoundBlaster Audigy Platinum or equivalent), or just decent. The SoundBlaster Live card fairs well for decent sound/price limits.

I personally only buy SB cards. Most people dont care what the sound sounds like, as long as its there.

Video:

There are many many things that determine what you buy.

I base my decisions on 2 things:
1. The games I will play
2. Price

My rule of thumb is that cheaper is not always the way to go. I have bought several cheap cards, only to find out that the higher priced ones perform better. There are so many vendors to choose from.

I look at PC magazines and articles and read about current cards, then use my 2 rules of thumb to choose.

I never buy the most current card on the market, as prices go down quickly, and having the top cards is not my thing, as its expensive.


Also, what people choose varies as everyone has different tastes and expirences with different vendors.

I would summerize the thoughts of several people and use that to base your decisions.
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#4
Impulz

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spell out what you want to do with this machine, and we can narrow it down some for you!

View Post



How about major video editing ie: transcoding/compressing and creating own dvd's.

Would video cards even make a difference or is it all about the quality of the video you input to begin woth?
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#5
MR0624

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Every once in a while I might play a few games so I want a pretty good soundcard and I might to some sound editing but not video. Thanks for all of the help!

MR0624
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#6
audioboy

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MRO- it looks like mid-level soundblaster would do you fine. video wise, depends on what games, and how much you want to spend. a mainstream market video card that can play the newest games will cost $200-$300. you can go lower, and it may play the new games, but with settings turned down.
again, more details please!

IMPULZ- higher end video cards have hardware acceleration and onboard codecs (encoders/decoders). this improves image quality (especially if you are dubbing in from tape or other real time source), and speeds up editing. you are right that initial image quality has much to do with it- it looks better, and you wont have to spend time cleaning it up.
if your just ripping DVD's to VCD's, I dont think it matters as much, but I dont really know.
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#7
MR0624

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I'll check out the soundblaster...but for video cards I'm going to look for a card that's pretty cheap and will play most games. I'm not a big PC gamer now but i'm looking at some games like sims 2... I'm going to look for something in the $150-$250 range. Thanks for the help!

MR0624
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#8
MR0624

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You think this sound card will do?:http://www.newegg.com/app/viewproductdesc.asp?description=29-102-177&DEPA=0
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#9
MR0624

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or http://www.newegg.co...-102-177&DEPA=0
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#10
MR0624

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sorry about that last post...they're exactly the same. I meant to put this link up: http://www.newegg.co...-102-175&DEPA=0
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#11
audioboy

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either one would be good. doesnt look like your will be doing a big surround sound setup, so the cheaper one will do fine, but either is a good choice.
might be worth checking out ebay, etc for used video cards.
have fun building!
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#12
MR0624

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Thanks!
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#13
Salient

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As far as videocards go ... have a look at these head to head comparison charts, and try to get the most for your money - be it ATI or Nvidia cores.

AGP:
http://graphics.toms...1004/index.html

PCI Express:
http://graphics.toms...1222/index.html
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#14
MR0624

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Thanks, I'll check it out....
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#15
neilp4453

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if your like me, you will look for a cheap card (less htan 100) but nice.
for pci-express, i got the nvidia geforce 5750 card. the chip runs at 425mhz and the 128mb ddr memory runs at 550mhz. its pretty nice.

for agp, I was gonna get the ati radeon 9500 (or I think it was that). anyway, jus cut that speeds of that in half from the other video card and thats how fast it goes. but it has 256mb memory.

they all have fans on them if you buy the right one so I guess it could be overclockd if the fan is good enough. but i like the 5750 since it runs very nicely for a cheap card
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