Sound card choice

I am slowly working out specs for a new computer but am confused about sound cards. There are several options from Creative, but I can't find a good comparison online to figure out what the difference is and which one I should go for. I don't play games, but do use my computer to listen to music, and also to make recordings. Does anyone have any suggestions, or know where I can find a decent comparison?

Following on from this, I have a set of Creative Inspire 5700 speakers that I was intending to keep. These are 5.1, and connect to my current sound card using a single 3.5mm connector (into a socket labelled "Digital" on the sound card). I can't figure out whether this connection is still available, since several sources I've read suggest I need three separate connectors for 5.1. Does anyone know if this will work, or do I have to budget for new speakers too?




Super Star
hi gary, welcome to the forums. i dont know much about sound cards myself tbh best waiting till the morning when the tech/admin guys are around :) sorry!!


Staff member
Hello garywood84

Regarding your questions about soundcards, unless you're a gamer, generally the onboard audio is more than adequate for listening to music and making occasional recordings, and quite often you cannot tell the difference between onboard and a Creative soundcard.

For the connection, it sounds like you're using a digital out connection:


If so, and you choose onboard sound on your new computer, you will need to check that the motherboard has this capability. If you let us know what motherboard you're interested in, we'll check this for you.
I'm considering the ASUS P6X58D-E motherboard, and was thinking of going with the Creative X-Fi Titanium Professional sound card.

Do you really think I wouldn't notice any difference between on-board and a dedicated sound card? I've spent quite a long time researching this online, and most of the things I read suggested that although on-board has dramatically improved, it's still no match for a dedicated card. I'm currently using an Audigy 2 Platinum card, so I want to be sure that the sound is at least as good as this.

You're right that I'm using a Digital Out connection, but it's not the RCA type like that shown in your picture: it is a 3.5mm connection (which does to a multi-pin DIN into the speakers at the other end).

So, my questions now are:
  1. Should I get a dedicated sound card?
  2. If so, should I get the Creative X-Fi Titanium Pro, or another Creative card (or even, the Asus Xonar D2X)?
  3. Will my speakers connect to whatever option you suggest, bearing in mind they use a 3.5mm digital connection?

Many thanks in advance for any further advice,



Staff member
Hello Gary

1. It really depends to what extent you will be using your soundcard. If it's just for listening to music, then I would say onboard is fine. You could always a) Try the onboard sound first or b) Install your old soundcard into your new computer.

2. Again, this depends on your usage and what ports you need.

3. Once you make your final soundcard choice, we will check that the soundcard you choose connects to your speakers.