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If you are not sure if you need an upgrade, be sure to contact our sales consultants at firstname.lastname@example.org. They will be happy to help you find the right sound card for your specific needs.
I've never had a problem using onboard sound though I'm not an audiophile. I honestly couldn't tell the difference between onboard sound and some of the higher end cards. Keep in mind too that the speakers you get also make a difference. There's no point in getting a high end sound card and then getting $10 speakers!
If you want to know what the onboard audio capabilities are of the motherboard you are looking at, scroll up on the configure page and click on the link to the motherboard. It will provide details like number of supported output channels, digital audio capabilities, etc.
Onboard sound should work fine for most folks, but if you have especially sensitive speakers or headphones, particularly higher end ones (think $500+), I'd recommend getting a sound card or a USB DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter).
We've actually started carrying USB DACs recently, so I'd consider checking them out as an alternative to a sound card. They'll offer better audio quality than onboard sound, and will also work around the common "buzz" that sound cards inside of a computer can sometimes get.
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Most modern motherboards come with a sound controller built in. The newer motherboards even have controllers that are comparable to some of these sound cards. Refer to the motherboard you selected for more information about the onboard sound.
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