Does a PC need a sound card to have sound?
Technically, a sound card is an optional component but a necessary one if you want to hear sound from your PC on wired headphones or speakers (just like an external DAC), or plug in a mic with an analog output.
Is a sound card necessary for a gaming PC?
Essentially every modern motherboard has built-in sound output. A sound card is pointless unless you need more outputs, or more powerful outputs than your motherboard supports. That said, in those cases it’s better to have an external USB amplifier/DAC rather than an internal PCIe sound card.
Do motherboards come with sound cards?
All motherboards on the market come with embedded sound cards, or onboard audio. The problem is that since motherboards need to be small enough to fit into your tower, they have limited space for the sound card. Many of the features needed to produce clear, crisp sound simply can’t be added to onboard sound cards.
Do sound cards reduce CPU load?
Yes it most certainly will help. Motherboard mounted sound chips do not offer any type of AD/DA conversion capabilities, and even if they do they will be heavily laden with latency issues because of the way Windows works (if you are using Windows).
Are Realtek sound cards good?
Yes. Realtek sound cards integrated on motherboards are good sound cards, especially the Realtek 892 and 887 especially used with solid capacitors on the motherboard. It is worth saying that not all motherboard are made equal. Some motherboards will give you a better sound despite being advertised with the same chip.
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