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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Choose a Sound Card for Your Pc

While integrated sound has come a long way since the early days, nothing beats a sound card to increase not only sound quality, but PC performance as well. Learn what you need to know to choose a sound card.

Number of Channels: What you should get depends on how many speakers you have. The most common are 7.1 channel cards followed by 5.1 channel.

Sample Rate: The most common is 96KHz, though there's some above and below. The higher the sample rate, the better the sound quality.

Ports: These can include Line In, Line Out, SPDIF In, SPDIF Out, Mic In, MIDI/Joystick, just to name a few. If you need it, there are sound cards that have it.

SNR: This is the signal to noise ratio. Cards fall in the range of 86dB to 120dB, with most falling in the range of 103dB and 110dB. The higher, the better.

Bit Depth: Most sound cards are 24-bit, though there are a few at 16-bit. The higher the bit depth, the better the audio will likely be.

Interface: Most cards connect via plain old PCI though there are a few that connect via PCI Express. Make sure you have the right kind of slot available for your card.

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