Do I need a Sound Card?

One common question we always hear is whether you need a sound card when building your own computer. I would say yes, depending on what you plan to use it for! If you want a system primarily for gaming or if you’re planning on using an advanced program that relies heavily on audio input/output, then yes – you will absolutely need one! But if it’s just going to be used mostly for editing photos and videos or office work like Word processing, then no – it won’t make much of a difference.

There are a few notable exceptions though:

In our Dual Epyc HD360A Workstation, we use a Super Micro H11DSi-NT motherboard that has no onboard audio. Audio output is often neglected when developing high thread count applications, but it is an essential requirement for those who need it, so they will require at least a basic discrete sound card to get any form of audible noise coming out of this type of system.

Server and Workstation motherboards – Though onboard audio might suffice for most users, there is a still sizeable portion of users who could benefit from discrete audio setups. Most onboard audio codecs will only provide up to 7.1 surround sound and lack a variety of outputs such as Toslink, RCA, or XLR, which can be important considerations depending on what your needs are.

Extreme Audio or Surround setups – Though onboard audio may be enough for most people, there are some who require a discrete solution for high-end setups. Most onboard sound cards will only support up to 7.1 surround sound or have specialized inputs like To slink, RCA, or XLR – which means they need something different if they’re using those kinds of connections.

Professional Audio Production – If you are using your PC as a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), it will be important for you to have the highest-resolution audio outputs available in order to achieve your best sounding results. A Pro-grade sound card is necessary for this type of high-quality audio output.

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