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Integrated Sound/Video or Separate Cards?

 
 
John
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      10-31-2007, 03:38 PM
I have an MSI M/B with integrated audio and video. I am wondering if I
would be better off adding separate cards for both audio and video.

Audio, I have a lot of mp3 files on my system and listen to internet
radio quite a bit. Would the sound be better if I upgrade, even to a
basic sound card?

Second, I do some video editing, mostly home video, or recorded tv
shows, then stream to an in house media player, or burn to disc. Would
I benefit at all from upgrading to a separate video card rather than
the integrated card in my motherboard?

I have an MSI m/b G965M, with 2GB of RAM, running Vista Home Premium.
Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks!
 
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Paul
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      10-31-2007, 04:58 PM
John wrote:
> I have an MSI M/B with integrated audio and video. I am wondering if I
> would be better off adding separate cards for both audio and video.
>
> Audio, I have a lot of mp3 files on my system and listen to internet
> radio quite a bit. Would the sound be better if I upgrade, even to a
> basic sound card?
>
> Second, I do some video editing, mostly home video, or recorded tv
> shows, then stream to an in house media player, or burn to disc. Would
> I benefit at all from upgrading to a separate video card rather than
> the integrated card in my motherboard?
>
> I have an MSI m/b G965M, with 2GB of RAM, running Vista Home Premium.
> Any thoughts or suggestions?
>
> Thanks!


A separate sound card:

1) Improves noise floor, when recording audio from microphone etc.
2) May have better support for game audio options (more than basic EAX)
3) May offer better drivers (for example, my onboard audio will not
let me disable its "special effects", and adds reverb to the content).

With motherboard audio, some implementations pick up "mouse noise", and
if you listen to classical music with quiet passages, you can hear electrical
noise from computer activity in the background. A separate sound card
can help with that.

For a video card upgrade:

1) Video cards have their own graphics memory. If you are tight for memory,
using the video card frees up 64MB or 128MB more system memory.
2) Video cards have better 3D gaming performance (not in your description).
Onboard video is good enough for playing "the SIMs". Vista Aero interface
also uses 3D, but does it for compositing windows. If the Aero interface
isn't smooth, and you think your processor is adequate and not the source
of the problem, then a video card might be the next thing to try.
3) Video cards can have support for accelerated playback of DVD content,
H.264, VC1 etc. This allows playing back video, with lower CPU overhead.
Integrated video may not be as good at that, and rely more on the CPU.
But support may not be universal, and won't help with everything. Which
is the main weakness of buying for that kind of feature, lack of uniform
support. It could be, that a lot of desktop players won't be accelerated,
while your copy of WinDVD is. This is an area that needs a lot of research
before purchase (i.e. I'd be shocked if you got your money's worth).
4) Video cards have more output connectors, can have three connectors and
drive any two of them (dual head support). Supported modes include
clone (TV screen sees same picture as computer monitor), span (use
two LCDs for a wider desktop), and dualview (two separate monitors having
unique resolution and color depth).

In your situation, I'd use a separate sound card, but not bother changing
the video. I use a separate sound card, and it cost $7. So you don't have
to buy something ritzy.

HTH,
Paul
 
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John
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      10-31-2007, 06:08 PM
On Wed, 31 Oct 2007 12:58:47 -0400, Paul <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>John wrote:
>> I have an MSI M/B with integrated audio and video. I am wondering if I
>> would be better off adding separate cards for both audio and video.
>>
>> Audio, I have a lot of mp3 files on my system and listen to internet
>> radio quite a bit. Would the sound be better if I upgrade, even to a
>> basic sound card?
>>
>> Second, I do some video editing, mostly home video, or recorded tv
>> shows, then stream to an in house media player, or burn to disc. Would
>> I benefit at all from upgrading to a separate video card rather than
>> the integrated card in my motherboard?
>>
>> I have an MSI m/b G965M, with 2GB of RAM, running Vista Home Premium.
>> Any thoughts or suggestions?
>>
>> Thanks!

>
>A separate sound card:
>
>1) Improves noise floor, when recording audio from microphone etc.
>2) May have better support for game audio options (more than basic EAX)
>3) May offer better drivers (for example, my onboard audio will not
> let me disable its "special effects", and adds reverb to the content).
>
>With motherboard audio, some implementations pick up "mouse noise", and
>if you listen to classical music with quiet passages, you can hear electrical
>noise from computer activity in the background. A separate sound card
>can help with that.
>
>For a video card upgrade:
>
>1) Video cards have their own graphics memory. If you are tight for memory,
> using the video card frees up 64MB or 128MB more system memory.
>2) Video cards have better 3D gaming performance (not in your description).
> Onboard video is good enough for playing "the SIMs". Vista Aero interface
> also uses 3D, but does it for compositing windows. If the Aero interface
> isn't smooth, and you think your processor is adequate and not the source
> of the problem, then a video card might be the next thing to try.
>3) Video cards can have support for accelerated playback of DVD content,
> H.264, VC1 etc. This allows playing back video, with lower CPU overhead.
> Integrated video may not be as good at that, and rely more on the CPU.
> But support may not be universal, and won't help with everything. Which
> is the main weakness of buying for that kind of feature, lack of uniform
> support. It could be, that a lot of desktop players won't be accelerated,
> while your copy of WinDVD is. This is an area that needs a lot of research
> before purchase (i.e. I'd be shocked if you got your money's worth).
>4) Video cards have more output connectors, can have three connectors and
> drive any two of them (dual head support). Supported modes include
> clone (TV screen sees same picture as computer monitor), span (use
> two LCDs for a wider desktop), and dualview (two separate monitors having
> unique resolution and color depth).
>
>In your situation, I'd use a separate sound card, but not bother changing
>the video. I use a separate sound card, and it cost $7. So you don't have
>to buy something ritzy.
>
>HTH,
> Paul


Thank you Paul for a very detailed reply. This is a lot to absorb, and
I will print your reply out and consider it strongly. It's great to
get a thought out answer, and not the usual one or two sentence reply
that isn't much help. Thanks again!

John
 
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