Integrated Sound/Video or Separate Cards?

Discussion in 'MSI' started by John, Oct 31, 2007.

  1. John

    John Guest

    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?

    John, Oct 31, 2007
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  2. John

    Paul Guest

    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.

    Paul, Oct 31, 2007
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  3. John

    John Guest

    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, Oct 31, 2007
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