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  • Video & Sound Cards ?

    Home Forums AskWoody support PC hardware Video & Sound Cards ?

    • This topic has 9 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 1 month ago.
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      • #2337507
        Casey H
        AskWoody Plus

        Hello All –

        My “new” PC is now about a year old.  It consists of an Intel i5-9600k processor, MSI Z390A board, and 16 GB of DDR4 RAM.  I retained my monitor from the previous build (LG 24MP59HT-P).  I have no audio or visual additions beyond what came with the processer and motherboard (Video: Intel UHD Graphics 630; Audio: Realtek ALC892 Codec 7.1-Channel High Definition Audio).  I have a LG WH14NS40 Blu-ray optical drive which I use to watch BRD and DVD movies.  My speaker system is simple stereo, consisting of two small speakers and the base box on the floor.  I am not a gamer, and in addition to my disk collection, I also have a subscription to NETFLIX.

        My question is whether or not my movie watching would be significantly enhanced by adding stand alone audio and video.  I’m suspecting that given my simple speaker system, that at least for now, an audio card would not help much.  Enhanced video is another matter.  As always, any opinions would be greatly appreciated.  Additionally, if a new video card is in my future, what would you recommend based on my described usage?

        Casey H.

        [Moderator edit] please remove html code before posting

      • #2337545
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        Good speakers always improve your listening experience IMO. I have $200 speakers, a $300 sub-woofer driven by a $100 amp and a $70 3rd party sound card (which makes a surprising difference) for music on the office PC , but for TV/movies I run $1000 speakers and the same value subwoofer via a $100 amp – good amps can be found at PA suppliers, as all you need is a power amp that doesn’t need to look flash.

        The office speakers are new (and great for the office) and as an experiment I swapped them for the TV speakers to see how much speakers have improved – the TV speakers are over 10 years old. The new (office) speakers were like listening through mud compared to the older speakers – you get what you pay for.

        Video quality is all about the monitor IMO and watching movies on a very good desktop monitor is the way to go. The advantage of desktop video is you are close to a good small monitor and it will be much cheaper than the large screen you need if you are going to sit metres away.

        Your eyes are more forgiving than your ears (it’s a brain thing) so you can get away with less good video than audio, so I would always spend money on the audio ahead of the video.

        cheers, Paul

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2337676
        JohnW
        AskWoody Lounger

        I don’t believe that you need to add a GPU for video, unless you plan to do 3D gaming. I would instead spend that money on a better monitor. The latest Intel UHD is quite acceptable for anything else, and supports HDMI.

        Sound is important, so the first thing to do is invest in a good set of speakers and/or a stereo system. If all you want to do is play back videos, movies, music, then the on-board Realtek chip is fine. I have a PC in the living room hooked up via HDMI to a 40″ TV, and the Realtek audio hooked up to a stereo system. I flip back and forth between the PC and a Roku streamer on an alternate HDMI port. This works great for a home theater experience!

        In my opinion, you only really need an audio card/USB audio interface if you plan to use pro level audio applications for music production.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2337677
        JohnW
        AskWoody Lounger

        Your eyes are more forgiving than your ears (it’s a brain thing) so you can get away with less good video than audio, so I would always spend money on the audio ahead of the video.

        You just reminded of the time many years ago that I bought my first Hi-Fi Stereo VHS, and hooked it up to my stereo system.

        Within a week I was out shopping for a new TV to better match that big stereo soundtrack. Too bad that TVs back then only came as heavy CRT units or bulky projection TVs, so you were rather limited to what you were willing to cart home, LOL!

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2338402
        Casey H
        AskWoody Plus

        Thanks everyone!  Sounds like the consensus reads I don’t need a video card or an audio card.  If I want to get better audio, I need better speakers. If I want better video, I need a better monitor.  So I’ll just leave things the way they are for now, as I have no complaints with either.  When the monitor ultimately quits, I’ll find a better one, and somewhere along the line I’ll update the sound system.

        Q: If I buy a monitor with built in speakers, can I supplement those with the ones I already have?

        Casey H.

      • #2338411
        JohnW
        AskWoody Lounger

        Q: If I buy a monitor with built in speakers, can I supplement those with the ones I already have?

        I have yet to find a monitor with built-in speakers that are worth bothering with. Usually very low wattage and barely audible. Probably better off with a HDTV if you want speakers that you can hear.

        Some monitors provide an audio output (via earphone jack), which might be an option if you are using either HDMI or DisplayPort (inline audio) cables to the monitor.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2338504
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        I would not buy a monitor with built-in speakers. Spend the same money on a better monitor.

        cheers, Paul

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2338670
          mn–
          AskWoody Lounger

          I have yet to find a monitor with built-in speakers that are worth bothering with.

          Eh, I remember having used one that was surprisingly good… in 1996. That CRT looked like it had big “ears” …

          Probably better off with a HDTV if you want speakers that you can hear.

          Then again some people advocate using a separate soundbar or speaker system with those too.

          Some monitors provide an audio output (via earphone jack), which might be an option if you are using either HDMI or DisplayPort (inline audio) cables to the monitor.

          This is what I currently have on my desk. Speakers could be better, sure, but then again I do have other things to spend money on, too…

          I would not buy a monitor with built-in speakers. Spend the same money on a better monitor.

          Once found to my surprise that the cheapest “good enough” monitor available locally at short notice actually also had speakers that were good enough for attending e-learning and conference calls. Entertainment wasn’t a planned purpose anyway.

          It’s a question of what is good enough for what, what is available, and how to best use your budget.

          Q: If I buy a monitor with built in speakers, can I supplement those with the ones I already have?

          Theoretically yes, but in most cases that requires some rather advanced things in software. Then again if it’s an old-style one with a separate input for the audio, you can of course even circulate the audio through an external amp/mixer…

      • #2338650
        Casey H
        AskWoody Plus

        Many thanks guys.  Is this a great place or what.

        Casey H.

      • #2338667
        F A Kramer
        AskWoody Plus

        Granted, my hearing is not the best and that may influence my selection of a $120 “soundbar” type of simple two channel stereo for audio. I have this sitting behind the monitor and connected directly to the audio output from my HP desktop computer. The sound from this simple system is quite good in my experience. I doubt I would find the spending of many hundreds more on elaborate sound equipment providing noticeable improvement.

        Once you have seen a movie in Blu-ray or better, you will not want to go back to DVD’s! I have found that the purchase of a high resolution, 120 Hertz, monitor does improve “picture quality” of Blu-ray movies enough to make the expense justifiable.

      • #2339336
        WSFloridaBill
        AskWoody Plus

        Be careful if you consider adding both a graphics and sound card. I have a new Dell XPS that cane with a graphics card but only had motherboard based audio. I tried to add a audio card and the only slot available was next to the graphics card which created interference with the sound. Fortunately, Creative helped me determine that their sound card was not compatible and allowed me to return it. Consider an external usb based sound card.

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