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How Sound Cards Work

Other Options for Sound Control

External sound controller
Photo courtesy HowStuffWorks Shopper

Not every computer has a sound card. Some motherboards feature integrated audio support instead. A motherboard that has its own DSP can process multiple data streams. It may also support 3-D positional and Dolby surround sound. However, in spite of these features, most reviewers agree that separate sound cards provide better audio quality.

Laptops usually have integrated sound capabilities on their motherboards or small sound cards. However, space and temperature control considerations make top-of-the-line internal cards impractical. So, laptop users can purchase external sound controllers, which use USB or FireWire connections. These external modules can significantly improve laptop sound quality.

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For more information on sound cards and related topics, check out the links on the following page.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

More Great Links

Sources

  • Computer Hope: Sound Card ABCshttp://www.computerhope.com/help/sound.htm
  • PC World: Audio Nirvana http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/article/0,aid,113750,00.asp
  • Microsoft: Sound Card 101 http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/games/learnmore/soundcard101.mspx
  • Tom's Hardware Guide: Creative X-Fi: A New World of Sound http://www.tomshardware.com/consumer/20050818/index.html
  • Linux Sound How To http://www.djcj.org/LAU/guide/Sound-HOWTO-2.html
  • DAC-ADC http://www.gae.ucm.es/~padilla/extrawork/adc.html
  • The Tech Report http://techreport.com/reviews/2002q2/soundcards/index.x?pg=1
  • Extreme Tech: State of the Industry http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,1740269,00.asp
  • Extreme Tech: Creative Labs X-Fi http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1558,1850360,00.asp
  • Tom's Hardware Guide: Creative's X-Fi Sounds Fabulous http://www.tomshardware.com/consumer/20050705/index.html
  • Soundblaster http://www.soundblaster.com/

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