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Re: Who is still using PCI slots these days?

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:57 am
by Usacomp2k3
Waco wrote:
What am I missing?

On my computers I always use the built-in laptop speakers or on my wife's desktop, the amazing soundbar Dell used to make (the old version of this from ~2008):
https://www.dell.com/en-us/work/shop/de ... polaris-pd

Re: Who is still using PCI slots these days?

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:02 am
by Krogoth
PCI has been completely dropped on modern platforms. It is all PCIe now. PCI has finally entered the retirement home to meet ISA, EISA and VLB. ;)

Re: Who is still using PCI slots these days?

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:17 am
by DancinJack
It's a matter of personal preference, mostly. On-board is so vastly better than it used to be, and a lot of boards even include decent amps to drive good headphones now. I just prefer a few of the features of my external DAC/AMP (and its sound) compared to the on-board.

Re: Who is still using PCI slots these days?

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:28 am
by Chrispy_
just brew it! wrote:
Will probably move my Xonar to the new Ryzen system once that build gets off the ground. I'll probably keep the old FX-8350 build around for a while though (I typically do this whenever I upgrade). It has a PCI slot, so I may pop my old Turtle Beach Santa Cruz or M-Audio Revolution in there so it still has decent audio.


Holy thread Necro, JBI! Seriously though, isn't internal audio dead now, from an audiophile perspective?
I was under the impression that anyone who cares about SNR has moved to an external USB DAC or HDMI receiver - and anyone who doesn't is more than happy with onboard crabbies.

Re: Who is still using PCI slots these days?

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:06 pm
by just brew it!
Waco wrote:
Maybe my ears have gotten worse over the years, but I've been happy enough with the onboard audio on my last few boards to ditch dedicated sound cards. They used to be utter garbage, but recent ones have very little crosstalk, a very low noise floor, plenty of dynamic range, good slew rates, etc.

I get if you're driving headphones you might want something a little more esoteric (for those big high impedance cans) but even those are fairly well served by onboard on recent boards.

What am I missing?

Main issue I've had with Realtek is driving headphones. VIA (back when they were more common as an onboard solution) did not have this issue.

I figure decent discrete soundcards aren't that expensive, and you can use 'em across multiple builds since the tech doesn't change much.

That said, I agree that onboard is generally "good enough" these days.

Re: Who is still using PCI slots these days?

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:15 pm
by just brew it!
Chrispy_ wrote:
Holy thread Necro, JBI! Seriously though, isn't internal audio dead now, from an audiophile perspective?
I was under the impression that anyone who cares about SNR has moved to an external USB DAC or HDMI receiver - and anyone who doesn't is more than happy with onboard crabbies.

If I get a discrete soundcard again it'll probably be external. This may or may not ever happen.

The Xonar sounds marginally better than the onboard, drives headphones without struggling, and has cutoff relays for the analog outputs which prevent loud "thumps" when the system gets power cycled.

Re: Who is still using PCI slots these days?

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:29 pm
by The Egg
I use SPDIF out from my onboard sound chip to my DAC, rather than the USB connection. I figure it has less CPU overhead than USB, though I don't have any evidence to prove this.

Re: Who is still using PCI slots these days?

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:58 pm
by Blahpony
I have a tuner in my server that is pci. It's fairly old but still does the job.

Re: Who is still using PCI slots these days?

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:38 pm
by just brew it!
The Egg wrote:
I use SPDIF out from my onboard sound chip to my DAC, rather than the USB connection. I figure it has less CPU overhead than USB, though I don't have any evidence to prove this.

It probably does, but both are probably low enough that with a modern CPU it's lost in the noise. More importantly, it probably has lower latency.

For me, CPU usage of the sound card driver is pretty much a non-issue. I run JACK (with several EQ plugins) as my audio stack, so that's constantly soaking up a few percent of a CPU core anyway, which is probably way more than the driver.

Re: Who is still using PCI slots these days?

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:43 pm
by derFunkenstein
Waco wrote:
What am I missing?

Nothing, although I might have some hearing loss. :lol:

IMO the last great frontier for onboard audio is input, not output. Latency isn't even really an issue thanks to ASIO4ALL. It's really just all about getting the best quality inputs you possibly can.

Re: Who is still using PCI slots these days?

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:56 pm
by CScottG
Chrispy_ wrote:

Holy thread Necro, JBI!


-resuscitated on a whm? :P

Re: Who is still using PCI slots these days?

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 5:05 pm
by CScottG
..my Skylake server board has 4 PCI slots (and 3 PCIe slots). 1 of which I use for my Echo Layla 3G (1 of which is covered by the graphics card, and the other two I've got for wifi cards for some VM's passthrough).

I got the Layla 3G for 8-out at full 24/96 AND with 2 preamp mic. in, but mostly for the 8-out at the time. Really, most new Audio Interfaces (as they are now called) of similar ability are at least as expensive as what I payed for the Layla 3G (..I think I purchased mine for $299 from B&H Photo 2013-14, when it was discounted.)

Re: Who is still using PCI slots these days?

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 5:07 pm
by JustAnEngineer
Waco wrote:
I've been happy enough with the onboard audio on my last few boards to ditch dedicated sound cards. What am I missing?
You haven’t picked the right motherboards for a terrible audio experience. My ASRock Z390M Pro4 is one that convinced me to scrounge up a SoundBlaster to stick in a free PCIe slot. My previous 3 motherboards had acceptable on-board sound.

Re: Who is still using PCI slots these days?

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 5:29 pm
by Waco
JustAnEngineer wrote:
You haven’t picked the right motherboards for a terrible audio experience.

Ha, that's an interesting way of putting it. :)

Re: Who is still using PCI slots these days?

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 5:58 pm
by K-L-Waster
JustAnEngineer wrote:
Waco wrote:
I've been happy enough with the onboard audio on my last few boards to ditch dedicated sound cards. What am I missing?
You haven’t picked the right motherboards for a terrible audio experience.


Please repeat that phrase slowly a few times....

Re: Who is still using PCI slots these days?

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 6:04 pm
by just brew it!
TBH I think one of the better (if not the best) onboard sound I've had on a motherboard was, ironically. on one of the cheaper motherboards I've owned -- Asus M3A78-CM, circa 2009. Was the last motherboard I've owned that had a VIA sound chip on it.

Re: Who is still using PCI slots these days?

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:25 pm
by bthylafh
My current mainboard's onboard sound is pretty good. Good enough that I decided not to bother with the Xonar DX from my previous build, and I like the Realtek drivers better anyway.

Re: Who is still using PCI slots these days?

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:35 pm
by chuckula
I use the TOS-LINK output from my motherboard to a Yamaha receiver and it seems to work pretty well. The optical link prevents electrical noise, although the on-board chip is nothing special.

Re: Who is still using PCI slots these days?

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:39 pm
by JustAnEngineer
I previously wrote:
Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio PCI Express offered PCIe in 2006. Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium made it ubiquitous and affordable in 2008. I haven't needed a PCI slot in the ten years since then.
It's been more than a decade since I needed a legacy PCI slot.

Re: Who is still using PCI slots these days?

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:52 pm
by Dsp4live
I’ve got 32bit PCI Cards packed with 15 x Analog Devices SHARC DSP Chips.
They’re over 15 years old and still offer automated/MIDI Controlled Stereo and Surround Mixers.
The difference in audio quality is barely noticeable between then and now, and easily overcome with external hardware routed into the DSP Project wondow.

I no longer use it but just the idea of having it laying around.
The P4 Northeood CPU and Supermicro P4SCT+II motherboard is a beauty too.
All in a nice 4U Chassis.

Funny thing is to this day there’s no other Audio Interface with better automation, except the latest DSP Racks.
Those Dogs Will Hunt.