TR Forum Tidings: Integrated or discrete audio?

The star thread in this week's forum tidings feature is this specimen from our Echo Vale forum. In the thread, gerbil newbie pikaporeon is asking for input on whether he should purchase a discrete sound card to complement his 2.1 Bose speakers or just stick with his Realtek integrated audio.

Pikaporeon's thread has already garnered a fair number of replies, and the response is somewhat mixed: while many extol the virtues of discrete sound cards, such as low background noise and clearer sound, others claim onboard audio is just fine with average-quality speakers. The fact that discrete sound cards sound better with decent speakers or headphones is no mystery, but pikaporeon seems more worried about overall value than obtaining the best sound quality.

Where do you stand on this issue? Are you partial to the fidelity of discrete sound cards, or do you get by well enough with onboard audio? What would you recommend? Feel free to contribute to pikaporeon's thread to share your thoughts, and don't forget to register a forum account first if you don't already have one.

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