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Onboard SigmaTel STAC9227 Vs. Audigy 2 ZS

It's a long story, but in short, I did a simple rebuild of my computer and I am now using an Intel DP965LT Motherboard which has an integrated SigmaTel STAC9227 Audio Codec. I have a Audigy 2 ZS sitting here unused. The integrated audio is very limited on it's outputs, simply line out, line in, and mic. I have a 5.1 speaker set so I was able to configure the drive to output on mic and line out.

Prior to this setup, I was using a Dell XPS 420 which had an SigmaTel (IDT) sound card, but had full 5.1 output plus line in and line out as well as optical out. I have noticed the sound on this Intel motherboard isn't as clear, when there is heavy CPU usage, I can hear slight "hissing" in the audio.

So, between the two cards, which has better specs per say? I am running Windows 8 Pro. I understand the drivers for Creative isn't the best, but found on some forums some 3rd party drivers that are supposed to be half way decent. I am also aware I will lose my front panel audio ports with the Creative card, but I can live without that.

This system is a Q6600 with 8 GB Ram with a 660 GTX which still suits my needs so I really don't have any plans on upgrading in the near future, so even investing in another sound card wouldn't be a best investment if it will connect to my front audio ports.

Thanks in advance as always.

Mclean, VA
Try the Creative card, you have nothing to lose. Just remember that the rear/sub/center channels actually sound better than the primary stereo channel. One third party driver fixes that by remapping the channels.