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I've experienced audio hick-ups when playing Battlefield 3. I suspect that it's caused by to high CPU load, so I'm considering discrete sound card. Currently I'm using on board one (VIA VT 1708S). I'm considering switching to something like eg. ASUS Xonar DG. I'm interested in stereo sound, as I'm using headphones.

Will that improve my audio experience (as in no more hick-ups), and reduce CPU load?

EDIT:

To make question more clear cut:

  • Is audio processing using on-board card such as VIA HD (VIA VT 1708S) hardware accelerated or it's all CPU?
  • Is audio processing using discrete card such as Xonar DG hardware accelerated?
  • Will I note significant improvement switching from one to another?
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Are the headphones USB? or good ole' 3.5mm plugs? USB headphones typically have a built-in USB audio-chipset in them that typically skips any/all audio hardware in the system. So buying an add-on card becomes useless. –  TheCompWiz Jan 12 '12 at 17:49
    
Normal 3.5mm, Creative Fatal1ty HS-800. –  vartec Jan 13 '12 at 9:33
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1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Getting a dedicate sound card will definitely improves your sound experience (provide you have good speaker/headphone). But if your audio hick-ups is really caused by high CPU load. Then you might still get the same problem.

  • Is audio processing using on-board card such as VIA HD (VIA VT 1708S) hardware accelerated or it's all CPU

    CPU

  • Is audio processing using discrete card such as Xonar DG hardware accelerated?

    Yes

  • Will I note significant improvement switching from one to another?

    Probably not

Onboard soundcard does use CPU time, but only a few percent <10%. By using dedicate sound card, you can offload that amount of CPU. Question is, is that <10% CPU time you gain is sufficient to make your game run smoothly?

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I obviously have a discrete GPU (HD5670), otherwise the game wouldn't even run. This doesn't however answer my question if discrete audio card will reduce CPU load. –  vartec Jan 13 '12 at 10:43
    
Sorry, I didn't know you already have a discrete graphic card since you wrote "I'm considering discrete graphics card" which now I realize that you meant discrete sound card. I'll edit my answer accordingly –  chmod Jan 14 '12 at 3:48
    
May I ask what CPU are you using? –  chmod Jan 14 '12 at 3:57
    
My, bad, meant sound card obviously, corrected. CPU is Athlon II x2 240e. Anyway, from what I've found out it's worth switching to Xonar for excellent sound quality while using headphones, regardless if it'll affect CPU significantly. –  vartec Jan 15 '12 at 22:17
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