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I have a relatively modern computer system, in which I have installed an ancient PCI sound card which I recovered from a defunct system. Despite being over ten years old, the sound card is still significantly better than the onboard sound that comes with my motherboard.

The chassis for the computer has a set of front panel jacks for sound, which connect smoothly onto the relevant connectors on the motherboard. This, unfortunately, means that the front panel will only work with the onboard sound card, rather than the good card which requires me to reach behind the computer, unplug my speakers, and plug in my headset.


The PCI sound card does not have anything resembling a connector that the front panel cord will plug into. Now I don't know what this would be called, if it even has a specific name, or if it's just referred to as a "Front Panel" connector. Nor am I particularly interested in buying a new top of the line sound card and finding out that it similarly can't be used in a front panel situation.

So my question lies thus: If I were looking to buy a new sound card, and I wanted it to be able to use the front panel jacks, what should I be looking for? Is this a standard feature on modern cards, or must I find one with some bizarre acronym of a port and/or get an adapter?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

You should be looking for one that supports front jacks! Seriously, there is no technical term - it is sometimes called the AC-97 connector, but most of the time it is just called "Audio connectors" or "Front panel header" etc.

However, you may be able to find (In the UK ~£15) a Front panel multi bay, usually they come with a flash memory card reader, additional USB / Firewire sockets and sometimes Audio... I have seen some that simply plug in to the same on board sockets whilst others have a simple blanking plate on the back where you can plug it in to your speaker output... obviously this means everything has to go via your front panel, but I just thought I would say it as a suggestion.

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