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Laptops with good sound cards

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

I am going away to college next year, so I am getting a new laptop. Any suggestions on laptops with good sound cards? I have a $1000ish budget. My parents wont pay for a DAC even if I get a cheaper laptop, so that is not an option.

post #2 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkseatcheese View Post

I am going away to college next year, so I am getting a new laptop. Any suggestions on laptops with good sound cards? I have a $1000ish budget. My parents wont pay for a DAC even if I get a cheaper laptop, so that is not an option.


We have a budget, how 'bout a featureset?  Gaming or web+music+school?  How 'bout screen size?  13.3, 15.6, or 17?

post #3 of 32
Thread Starter 

I am sure that I will be playing some games, but I am leaving my gaming desktop at home b/c I passed out of my gaming phase a year or so ago. So I am mainly concerned with school stuff and music. A lot of the games I like are old anyways, so I will be able to play them on almost anything. Screen size, I guess 15.6, as I had a 17 that broke some years ago and it always felt too big, but I wouldn't have a problem with a 13.3. I know a good amount about computers, I built my gaming rig, but the only thing I know absolutely nothing about is sound cards. Especially in laptops since everything in laptops is integrated.

post #4 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkseatcheese View Post

I am sure that I will be playing some games, but I am leaving my gaming desktop at home b/c I passed out of my gaming phase a year or so ago. So I am mainly concerned with school stuff and music. A lot of the games I like are old anyways, so I will be able to play them on almost anything. Screen size, I guess 15.6, as I had a 17 that broke some years ago and it always felt too big, but I wouldn't have a problem with a 13.3. I know a good amount about computers, I built my gaming rig, but the only thing I know absolutely nothing about is sound cards. Especially in laptops since everything in laptops is integrated.


Then you can find options with me.  Look for models with Realtek onboard sound outs.  Stick to retail stores (Fry's, Newegg, NCIX) rather than makers (Dell, HP, etc.)

 

post #5 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hybrys View Post


Then you can find options with me.  Look for models with Realtek onboard sound outs.  Stick to retail stores (Fry's, Newegg, NCIX) rather than makers (Dell, HP, etc.)

 

 

This.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834146613

 

Blazing fast i7 quad core, and Realtek onboard sound.

 

Alternative in an i5:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834220725

Fast dual core (four threads) i5, with a better video card, and a bluray drive.  Slightly worse sound quality, technically speaking.  I've had a Conexant SmartAudio in my old Gateway, and it was perfectly fine.

 

Another i5:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834110406

 

i5, nVidia video card, and a Realtek onboard sound chip.


Edited by Hybrys - 5/23/10 at 11:38pm
post #6 of 32
Thread Starter 

Thank you very much for the help, I think I like the quad core, ive gotten used to having one. Just out of curiosity, how do you tell that it has the Realtek sound card? I cant find anything saying that on newegg.

post #7 of 32

If you plan on carrying your laptop around (to class, labs, etc) I would highly recommend sticking with a 13". I carried a 6.5lb 15" around freshman year - no fun at all. You can always add a cheap 19" monitor if you need a bigger screen in your room.

post #8 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkseatcheese View Post

Thank you very much for the help, I think I like the quad core, ive gotten used to having one. Just out of curiosity, how do you tell that it has the Realtek sound card? I cant find anything saying that on newegg.


Head to their website and check their Audio drivers.

post #9 of 32

..are you looking for an external "soundcard" or an external DAC?

post #10 of 32

The better ones are the notebooks with IDT sound chips inside.  These goes to the HP and Dell's, I think.

 

 

post #11 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by TopQuark View Post

The better ones are the notebooks with IDT sound chips inside.  These goes to the HP and Dell's, I think.


Wait, what?  IDT sound chips are probably the worst ones.  I have a former $2500 Dell XPS in my living room as a server, with an IDT sound chip, and it's the worst thing I've ever heard.  I prefer my car radio.

post #12 of 32

Alienware laptops are well known for having High definition soundcards. 

post #13 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by desktophifi View Post

Alienware laptops are well known for having High definition soundcards. 


One, finding a 15.6 Alienware for under 1k is not going to happen. Two, they're not the best quality either.  Infact, they use IDT chips, like Dell.  -_-


Edited by Hybrys - 5/25/10 at 9:03pm
post #14 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hybrys View Post


Wait, what?  IDT sound chips are probably the worst ones.  I have a former $2500 Dell XPS in my living room as a server, with an IDT sound chip, and it's the worst thing I've ever heard.  I prefer my car radio.


Hmmm.  I A/B'd Realtek, IDT, and Analog Devices chips.  I like IDT the best.  Do you have the newer "89X" versions?  The latest HP Elite PC's are using IDT chips.

 

Regardless, I don't disagree all these chips can't compare with an off-board DAC/Amp.

 

post #15 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by TopQuark View Post


Hmmm.  I A/B'd Realtek, IDT, and Analog Devices chips.  I like IDT the best.  Do you have the newer "89X" versions?  The latest HP Elite PC's are using IDT chips.

 

Regardless, I don't disagree all these chips can't compare with an off-board DAC/Amp.

 


I've got an ALC272 in this notebook.  I've also heard several IDT chips (The XPS is ancient; it was an unfair comparison.) and it's not that they're terrible, I just usually find the Realtek to be better. more detailed and less noise.

 

Along with this, you must remember that laptops are completely different beasts.  A/Bing desktops to find a laptop chip doesn't really work.  Also remember the problems with sighted testing and volume matching.

 

And, if you read the OP, they won't let him/her get a cheaper laptop and an external DAC.  This is a stopgap method.


Edited by Hybrys - 5/25/10 at 10:42pm
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