Sell that Alienware laptop and you're good to go.
The Nameless Guide To PC Gaming Audio (with binaural headphone surround sound) - Page 145
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It does not (at least not due to the interface itself, rather than implementation details on specific cards), and only very bad hardware has audible jitter anyway. The belief that PCI has inherently lower jitter is probably based on the fact that the Xonar Essence ST has a clocking circuit that is missing on its PCIe counterpart; however, this difference is unrelated to the use of a PCI vs. PCIe interface. So, it is best to decide based on the availability of compatible slots on the motherboard. It could also be an advantage if the card does not have to be installed very close to the GPU, which runs hot, and may be a source of interference.
I am not sure how much difference is there between the D3 and D03k, but at least the D3 (which I know uses a relatively low end DAC chip, and measured more similarly to good onboard audio than a decent sound card) is not normally an upgrade even from a cheap sound card. Although I do not have the SBZ, from its specs it seems it has a DAC that is likely better than the FiiO. I would only use D03k (with optical input) if the sound card has interference problems.
Most of it is hype and expectation bias. The D03k works very well.
In any case, he wants something to carry the Dolby Headphone/other virtual surround signal through the optical signal to his audiophile amp. The D03k is one of the only ones to do it for cheap.
For non-virtual surround applications, he'll be using his legit dac.
Edited by Mad Lust Envy - Today at 3:39 am
My ODAC is still my "audiophile" DAC for everything stereo, and the D03K is just too add an optical DAC to my setup to have the option to accept digital signals from soundcard DSPs.
Worst (best?) case scenario is that the soundcard just sounds better, but we'll see. I wouldn't be surprised if they sound almost indistinguishable though.
Edited by chicolom - Today at 3:50 am