Originally Posted by fallingyuki
Just before I start I haven't got a clue what I am on about, but just need an explanation.
If you have a computer with a dedicated graphics card connected it to an amp (via HDMI) where you plug your headphones why would you need a sound card if the amp does the decoding and stuff?
If someone could explain it would really help.
Yeah you won't need the sound card. Thing is, sound cards came from back in the day when even motherboards don't have an audio decoder chip, and of course, computer speakers are active speakers (ie, they have their own amp). At the start of when people started using home theater equipment with PCs, motherboards generally didn't have SPDIF (toslink, coax) outputs on them either, and when they did, HDMI came out at around the same time. Of course the soundcards still persist for a lot of reasons, the most obvious being that not everyone will have the space on their desk to use a bulky receiver when you can just cram a card in the PC case, let alone mount speakers that usually have at least 3" midwoofers on them to at least utilize the more powerful amps on the A/V receivers (or at least they're better than what you have in a typical active speaker). Then there's the sub - HT subs are waaaay bigger than multimedia speaker sets' subs, and while you can buy 6" subs from Mirage or an even smaller one from NuForce, you pay relatively big bucks for their better (quality and outright power) output compared to PC speaker sets. A decent 5.1 computer speaker can be had for a bit under $200, but the Mirage 6" sub is around $399 I think. Manufacturers tend to assume their customers only have big rooms if they're interested in separate components, so most other HT subs are much bigger.