Originally Posted by cel4145
Certainly, onboard audio has improved over the last 10-15 years. But not all of it has. The problem is how does one know if the motherboard they are buying implements it well?
Super difficult task for someone to figure out who is not well-experienced in building machines. Could be a sound card would be a big increase or just a little increase.
Meanwhile, we do know
that the difference between a $350 and $500 video card are often not very significant. I always think that you have to double spending on a video card to get any significant improvement. Get a GeForce GTX 770 for around $350 or so, and you'll get great performance. That would leave enough for upgrading the audio quality as well.
The main point I wanted to make is that even the weakest of the latest generation on-board audio processors are acceptable, at least for a temporary solution. I work with computers, and lots of them as an IT tech, and I've been plugging my Grado, Sennheisers, and UE TF10's into probably several dozen different computers, both laptop and desktop (and mobile for that matter) and I have never thought to myself "OMG this is horrible, I can'st stand to listen to this!" Matter of fact, they all sound fine to me. If you're building a gaming PC on a budget you're going to have to make choices. You can choose to build a good gaming PC by spending on things that cannot be substituted for (quality graphics processing doesn't come on-board), or you can choose to make an expensive .mp3 player.
I agree that going with the next-to-top-model video card gives the best bang for the buck. Getting the $400 card or the $500 in the short term is not a great deal of difference performance wise, and hey $100 is not insignificant. But over the usable life of the PC, the $100 isn't that huge, but that extra performance can mean extending the usable life of the PC as newer and more demanding games come out.
EDIT: That monitor is on Amazon right now for $349
Edited by cswann1 - 2/1/14 at 9:48pm