PCs are available with either onboard sound or a separate sound card (typically referred to as a PCI Card). A quality sound card can help you turn your computer into an exciting multimedia entertainment system, so you can listen to CDs, watch DVDs & streaming videos, hold online voice chats with your friends or hear the realistic sound effects from the latest computer games.
When choosing which sound card is right for your computer consider that the higher the impact of sound is to your computer experience the more consideration you should place on getting the best possible sound card.
“PCI” refers to Peripheral Component Interconnect, a set of high-speed conductors developed by Intel. PCI supports Plug and Play and allows for the connection of multiple peripheral devices to your system. If the PC is going to be used as a stereo system, upgrading the sound card will enhance the clarity of the sound.
Sound cards also offer something called “Wavetable support,” which allows them to play various instrumental sounds more realistically for better effects in games and other applications.
Generally, a sound card will either support 2 channel (1 set of speakers), 4.1 channel (two pairs of speakers plus subwoofer), 5.1 channel (5 satellite speakers plus subwoofer) and so on.
Just as with a stereo system, speakers are essential to hearing what the sound card produces. If you are looking for your new PC to be used as a Home Entertainment system to play music and DVD movies then you should look at purchasing a high quality speaker system that includes satellite speakers and a sub-woofer to increase the overall sound experience – either 4.1, 5.1 or 7.1 channel surround sound speakers.