A computer sound card is essential if you want to enjoy your computer to its fullest. They could be built into the motherboard but a far better quality sound is usually obtained from the addition of a third-party card. The sound card will simply slot onto your motherboard and will make an unbelievable difference to the sound output of your PC.

Below we have listed 9 of the best computer sound cards currently on the market.

  • Creative technology sound blaster X-Fi is an excellent sound card from Creative. Creative has been in the sound card market for years and most of their products are good. The Blaster X-Fi is no exception. This is a fantastic sound card at a very reasonable price. One minor problem with it is that it cannot rip to MP3 right out of the box.
  • Sound Blaster Audigy 4 is another helping from Creative and another 7.1 cards. At only $30 this card is superb value and has some features that some more expensive cards don’t have. Clear, crisp sound at a great price. It can’t be beaten for value.
  • They don’t just have to be internal. The M-Audio Fast Track Pro Sound Card is an external 24 Bit card that supports Dolby AC-3 sound and has several features that the internal cards don’t have such as physical knobs for things such as volume and tone.
  • Champion International Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum Fatal1ty Champion Series is another helping from Creative. These guys dominate the market with their mix of superb quality, great value, and a good reputation. This is a plug-in card that supports 7.1 sound and has 64Mb of internal memory.
  • Diamond Multimedia XtremeSound 7.1 is a card that supports the standard Dolby 7.1 sound. A great PCI card with fantastic sound quality and good software. On the downside the documentation is thin and the volume controls make a funny clicking sound that you don’t seem to be able to disable.
  • ASUS XONAR DX PCI EXPRESS 1.0 RET is a plug-in PCI card with 256Mb onboard. This card doesn’t support the new 7.1 formats but it does have a great sound quality and comes with some exceptional features.
  • Auzentech X-Fi Prelude 7.1 soundcard is a top-end card that isn’t aimed at the mainstream market with a price tag of nearly $200. Great sound quality; excellent driver support; onboard Dolby Digital Live and DTS encoding make this an unbelievable sound card. If you are a pro or an extreme audiophile you will love this card but the average user will never use half the features.
  • The Terratec Aureon 7.1 is a sound card from Terratec. The card supports Dolby 7.1 and has analog as well as digital connectors. Of course, you don’t have to install all 8 speakers to use your Terratec Aureon card, it will work just fine with 6. A great feature of this card is the gold plated backplate, it looks stunning and sounds even better.
  • Edirol UA-25 is a versatile and well priced sound card. Extremely easy to use and very clean and crisp sound quality. The Edirol UA-35 is the card for you if you want great build quality however the card only has 2 analog inputs which could be a major turn off for some consumers.

Your sound card is an essential luxury to any computer system. It could be the difference between a good sounding computer speaker system and a great sounding computer system.