It's time for another exciting addition to my multi-part series about building the perfect PC. This time, we're talking about the sound card, an item of perpetual debate among PC gamers. Welcome to the fray!
Naming conventions in the PC world are just terrific. By looking at what the name of a PC component is, it won't be a huge leap in logic to guess what that component does. In this case, the sound card handles all the sound-based needs of your computer. "Sound-based needs" covers a lot of ground, ranging from any noise your computer makes through your speaker system to the greatest sounds of operatic singer Andrea Bocelli (if you don't have him in your music collection, you should hear some of his music - great stuff) to the explosions produced by the gun you just fired inside the latest FPS to hit the market.
If you've ever walked inside a BOSE store, you know what I mean when I say "perfect sound". I hate to toot their horn because they're so pricey, but they really do produce an amazing product - life-like sound can make an experience 10 times what it would have been without the sound. But do speakers need to break the bank in order to be amazing? We'll discuss this in a future article, but for now, the simple answer is no.
Perfect sound comes from two sources - the first being the sound card, and the second being the speakers. Much like great picture with bad sound or bad picture with great sound, the sound card and speakers work the exact same way.
Great sound cards will carry with them a legacy of generating great sound. With the perfect speaker-sound card pairing, your system will be able to literally make you jump out of your seat with joy, anger, sadness, or fear, depending on which one the situation calls for.