Sound card

In the early days of personal computers, the only sound was a few bleeps coming from a small cheap speaker inside the machine.

But people wanted sound and music on their computer, so companies began to develop expansion cards that could handle sound independently of the underpowered CPU's of the time.

A typical sound card slots into one of the expansion slots within the PC.

A very popular card is one of the 'Sound Blaster' series but there are many others as well.

They started out providing good basic stereo performance that game-makers took advantage of to make their games so much more interesting (Try playing a game with the sound off!). But these days a good sound card can also handle advanced audio technology such as Dolby and 5.1 surround sound.

Most sound cards have a 'Mic' input for microphone that allows you to speak into the system either for voice recording or real-time applications such as Skype for telephone and Ventrilo for gaming,

They also include a 'Line' input for general purpose connections and a 'Speaker' socket for headphones.

If high power audio is needed there are also output jack sockets for connection to an external power amplifier.

The alternative to a sound card is to make use of the built-in sound chip normally present on the motherboard (AC97 is very common). If all you need is a reasonable sound quality then this alternative is perfectly fine. But if you are a keen gamer or music listener, then a dedicated sound card is the way to go.

Challenge see if you can find out one extra fact on this topic that we haven't already told you

Click on this link: Sound card


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