Differences Between USB/Firewire Soundcard As Opposed To PCI Soundcard

Soldato
Joined
4 Sep 2005
Posts
6,803
Location
UK
What are the main differences/benefits/disadvantages between using a USB/Firewire soundcard as opposed to a PCI (internal) soundcard?

What I am interested in is reagrding sound quality, ease of use, just "general" issues.

Many thanks for your help. :)
 
Associate
Joined
7 Mar 2006
Posts
546
Sound quality depends on the card itself. However, it is not uncommon for sound card manufacturers would release their flagship in PCI format before making an external/USB version. So the better card would then be internal there. Then again, you can get USB DACs, many of which are considered at least on par with the better soundcards for playback.

I think the main disadvantage of USB however, is that they tend to be more resource intensive. This may become an issue with resource intensive games, but is fine for music and movies.
 
Soldato
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
3,418
Location
North
USB cards have one plus tho - because they are external there's no "noise" due to insides of the PC - so for pro music making they are a good idea. I think the main differance really is how much data can be transfered - lets say USB could do 20 audio tracks at same time... PCI would do 30 to give an exsample.

Id only go external if you into pro music making - internal for games... as the external gaming sound cards tend to be el cheepo versions.
 
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