Best Sound Card for Analog Out <$40

I’m using onboard sound right now and in order to use all it’s features I need a cable that costs $20. So I decided heck, why not buy a sound card.

Here’s the one I’m looking at: CHAINTECH 7.1 Model “AV-710”.

I’m using the analog out to hook up a combination of my mini-stereo system and some 25 year old Sensui Speakers that I have. It sounds pretty good on my brother’s Santa Cruz, this is cheaper and should have better support for games.

I’m going to mostly use the sound card for DVD’s and MP3’s, with the occasional game.

What drivers are the best?
Will flashing the bios give me a boost in sound quality?

To be honest, if your needs are simple as you have written above, and you are gonna go with analog output, I think a Creative SB Live or SB Live Value will suffice your needs. I used to have one and I think it was an amazing card as far as bang for your buck and it was actually able to do a lot and can even handle current games, only loss is in how many speakers you can output to and if you have a true muscian’s ear then maybe yuou can hear some sort of difference between that and newer models of sound cards that some people actually claim to hear… one of the perks of being tone death…hehehe :wink:

Yes that’s right.

And with the right drivers, certain cards can (partialy) be upgraded to SB Audigy 2 :slight_smile:

You’ve made the smart and wise decision by considering the AV-710, which uses the Envy24HT-S chip. You can get the latest driver from VIA Arena. Creative’s live and audigy series is inferior by a large margin, but most people wouldn’t know or wouldn’t care, 'cause if it’s a sound card made by creative, it’s got to be good right?

Google for the AV-710 card, there are lots of posts in various forums discussing how to setup the card for optimal performance.