Best PC Gaming Sound Cards of 2013

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In the 2013 under $300 category go with the Creative Sound Blaster ZxR SBX for the best sound / flexibility.Our choice for Best Sound card 2012: ASUS Xonar Essence STX Virtual 7.1 Channels PCI Express Interface 124 dB SNR / Headphone AMP CardOur Value Buy for 2012 Sound Cards: Creative Labs SB0886 PCI Express Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional Series Sound Card
In the 2013 under $300 category go with the Creative Sound Blaster ZxR SBX for the best sound / flexibility.
In the 2013 under $300 category go with the Creative Sound Blaster ZxR SBX for the best sound / flexibility.
Our choice for Best Sound card 2012: ASUS Xonar Essence STX Virtual 7.1 Channels PCI Express Interface 124 dB SNR / Headphone AMP Card
Our choice for Best Sound card 2012: ASUS Xonar Essence STX Virtual 7.1 Channels PCI Express Interface 124 dB SNR / Headphone AMP Card
Our Value Buy for 2012 Sound Cards: Creative Labs SB0886 PCI Express Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional Series Sound Card
Our Value Buy for 2012 Sound Cards: Creative Labs SB0886 PCI Express Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional Series Sound Card
If you don't have a lot of money to afford some of the higher-end sound cards, you can still get 7.1 surround output for under $30 with this Sound Card from Creative labs. (SB0570L4 Sound Blaster Audigy)
If you don't have a lot of money to afford some of the higher-end sound cards, you can still get 7.1 surround output for under $30 with this Sound Card from Creative labs. (SB0570L4 Sound Blaster Audigy)

In best sound card of 2013 we'll review the top sound cards at various price ranges and let you know which ones you should purchase.

Depending on whether you want a new sound card for listening to music, recording music, or for strictly gaming your price range will vary depending on the jacks, inputs, and other features that come with your sound card. Some gamers, for example will be looking for a sound card that supports EAX HD for a more realistic gaming experience. Since only a few cards are available that support EAX HD, you might expect to pay substantially more.

If your objective is to simply replace your onboard sound card with something a little better, then you can get one that is very reasonably priced (as little as $9!).

Why you Should Purchase your Sound Card at Amazon:

In years past I used to go to various computer retailers to purchase my hardware and audio equipment. Now I only purchase at Amazon and here's why: Amazon brings together all of the best wholesalers from around the country to compete on price. In general, I find either the best price or at least the same price on Amazon as every other major retailer out there. Several of the sound cards featured below are as much as 25-35% cheaper on Amazon than at individual wholesaler or retailer site. If you can bundle this together with free super saver shipping, you'll get the cheapest price around.

Our choice for best sound card for 2012 is the ASUS Xonar Essence STX Virtual. The feedback from consumers has been nothing less than extraordinary. After experiencing this sound card coupled with my new gaming headset, I couldn't believe the edge that this sound card gave me while gaming. I play Battlefield Bad Company II, and being able to hear my opponent's footsteps from behind has given me an advantage I had never thought about before while gaming. Another good reason to purchase an Asus soundcard is that they use only quality parts and components.

If you are looking for a bargain pick, our choice is the Creative Labs SBO886 PCI Express Sound Card which recently went down over $30 at Amazon (other sites still have it listed for $150). This is one of the bestselling and rated sound cards in the market for 2012. Here's a few of the technical details from the manufacturer:

  • Accurate 3D positional audio
  • Dolby Digital Live encoding
  • Hardware accelerated performance
  • X-RAM - Boost performance even further in games like Quake 4, Battlefield 2, Prey, Unreal Tournament 3 and others that take advantage of X-RAM
  • Clearer voice chat - Plug in your headset or microphone and hear the difference.

From Amazon:

"Realistic Gaming Effects with EAX 5.0 Technology

With support for EAX ADVANCED HD technology, the X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty delivers rich environmental effects for a complete immersive gaming experience. You'll hear bullets whizzing by your head, feel earth-shattering explosions, and experience other sound effects that bring you closer to the game."

What Consumers on Amazon are saying about the Creative Labs SBO886 PCI Express Sound Card:

"This is an awesome product. Simple to install. Lots of features. Nice looking. Amazing sound (especially the surround sound created for headphones). (It) runs all my games with crystal-clear clarity, excellent effects and positional audio without a glitch. "

..."It does as it says and improves the gaming experience. You can definitely hear things in game that you normally would not. e.g footsteps across the entire map."

Reviewing each individual product goes beyond the scope of this hub. If you are looking for additional information we recommend looking through consumer reviews at Amazon. If you are looking for a USB external sound card then check out our review of external USB sound cards.

We hope you've enjoyed our hub on the "best sound cards of 2013". If you have, then please participate in this hub by leaving a comment below. You can also support us by visiting our PC hardware, electronics, and gaming computer reviews listed below.

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