Originally Posted by atomdude
i am not looking for an external USB, actually i want an inter PCIe card. should any 7.1 do? or a specific one?
The internal soundcards typically don't sound as good as an external USB or FireWire audio interface, but there are some that are pretty good. Just do a google search for '7.1 pci sound card'. By going with an internal consumer sound card, you will also be using lower quality connections (3.5 mm jacks instead of balanced TSR or 1/4" connectors) between the card and your amps. If your amps use RCA connectors for analog input, that may not be as big a deal. This will probably add a little more noise and distortion to your sound system, but you may not notice it.
I am using a couple ASUS cards on my general purpose PCs and they do the job. I personally think they work better than Creative Lab's Sound Blaster cards.
The one I mentioned in my previous post (ASUS Essence STX II 7.1) is probably the best consumer pci sound card available. However, it's not sold at most online retailers and if it is, is a lot more expensive than any other internal consumer sound card.
After your search, read the reviews. Don't get discouraged though, there is no perfect product and you'll read a lot of negative comments. Here's a few less expensive ones to consider:
ASUS Xonar DX 7.1
ASUS Xonar D1 7.1
The 3 specs most people pay attention to for DACs (even though there is a lot more to consider) is the max bit depth, max sample rate and SNR (signal to noise ratio). You want a card that at least has a max bit depth of 24 bits, max sample rate of 96 KHz (many support 192 KHz) and SNR of greater than 112 dB.
I'd also recommend browsing other websites and look for discussions about internal sound cards. The interact forum on Jriver's site is a good place to start.
JRiver Interact Forum - Sound Cards, etc.