Chapter 5. Pumping Up Your Sound and Video
In This Chapter
Selecting a sound card
Upgrading your video card
Installing your new toys
Technology has advanced so much that at last, we've reached the point where the personal computer lives up to all that personal entertainment hoopla. You know — the idea that your PC is at the center of your gaming, audio, and TV environment. Or, as I've been putting it for the past couple of years (another one of Mark's Maxims):
One box to rule them all and in the den to find them.™
(Man, I love that one. That's T-shirt material.)
However, putting your PC at the center of your digital lifestyle is a bit difficult if you're still stuck with a subpar sound card or if your computer's video card is more than two or three years old. Look at what you're missing out on: Closing your eyes and enjoying Dolby Surround sound with better than CD-quality audio, watching TV with TiVo-style control on your PC's crystal-clear LCD monitor, listening to streaming Internet radio and playing online games where you can behead a super-realistic, 3D orc with extreme prejudice. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a good time to be alive!
If your system needs an audiovisual upgrade, you'll find what you need to know right here.
Sound Card Features to Covet
The first stop on your audiovisual upgrade tour is your PC's sound card (naturally). Shoppers, in this section, I show you what to look for when comparing sound cards.
3D spatial imaging
Most PC owners think of 3D sound as purely a ...