PCI Audio Accelerator
The picture above shows the PCI Audio Accelerator. It is an integrated audio chip. Integrated means
that it is "built-in" to the motherboard. Some people might also call it an "onboard" sound chip.
Motherboards with integrated audio, (or sound), do not need a sound card. These generic sound chips
are capable of producing fairly good quality sound without the need of any additional add-on cards.
Some motherboards also have integrated video, which is capable of producing fairly decent quality
video without the need for a video card. Integrated audio and video cuts down the cost of a computer.
This is why some places are able to sell computers much cheaper than others. It is important to
know that integrated audio and integrated video can not replace the higher quality audio and video
that most expansion cards provide. If you like video games and have a computer with integrated
video, you would most likely see a big difference if you were to add a $50 video card to your computer.
If you were to add a $200 GeForce 6600 GT video card, you would see an even bigger difference. It
only goes to reason that you usually get what you pay for. The same is true with sound cards. If
you're into high quality sound, integrated audio will not perform like a $100 Creative Labs Sound
Blaster Audigy 2 card will. Depending on what you do with your computer, integrated audio and video
may be just fine. For some people, they are worse than drinking a glass full of sour milk!