Over the last few years the quality of audio functionality on motherboards has increased significantly. The standard offerings such as Realtek’s 7.1 Channel 888 chipset offer a large amount of features with little cost to RRP of the board. Some manufacturers even go a step further by adding features such as daughter cards with advanced solutions based on Creative’s X-Fi technology.
Despite the improvements in audio chipsets a bad implementation on a motherboard can cause issues such as distortion, crackling and static. In those cases the option is to change the entire motherboard or buy an add-in card.