How to Tell What Sound Card Your PC is Currently Using

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Your computer’s sound card is an important component that allows audio input and output. But how can you identify exactly which sound card your PC has installed? There are several methods to determine your current sound card.

How to See Sound Card

Sound cards responsible for processing an audio signal to output devices, such as speakers and headphones. In this guide, you will learn how to check what sound card (brand) your desktop PC or laptop is using. The following guide can be applied to Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10.

1. Click on the Start button.

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2. Search for Device Manager and run the program.

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3. Expand Sound, video and game controllers. You would see the sound card device on your computer.

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Use the dxdiag Command

Another fast way to check your sound card is by using the dxdiag command. dxdiag shows detailed diagnostic information about your computer’s hardware and components. Follow these steps:

  1. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type “dxdiag” and press Enter.
  3. When the DirectX Diagnostic Tool opens, click on the Sound tab.

Here you will find the name and details of your sound card driver under the Sound Devices section.

Benefits: dxdiag provides more technical specifics about your sound card compared to Device Manager. It also shows if your sound card driver is up to date.

Check Your Computer Model Specs

If you have a pre-built computer from a manufacturer like Dell or HP, you can look up the factory specs online.

  1. Go to the manufacturer’s website and find the support section.
  2. Search for your exact computer model number or serial number.
  3. The technical specifications page for your model will list the sound card installed by the manufacturer.

This can help if you need more details about an integrated sound card or want to confirm what came with your PC.


Why there is more than one sound card?

Not all of them are sound cards. Some just audio drivers/software and hardware such as speakers and headphones. In my case, NVIDIA High Definition Audio is just an incremental feature from the graphics card, but basically, my computer already has a sound card on the motherboard.

Do I have to buy a sound card for my PC?

No, you don’t have to. Most PCs these days — or I would say, in the last two decades, are equipped with a built-in sound card on their motherboard.

Of course, there are many sound cards still being sold today, but they are for audiophiles and professional usages such as audio tuning and recording. For daily purposes (including gaming), your onboard sound card already doing the job really well.

How do I find what sound card is in my computer?

You can find your sound card by pressing the Windows key + Pause key, selecting Device Manager, and clicking the arrow next to “Sound, video and game controllers”. Your sound card will be listed there.

Is Realtek a sound card?

Realtek is not a sound card, but a company that manufactures audio codecs, which are used in sound cards. For example, the Realtek ALC892 is a high-performance multi-channel High Definition Audio Codec.

How do I find my motherboard audio codec?

You can find your motherboard audio codec by going to Device Manager, double-clicking “Sound, Video and Game Controllers”, and then double-clicking the audio device. The name of the sound card and its manufacturer will be displayed.

How do I activate the sound card on my computer?

To activate your sound card, reboot your computer and enter BIOS by pressing the hot key during boot. Locate the onboard sound option and select “Enabled”. Save and exit to reboot your system. Windows should automatically locate the applicable driver.