Onboard Sound vs PCI Sound Card
So, of course the PCI Sound card is beneficial even if in smaller ways (though, the load off the CPU and at least slightly better sound is intriguing to me), but, I am wondering, is the Onboard 5.1 channel (it has 5 ports) SoundMax Digital Audio sound be better than a sound card? My brother back in 200GodKnowsWhen (I'd say at least 2003-2006) bought a new PC with a funky motherboard (it was partially defective, you could say) and he got sick of PC's all together and jumped on the Mac train. His old PC is under a curtain rod or something in his room (lol) and instead of buying a lame ass Sound Blaster Live! $10.00 card off of eBay and replacing it for my brothers Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS as payback for breaking my expensive headphones I decided to ask my brother if his old PC had a sound card (he's into music production and such so I figured he would) and yes, it does. He said it does but it's an M-Audio for "professional stuff" (a card a 2-3 years old I'd place it isn't probably TOO pro anymore, but, then again, the Audigy 2 series is still good even though it's a bit out-dated).
He said he'd give me the card once he dug his old PC out... my mobo is an Intel 865PE or Intel 865G chipset with SoundMax Digital Audio 5.1 channels and came with my heavily upgraded Dell Dimension 4600i PC. The integrated sound is probably a little newer (though, the sound card could be a little newer than the integrated sound! I think the Dimension 4600 manufactured around 2003-2004? Probably closer to the latter) than the sound card, maybe not, does less channels mean less capabilities (beyond, of course, less speakers, I know about dB and SnR but beyond that)?
I am using a 2.1 Logitech X-230 speaker system (great set, by the way, Logitech FTW!) so I don't think I wouldn't be able to use it suddenly if it was only 4 channels or something but what do you think? I have no idea of the model number on the M-Audio, I'd go check it out for myself but my other brother (we hide our family secrets in the basement) is having a boombastic party, so, I don't think going down there and digging an old PC out from under a curtain rod then dissecting it to get a part number isn't the wisest decision at the moment.