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Sound FX HW in PC games today

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Howdy folks.

I've been out of the loop for many years. I remember the glorious days when I played Unreal 1 with my SoundBlaster-Live! and headphones, and it all sounded so real like I was really "in there", all the stuff those things emulated.
Fast-Forward maybe 15 years or so.
Then the last thing I remember reading that as of some Windows versions ago, EAX (and similar) is dead, not supported, and that's it. I haven't followed the development of what came out of that.
Then we have today.
Now I wonder mainly about 2 things:
1) Is everything that those dedicated hardware cards did years ago, done in software these days, presumably by a few big middleware flavors, as you can just throw a CPU core at it?
2) I see you can still buy expensive dedicated sound cards e.g. by Creative for more money than some people pay for their PC mainboard. What do they actually do vs. on-board sound "cards" (mainboard)?

- unshaven
 

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