Most motherboards do include onboard or built-in sound cards which used to be very basic but now they are really worth considering if you are only going to be using your PC for everyday tasks.
If however you are into your music or playing games you should look into adding a separate or dedicated sound card, the quality in sound output will be noticeably higher with a crisper, cleaner sound. The costs of sound cards are also so cheap that a decent card with 6-channel and more functions will only cost around £15 and is well worth it.
Power down your PC and switch it off at the wall. Remove the screws holding the sides of the case on and carefully slide off both panels.
Wearing an anti-static wristband is preferable whenever working with sensitive electrical equipment. Keeping one hand on a metal part of the case will have the same effect, though you may need both hands when installing certain items of hardware.
Look for an empty PCI slot and remove the backing plate covering it. On most cases you will need to remove a screw and slide it out, though on some the metal plate is fixed to the case and must be prised out using a flat-blade screwdriver or pliers.
If you are replacing an old sound card, you will need to take it out by removing the screw holding the backing plate in place and sliding it carefully out of its slot.
You may need to plug in the audio cable from your CD-ROM drive if you wish to play audio CD's. There is often a slot on the top edge of the card where this cable plugs in, and an example is shown on the right.
Once the card is correctly seated (pressed in) , screw the backing plate down to the secure the card into the case.
Finally, replace the sides of your case and plug your machine back in, ensuring that you have your speakers plugged in correctly to test them once installed.
Once your machine has finished booting, you should be presented with the install new hardware box. Install the drivers from the CD and follow the wizard. You may also wish to run the Installation program on the disc to add any additional utilities or applications bundled with your new card.
If you have any problems, check you have the speakers plugged in correctly and that the device is reported as working in Device Manager, located in Control Panel - System - Hardware. You should also check that it isn't muted by going to Start - Programs - Accessories - Entertainment - Volume Control. If you have onboard sound, you should make sure that this is also uninstalled or disabled in the BIOS to prevent any conflicts.