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The SoundBlaster set the standard for PC sound cards many years ago. Up until recently, virtually all sound cards were "SoundBlaster compatible", but most cheap PCs have integrated sound on the motherboard, so there isn't actually a separate sound card.

In recent years, much more advanced sound cards/On-board chips have replaced the old soundblaster "standard", and with the advent of hardware virtualization, such as ALSA, SDL, and DirectX, sound card chipsets have been deemed almost irelevant(in regards to compatibility), but older DOS-based programs and such still rely on Soundblaster technology... Fortunately programs such as DOSBox (an MS-Dos emulator/VM) and VDMSound exist to run these legacy applications in a Windows Nt/2k/XP or Linux environment.