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The new ASUS Xonar sound card features a custom sound processor

ASUS revealed new details of the upcoming Xonar D2-series at Computex 2007. The ASUS Xonar D2-series will spawn PCI and PCIe variants – the D2 and D2X. A custom sound processor dubbed the ASUS AV200 powers the Xonar D2-series.

ASUS requested a sound processor that met certain specifications and C-Media engineered and manufactured it, states ASUS multimedia product project manager Sean Lai. The sound processor remains exclusive to ASUS.

The ASUS AV200 is a PCI-based sound processor. ASUS equips the Xonar D2X with a Pericom P17C9X110 PCI-to-PCIe bridge. Due to the additional PCI-to-PCIe bridge, the Xonar D2X requires external power from a four-pin power connector. Performance of the Xonar D2X and D2 are identical. Internal ASUS testing has not revealed any performance shortcomings of using a PCI-to-PCIe bridge chip, Lai said.

The ASUS Xonar D2-series features full-duplex 24-bit/192 KHz audio processing on all inputs and outputs. ASUS claims the Xonar D2-series can reach signal-to-noise ratio levels up to 118dB. The new sound cards also support Dolby Digital Live and DTS:Connect technologies for single-cable multi-channel audio enjoyment.

Additionally, the card integrates Dolby and DTS technologies such as Dolby Headphone, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, Dolby Virtual Speaker, DTS Interactive and DTS Neo:PC. The ASUS Xonar D2-series also supports ASIO 2.0 for low latency audio tasks.

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Down with Creative
By UppityMatt on 6/6/2007 7:23:37 AM , Rating: 1
I hope this Sound Card Rocks and puts Creative out of business. WTG Asus!

RE: Down with Creative
By Goty on 6/6/2007 7:52:27 AM , Rating: 2
There a big difference between most of Creative's products (especially those catered towards gamers) and the Xonar cards; Mainly the fact that most of Creative's cards offer some sort of hardware acceleration in addition to better quality. All the Xonar has to offer is better quality, as it seems that the CPU is still going to have to do all of the grunt work.

RE: Down with Creative
By xsilver on 6/6/2007 7:59:08 AM , Rating: 2
one thing that really irks me about creative is that even onboard sound solutions come with spdif/coax as standard but with creative products you either need to get the elite series of cards with the front based spdif/coax ports or get the extra add on card at the back at EXTRA COST.

for shame.

RE: Down with Creative
By Malhavoc on 6/6/2007 8:34:40 PM , Rating: 2
The one thing that pisses me off about Creative is the inability to use the front headphone jack on my Antec P180!

RE: Down with Creative
By Nehemoth on 6/6/2007 8:11:44 AM , Rating: 2
RE: Down with Creative
By Nehemoth on 6/6/2007 8:15:24 AM , Rating: 2
RE: Down with Creative
By zyren on 6/6/2007 12:05:13 PM , Rating: 3
Gotta love the comparisons on that link between Asus and Creative. Asus says EAX 2.0 is better than EAX 5.0 in the gamers section.

RE: Down with Creative
By FITCamaro on 6/6/2007 9:06:15 AM , Rating: 2
If it supports EAX 2.0 and comes with all those outputs, I might get one. I like having EAX compatibility since a lot of games support it.

However there is still the Auzentech(sp?) cards that I guess are just Sound Blaster cards under a different name with added features?

RE: Down with Creative
By daniyarm on 6/6/2007 10:26:25 AM , Rating: 2
Why are you so anti-creative? I don't like really care for them as a company, but I think X-Fi sounds incredible. If ASUS can beat that, I am onboard. Asus made a smart move by going Dolby all the way. I think they can attract more customers witha Dolby name on their card. I just hope that it really is a good card with good virtual 3d positioning.

RE: Down with Creative
By AnnihilatorX on 6/6/2007 10:53:28 AM , Rating: 3
Creative cards are great only problem is their history of bad reputation in driver support.

I am looking forward to the Auzen X-fi Prelude actually because of EAX5.0 and not Creative branded

RE: Down with Creative
By splint on 6/6/2007 12:22:55 PM , Rating: 3
I absolutely agree. I remember buying a top of the line Creative card a few years back only to find that the abysmal drivers and accompanying software bloat was unacceptable. I spent hours trying to hack all the crap out just to leave a minimal functioning driver set, but I was never satisfied with the result. Creative’s hardware has always been impressive – especially their last iteration.

If ASUS manages some good solid drivers without trying to mutate my OS into the ASUS multimedia experience spawning a dozen useless processes then I think they will have a real winner on their hands.

RE: Down with Creative
By raven3x7 on 6/6/2007 3:06:03 PM , Rating: 2
You will probably still have to use creative's drivers though. And another problem with Creative cards is the usually bad quality of the DACs and opams even on expensive cards.

RE: Down with Creative
By bubbacub616 on 6/6/2007 2:24:33 PM , Rating: 2
creative rocked in the days of the awe32 - post win98 things went downhill fast to where we are now where the best sound card around (IMO) is inbuilt on 4 year old motherboard (soundstorm - nforce 2). soundstorm had the lowest cpu utilisation and eax 2.0 and dolby digital live.

the auzentech card looks like the business though with DDLive and the latest EAX.

more power ?!
By kalak on 6/6/07, Rating: 0
RE: more power ?!
By TimTheEnchanter25 on 6/6/2007 9:39:28 AM , Rating: 2
Try reading the whole article...

The ASUS Xonar D2-series will spawn PCI and PCIe variants – the D2 and D2X.

Due to the additional PCI-to-PCIe bridge, the Xonar D2X requires external power from a four-pin power connector. Performance of the Xonar D2X and D2 are identical.

Only the PCI-E version (D2X) needs extrenal power. Since there isn't any difference in performance, why would anyone want to buy that version?

RE: more power ?!
By Assimilator87 on 6/6/2007 10:10:35 AM , Rating: 4
Because everyone's been crying over the absense of a PCI-E sound card to fill all the empty 1X slots.

RE: more power ?!
By kalak on 6/18/2007 11:15:08 AM , Rating: 2
totally agree. But that's not justify the extra power...

RE: more power ?!
By thebrown13 on 6/6/2007 11:11:50 AM , Rating: 1
PCI is out of date. Why buy cards for slots that might not be there in your next motherboard?

RE: more power ?!
By Von Matrices on 6/6/2007 11:32:48 AM , Rating: 2
If ASUS is trying to avoid legacy connectors such as PCI, why is it including a 4-pin floppy power connector on the PCI-e version? Floppy power connectors are more out of date than PCI connectors are. Why include such a power connector instead of a 4-pin (large) molex, pci-e power, or even a SATA power connector. If I get this card I will have to deal with the annoyance and clutter of yet another adapter on my power supply cables.

RE: more power ?!
By xxeonn on 6/6/2007 11:56:46 AM , Rating: 2
Well I guess they used the floppy connector so that people dont have to waste ther hard drive power conectors (ie. SATA, IDE). And I dont think the floppy connector is outdated as some server machines still need a floppy drive to do some basic task, they can also use it for future devices such as this sound card.

This sound card sounds great, though I hope it comes with EAX 2.0+. I kinda stay away from the X-Fi cards because a lot of people complain about audio curruption after the card is installed for a few days.

RE: more power ?!
By Missing Ghost on 6/6/2007 2:36:10 PM , Rating: 2
That's not a problem like with PCI slots, because most people still have theses connectors and don't use them. Also you can purchase an adapter for it.

RE: more power ?!
By mindless1 on 6/6/2007 9:42:15 PM , Rating: 3
Nonsense. If you were too short-sighted to buy a power supply with the normal assortment of connectors (which includes a floppy connector if not 2), adding an adapter is hardly a significant annoyance or addt'l clutter. It would cost a whole dollar though.

RE: more power ?!
By kalak on 6/18/2007 11:13:13 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the morons...

Real disappointment
By paulpod on 6/6/2007 5:58:21 PM , Rating: 2
Not having a native PCIe port on the chip is pretty pathetic.

People plugging into the current state-of-art IO connector should not be suffering the power, board noise, bug risk, and reliability penalty of a bridge chip.

The PCISig group (I think that is what they are called) really need to re-evaluate whether there are fundamental flaws in the PCIe architecture preventing it from being adopted for non-graphics applications.

RE: Real disappointment
By saratoga on 6/6/2007 6:12:28 PM , Rating: 2
The PCI-E architecture is the same as PCI. They literally use the exact same protocol. The only difference is the wire type has been changed from parallel to serial to improve bandwidth.

Uptake is slow because theres not a lot of reason to upgrade verses PCI except for bandwidth, and sound cards don't need much bandwidth.

RE: Real disappointment
By paulpod on 6/6/2007 10:22:15 PM , Rating: 2
But PCI is a bus and PCIe more like a dedicated connection into the MCH IO switch.

A sound card is the kind of thing you don't want fighting for cycles with an HD tuner card, or a Raid controller.

1x PCIe connectors take up a LOT less space. If all peripherals supported it, boards would need fewer PCI slot and the space could be used for something else. The bridge solution does help in this regard.

sticking with my x-fi
By Gul Westfale on 6/7/2007 12:32:36 AM , Rating: 2
i have never liked the multitude of craplets that creative installs in your system tray (all of which i have disabled), and x-fi pricing is a bit over the top, considering that these are relatively simple PCBs with no heatsink or anything fancy... but the sound quality is right, gaming performance and effects are great, and i have never had a hardware issue with any creative card...
so i'm sticking with my x-fi until something truly better comes along.

this asus thing seems like a half-baked attempt at filling the niche for PCIe 1x cards faster than another company, and thereby making a quick buck. there is nothing to set this product apart from a dozen or so PCI cards that are already available, and the PCIe version needs an extra power connector... because it needs juice for the bridge chip since it's not really a PCIe part to begin with but a PCI with a PCIe bridge...
sad, truly. and this from asus, a company that was once respected for its products... and now they make mostly junk.

i still remember the glory days of the A7N8X-DX... but i'm a DFI guy now. some crappy sound card won't change that.

RE: sticking with my x-fi
By jabber on 6/8/2007 5:32:30 AM , Rating: 3
Have to say I too am bemused with the notion of having to have a bridge chip and extra power. Sounds like poor design planning to me. Or they just specced for a PCI design and then kludged a PCIe version to fill a gap in the market later.

As for Creative, I'm well aware of their driver bloat. I remember a few months ago when I installed my X-fi Fatality I was careful to try to install only the stuff that looked vaguely useful. Afterwards I looked in Add/Remove programs and was shocked to find the few config apps etc. came in at over 300Mb! I then went a uninstalled some more stuff (THX/Diagnostics etc.) to get it down to just the drivers and the config panel and it still sits at around 170mb. All it does is bring up a window with some options on it!

Thats some nifty sophisticated coding there guys! Well done!

By PrimarchLion on 6/6/2007 4:03:35 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't the PCIe slot provide more power than the PCI slot? Maybe this isn't true with the x1 connector like it is with the larger ones. If it is, I wonder why they didn't just use this extra electricity to power the PCI to PCIe adapter.

By saratoga on 6/6/2007 6:13:12 PM , Rating: 2
Marketing idiocy probably.

My bet is it works fine without the thing plugged in, but who knows.

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