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ASUS Xonar DX  (Source: ASUS)
New ASUS Xonar DX offers more than the competition for less money

ASUS announced its new ASUS Xonar DX PCI Express 7.1 Audio Card earlier this year. The company claims that the new sound card delivers 35 times cleaner audio compared to onboard audio built into your mainboard.

The new Xonar DX card is tuned for audio quality with 116dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and features other sound enhancing technologies like Dolby Home Theater and DS3D GX. To compare ASUS says that the typical on-board audio solution has 85dB SNR.

The Xonar DX uses the CirrusLogics CS4398 audio DAC that is typically used in Hi-Fi devices. The card is also able to take advantage of the latest DirectSound and EAX 5.0 sound effects in PC games for Windows Vista. ASUS also integrates its VocalFX technology that allows for users voices to be integrated into games via VoiceEX and to emulate background scenes in online chats (ChatEX).

Other features include support for Dolby Digital Live, Dolby Headphone, Dolby Virtual Speaker, and Dolby Pro Logix IIx. The audio processor used for the card is the ASUS AV100 High-Definition Sound Processor. The analog playback sample rate and resolution s 44.1K/48K/96K/192KHz at 16/24 bits. The analog recording sample rate and resolution is the same. A digital S/PDIF Digital Output is featured as well with Dolby Digital and DTS.

The best news for PC users that like the specifications of the Xonar DX is that the card will retail for only $89. The new Xonar DX will fit into the ASUS line alongside the previously announced Xonar sound cards including the Xonar U1 external audio processor, Xonar D2 and the Xonar D2K.

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RE: Analog, your grandfather's audio connection
By BansheeX on 3/21/2008 9:28:31 AM , Rating: 2
CPUs have gotten so powerful that the benefit of having hardware processing for audio is no longer worth the added cost or complexity.

By lexluthermiester on 3/21/2008 8:46:48 PM , Rating: 2
So you're not a gamer then? Because I've run these tests myself. I've run game benchmarks with my X-Fi and then without, using the onboard sound. The difference was very noticeable, drastically with a few games. Doom 3 and Quake 4 dropped 7%. Quake Wars had a difference of 12%. Crysis was an astonishing 19%! C&C3 was a little more difficult be cause of the 30FPS cap, but the minimums dropped 8% to 10%. And those are just the game that I personally own. Granted, I'm not as much of a gamer as I used to be, but those numbers, to me at least, justify the $100 I spent on my X-Fi. By way of further comparison, I measured the difference between my Audigy2 and onboard sound the numbers were similar, in the same order listed above, 5%, 11%, 15% and 7%. And those are just frame rate numbers. If you want to talk about how much better the sound is... I could speak volumes about how much better the Audigy2 and X-Fi sound over onboard, but it is enough to say that both are superior, whether you use analog or digital connections.

So my point is, yes CPU's have become very powerful, but your overall system performance is still going to take a hit by using onboard sound, and in some cases[like Crysis and Oblivion which are very CPU dependent games] a serious hit. And my system spec are above average. Core2 2.93GHZ, 3GB of Kingston 1066 DDR2, MSI 8800GTS 320MB and Gigabyte GA-X38-DQ6. Now can you imagine what the test result numbers if I were using a more average system?...

By mcnabney on 3/25/2008 4:09:11 PM , Rating: 2
Fine. But I imagine if you added the cost of a X-FI soundcard ($150) to your CPU budget you would buy more than the lost performance in CPU power and that power could also be used for other things as well.

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