Auzentech Releases Retail X-Fi Prelude 7.1 Details
Anh Tuan Huynh
June 13, 2007 12:31 PM
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Auzentech X-Fi Prelude 7.1 (Source: Auzentech)
The first third-party X-Fi based sound card will have Dolby Digital Live and DTS:Interactive
Auzentech has posted detailed specifications of the upcoming
X-Fi Prelude 7.1
sound card. The
Auzentech X-Fi Prelude 7.1
is the first third party sound card based on the Creative Labs X-Fi sound processor.
Auzentech pairs the Creative Labs X-Fi CA20K audio processor with AKM digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital convertors. Auzentech employs four AKM AK4396VF DACs on
X-Fi Prelude 7.1
. The DACs boast 24-bit resolutions and 192 KHz sampling rates with a 120dB stereo signal-to-noise ratio. An AKM AK5394AVS ADC takes care of audio input duties. The ADC features 24-bit resolution and 192 KHz sampling rates.
The X-Fi Prelude 7.1 features a single user-replaceable front-channel OPAMP. Auzentech installs a National LM4562NA OPAMP with a rated 0.00003% total harmonic distortion levels on the X-Fi Prelude 7.1. The other six channels feature TI OPA2134 SoundPlus OPAMPs. The TI OPAMPs are not replaceable.
The new X-Fi Prelude 7.1 takes advantage of all X-Fi sound processor features including EAX Advanced HD 5.0, CMSS-3D, X-Fi Crystalizer and SoundFonts. Auzentech also installs 64MB of X-RAM on the X-Fi Prelude 7.1.
Eventually the Auzentech X-Fi Prelude 7.1 will feature multi-channel audio encoding technologies. Auzentech plans to add Dolby Digital Live support in Q4’2007 for Windows Vista and XP. DTS Interactive and DTS NEO:PC support is planned for Q1’2008 for Windows Vista and XP operating systems.
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6/13/2007 4:09:58 PM
I see where you are coming from. But you wrongly hinted that PCI Express was the main reason why the latency is the issue.
You see, video card can render off screen objects, but they also cannot predict the user's effect on the objects like moving or destroying them.
The same applies to sound cards. They cannot predict when a gunshot for example is fired. But with appropriate caching techniques the current latency problem of transferring sound data from main RAM can be mitigated. If sound data is cached on a fast local memory on the sound card, the responsiveness of it would be on par with graphic cards.
To sum up, I would not blame the slightly inferior latency of PCI Express as the reason for lack of PCI Express soundcards.
At the time X-Fi, Median is in design, the number of people having PCI Express boards did not warrant the extra cost for developing the chip solely for PCI Express, nor it was viable to design two different chips; i.e., one for PCI, one for PCI-Express. It was simply not economical and the gain of supporting PCI Express was minimal.
Situation is a bit different now as proven by ASUS's move. In this case though, Auzentech's Prelude is based on the X-Fi chip so of course it cannot be easily ported to PCI-Express because of the design.
6/13/2007 4:16:15 PM
Small point to add to above
Games are not used to having memory on sound cards. Even if sound card manufactures build RAM in the sound card, (e.g. X-RAM), it would require not drivers, but game manufactures to script code to tell the driver to pre-cache sounds.
The most relevant question is, if caching is impossible, does the slight worse latency of PCI Express contributes to an engineering problem hence lack of soundcards?
I can't say for sure, but if Asus managed to do it right, I would not think that is the reason then.
6/13/2007 6:53:08 PM
I think your take is more solvent than asserting PCi Bus Latency, but I have to point out that games would have to be caching something sound-wise into main memory. Further, why USB connected sound cards?
With respect to Occam's Razer: Most people don't upgrade very often and when they do they go through a mass market brand like Dell, CompUSA, Compaq, HP, ect. People buying value and mid-range (90% of the market) computers are just now getting towards the point of mass-market adoption.
Conclusion: No Market, then no support.
"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes
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