The Xonar D2 and Xonar D2X sound cards from Asus are great products, but they're not exactly affordable: the D2 is $179.99 at Newegg, and the D2X typically costs a few bucks more, even though it's basically the same sound card with a PCI Express x1 interface instead of PCI. Meanwhile, Creative's cheapest standalone X-Fi sound card without stripped-down features (the XtremeGamer) is just $80.99.
However, fresh from its impressive entry in the high-end consumer sound card market, Asus now plans to tackle the sub-$100 arena with a new product called the Xonar DX. The Xonar DX is launching with a PCIe x1 interface as standard, and despite having a shorter profile than the full-blown Xonar D2 models, it has quite tantalizing specifications. The card features 7.1-channel output, up to 24-bit precision at sampling rates as high as 192KHz for both input and output, and support for real-time Dolby Digital Live encoding.
Gamers should be happy to learn that the card has support for DirectSound3D Game Extensions 2.0, which according to Asus enables "the latest EAX effects and DirectSound out of the box"—even in Windows Vista. Audiophiles probably won't be disappointed, either, thanks to the card's 24-bit/192KHz, 120dB SNR Cirrus Logic digital-to-analog converter for front outputs. (DACs for the other outputs have a 114dB SNR.) Asus pegs output harmonic distortion at just 0.00056%, too.
The Xonar DX is scheduled to become available in North America next Monday, March 24. The kicker is its price tag: just $89, which places it in the same playing field as the aforementioned X-Fi XtremeGamer. And the XtremeGamer only has 109dB SNR ratings, 96KHz multi-channel output, 0.004% THD, and a PCI interface.
|Silverstone's Strider Titanium PSUs are ready for a high-power future||8|
|VR180 video bridges the gap between YouTube and VR||0|
|Steam 2017 Summer Sale, part deux||13|
|Deals of the week: Z270 mobos, spinning storage, and more||4|
|G.Skill readies up for X299 with quad-channel DDR4 at 4200 MT/s||15|
|Asus' VivoBook S510 is an ultrabook for the budget crowd||14|
|Windows Insider Build 16226 gives users a look at GPU utilization||22|
|Steam's 2017 Summer Sale is downright hot||46|
|Asus XG-C100C NIC breaks the gigabit barrier||34|
|Not everyone is familiar with the (excellent) tools in the SysInternals suite. For a better OOTB experience, this is a move in the right direction IMH...||+18|