Asustek announced its Xonar D2 PCI sound card on June 5, but we also spotted a PCI Express version of the card—branded Xonar D2X—at the company's Computex booth on the same day. The firm has now finally launched the Xonar D2X, and the PCIe newcomer is coming out together with another member of the Xonar lineup: the Xonar U1.
Like the Xonar D2, the Xonar D2X has 7.1 channels, a signal-to-noise ratio rating of 118dB, and Dolby Digital Live functionality to encode PC audio into Dolby Digital format on the fly. However, the Xonar D2X trades the Xonar D2's 32-bit PCI connector for a PCIe x1 interface. Asustek has also outfitted the new card with an Acoustics Echo Cancellation feature, which it says improves voice communication by eliminating speaker echo as high as 40dB. The company doesn't say how much the D2X will cost, but the D2 is currently priced in the $180-190 range according to our price search engine.
Asustek's other new offering, the Xonar U1, is an external USB sound card designed to work with both desktop PCs and notebooks. The device has a lower 96dB signal-to-noise ratio, but it features S/PDIF digital output and Dolby Digital Live encoding. Asustek also says the Xonar U1 supports EAX audio effects and DirectSound hardware audio acceleration in games.