Asus unveils HDMI-equipped Xonar HDAV1.3 sound cards

In a radical departure from its wave of Eee PC-related releases, Asus has just announced a new addition to its line of Xonar sound cards. Dubbed the Xonar HDAV1.3, this latest entry into the sound card market appropriately boasts HDMI 1.3a compatibility and a little something extra for the video crowd in the form of a "Splendid HD" video processor. Asus claims the chip enhances colors and edges for high-definition video, reduces flicker, and even "recovers clarity" with low-resolution content.

Despite its fancy video processing capabilities, audio remains the Xonar's focus. The HDAV1.3 supports both PAPS and AACS content protection schemes, allowing it to output uncompressed Blu-ray audio in all its glory. Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio are supported, as well, and the card is capable of feeding 7.1-channel, 24-bit/192kHz LPCM audio through its HDMI port.

Asus isn't busting out a new audio chip for this latest Xonar. Instead, the card uses the same AV200 audio processor that we saw in the Xonar D2X, allowing it to take advantage of Asus' DS3D GX 2.0 EAX emulation scheme. The HDAV1.3 uses the same Burr Brown DACs, Cirrus Logic ADC, and National Semiconductor OPAMPs, too. This time around, however, the OPAMPs sit in sockets that allow particularly picky users to swap in their own chips.

Deluxe versions of the HDAV1.3 will come with a daughter card connected by a ribbon cable. Both cards will slide into PCI Express x1 slots, although it appears that the daughter card doesn't actually require electrical connectivity. On the main card, you get HDMI input and output ports, a shared line/microphone input, RCA front-channel output, and S/PDIF input and output ports. The daughter card expands the Xonar's analog output capacity, serving up RCA jacks to fill out the HDAV1.3's eight output channels.

Asus hasn't yet settled on pricing for the HDAV1.3, but we're told to expect the card to become available in mid-July. Check out the image gallery below for more nudies of the HDAV1.3.

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