The PC audio market doesn’t get a lot of love, but we’ll be treated to a new sound card in March. That’s when Diamond is scheduled to start selling the Xtreme Sound HD Pro. Billed as a product for “music and game enthusiasts,” the card has a PCI Express x1 interface and a nifty expansion bracket loaded with extra ports.
Under the plain-looking EMI shield sits a C-Media CMI8838 audio processor. C-Media’s website doesn’t have any details on the chip, but I suspect it’s an updated (and probably native PCIe) version of the budget CMI8738. The old chip is limited to 16-bit audio at sampling rates up to 48kHz, and it can’t feed more than six output channels. However, the new Diamond card supports 24-bit/192kHz audio and eight-channel output.
The CMI8738 combines the audio processor and codec on a single chip to lower costs for card makers, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the CMI8838 were similarly integrated. Diamond’s press materials also mention a built-in headphone amp, but that feature may be powered by separate silicon.
Apart from the card’s 120-dB SNR, we weren’t able to gather any other details during our visit to Diamond’s CES showcase. While pricing hasn’t been set, I wouldn’t expect the card to be an expensive offering.