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new sound card, help me choose

Discussion in 'System Builder's Advice' started by rampage, May 3, 2008.

  1. rampage

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    i am sick of the on bard audio on my (Asus p5e-VM HDMI) so i am looking for a pci-e sound card and would like your opinions on what to buy..

    i need to buy a pci-e sound card as i have a 8800gtx with a hr-03 cooler and it is taking up all available slots on the mobo.


    so i guess i am asking 2 questions

    1: are pci-e sound cards any good?
    2: which one do i buy (under say $200ish)

    EDIT: i am looking at the "ASUS Xonar D2 Ultra Fidelity 7.1 PCI Sound Card" as sen here http://www.hothardware.com/Articles/ASUS_Xonar_D2_Ultra_Fidelity_71_PCI_Sound_Card/?page=1
    Last edited: May 3, 2008
  2. Solaris17

    Solaris17 Creator Solaris Utility DVD

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    im not trying to hyjack your thread but im in the market too and i think i have a good idea on how to get us a good one


    pci-e

    on card music decoding (not processor)

    7.1 surround

    dolby digital
  3. rampage

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    solaris17, I've updated my first post with what i think is the best choice ..... ASUS Xonar D2 Ultra Fidelity 7.1 PCI Sound Card 7.1 DTS optical the works......what do you think?
  4. Solaris17

    Solaris17 Creator Solaris Utility DVD

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    sweet does it do audio encoding on the sound card
  5. rampage

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    im not sure.... i wouldnt know whats what when it comes to sound cards,,, but ill keep on reading
  6. NinkobEi

    NinkobEi

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    The only Dolby 5.1 Encoding sound card is the Auzentech X-Fi prelude, as far as I know. Maybe its just the only encoding X-fi, but its about the same price as Xonar. It works quite nice, by the way :)
  7. Smartbomb

    Smartbomb New Member

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    There have been multiple posts on EVGA forums dealing with XONAR and lack of compatibility on Nvidia 680i chipsets... Haven't researched into this but it might be some cause for concern, not too sure how deep the lack of compatibility goes
  8. panchoman

    panchoman Sold my stars!

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    get an asus xonar dx
  9. Dia01

    Dia01 New Member

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  10. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    Seeing as how other users expressed interest in their looking for something new:

    From my understanding - PCIE cards are decent, to an extent. It really boils down to what your setup is currently like, what motherboard you run, and what other PCIE cards you already have. Based upon chipset limitations, you only have a certain alloted amount of PCIE lanes that the board can negotiate, and two video cards can easily take up all there is to offer - which means adding an additonal PCIE card will reduce the slot bandwidth on your secondary GPU.

    But, if you only own one video card, it shouldn't be a problem at all.

    Another point to consider - especially if you're running Vista, is having a card that supports OpenAL for future compatiblity. As of my current knowledge, the ASUS Xonar D2X doesn't support OpenAL, but the D2 does. The Razer Barracuda AC-1, while still a great card, doesn't support OpenAL either. As I'm sure everyone already guessed, the Auzentech Prelude and the whole Creative lineup support OpenAL. Just worth a mention.

    Anyhow, it comes down to what your need are - if you need a card that is capable of Dolby encoding, forget the Creative X-Fi lineup, that feature isn't enabled. The Auzentech Prelude, though, does support this feature, as also the Xonar and the Barracuda.

    If your primary concern is gaming and gaming performance, my single recommendation here is the X-Fi Fatal1ty, followed closely by the Barracuda AC-1.

    If you're about the best audio quality, the Prelude rules that roost, followed with a near tie between the ASUS Xonar and the X-Fi Elite Pro. Out of that bunch, though, the Elite Pro is ridiculously expensive, and unless you also have a high quality uber stereo system, I can't recommend it.
  11. Solaris17

    Solaris17 Creator Solaris Utility DVD

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    wait it would limit my bandwith? seriously?...damn!!!! :mad: no pci-e sound card for me FTL! im already running 8/8 i cant take another bandwith hit not with my mem clocks so high and crysis soaking my NB time
  12. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    it depends on the chipset and how the PCIE lanes are divided out - you'd have to look up what lanes are still available with Everest or something similar; but how it works:

    Take, for example, an Intel P35 NSB with a ICH9R SSB on an ASUS P5K Premium/WiFi board; there are two PCIEx16 slots, and 2 PCIEx1 slots. The NSB will run a single card at x16, and if a second is added, it'll run at either x4 or x1 (the P35 doesn't support two x16 lanes, so the other x16 slot is run through the SSB). Anyhow, onboard devices typically occupy a few of the x1 slots already - devices like the onboard WiFi, SATA controllers, USB controllers, etc; and many times those lanes are reserved, even if the device is disabled in BIOS - so, although the SSB supports 6 x1 lanes, you might only have 4 available (why the second card would top out at x4). So . . . if you add in another PCIE device, such as a sound card, the second GPU gets immediately bumped to x1 mode. If you tack on one more device (like another onboard component, or a wireless adapter or otherwise), it's possible your second GPU might not even be recognized at all.

    Again, though, it all boils down to the chipsets on the board, what slots on the board are available, and how onboard devices and expansion slots are negotiated by the chipsets.

    You might not have a problem, but you'd have to double check your hardware's capability first. TBH, I get the feeling you'd be alright based on the x8+x8 SLI board you've got, but I'm not that up-to on nVidia chipsets.

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