The Bottom Line
- Excellent Sound Quality
- Dolby Digital Live Support For Home Theater Setups
- DS3D GX 2.0 Does Good Job Simulating EAX in Vista
- Front Panel Audio Connector
- Requires 4-pin Floppy Power Connector
- Doesn't Support DTS Surround Formats
- ASUS AV100 Audio Processor (Cirrus Logic Oxygen HD)
- 8-Channel (7.1) Audio Support
- 24-bit 192KHz Audio Support
- 116dB Front and 112dB Side/Rear/Center Signal-to-Noise Ratio
- ASIO 2.0 Support
- Dolby Digital Live, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, Dolby Headphone and Dolby Virtual Speaker Support
- DS3D GX 2.0 Support to Simulate D3D and EAX in Windows XP/Vista
- Bracket for Half-Height Slot and S/PDIF TOSLINK Adapter
- PCI-Express x1 Interface
Guide Review - ASUS Xonar DX 7.1 PCI-Express Audio Card
5/16/08 - The ASUS Xonar DX actually uses the Cirrus Logic Oxygen HD audio processor that is found on a variety of PC audio cards. It has many great features including support for Dolby Digital Live, encoding 5.1 audio on the digital output for use with home theater systems. It also supports extremely high signal-to-noise ratios that provide exceptionally clear audio playback.
One of the biggest problems with audio in Vista is the inability of the audio layer to properly handle DirectX 3D and EAX audio from older applications. ASUS has addressed this with its DS2D GX 2.0 software layer that intercepts these calls from the software to the OS and interprets them at the hardware layer. During testing with several EAX and older DirectX 3D games, it worked quite well. In many ways it is better than Creative's Alchemy software solution.
The Xonar DX has a bit of a surprise and a disappointment when it comes to the internal connectors. Unlike the larger Xonar D2X card card, the smaller DX actually has an internal header for use with desktop PC case front panel audio connectors. This is a great feature that makes it easier for users to switch between using traditional speakers and headphones. The drawback to this is the even with the PCI-Express bus higher power output, the DX still requires the use of a 4-pin floppy power connector in order to operate.
Overall, the ASUS Xonar DX is a very strong card for just about any audio application on a desktop PC. It may not be the best for home theater, gaming or music, but it does the job so well in each of these that it is a very strong overall card that can work for just about anyone who wants to upgrade from a motherboard audio solution.