ASUS Xonar DX 7.1 PCI-E Sound Card
Test Setup & Rightmark Results
I feel the Xonar DX is targeted towards entry level market but nevertheless I intend to complete a thorough testing process you have come to expect at OC3D. Apart from rightmark, testing a cards audio quality is very subjective depending on one’s personal preferences. I will however endeavour to be as objective and unbiased as possible throughout the testing process.
• Intel Q6600
• Gigabyte DS3 Motherboard
• 2GB Corsair XMS2 DMX PC-6400 (4-4-4-12)
• 2xSeagate barracuda 500GB 7200.11 Sata2 32mb cache HDD’s
• Gecube ATI 3870x2 Video card
• Asus Xonar DX 7.1 Audio card
• Gigabyte onboard sound (Realtek ALC883)
• Windows Vista Ultimate sp.1 (32bit)
• Creative Inspire T7900 7.1 speakers
• Sennheiser RS140 wireless headphones
I have decided to reference the Xonar against on board sound as this is what I would imagine most potential buyers will be upgrading from. I believe it would be unfair to compare them head to head but a reference is required to have a basis for comparison. While I would have preferred to also include a card such as the Creative X-FI music which is in a similar price bracket I don’t have one to hand and the testing process could also be flawed as I have owned an X-FI music card previously and the compatibility issues with Vista were such that I sold the music card on unfortunately. So before we get to the usual gaming/music/movie tests let’s have a look at the performance of the Xonar DX using Rightmark.
Rightmark is an audio analyser designed for testing the quality of analogue (and digital) paths of audio devices. The results are obtained by playing and recording test signals passed through the tested audio path by means of frequency analysis algorithms. – www.rightmark.org
As you can see the Noise level I got(-113.4dB) was a little shy of that advertised by Asus (-116dB) but I used a longer than recommended line in/out cable which possibly affected the results slightly, nevertheless the results are well within the margin for error and are certainly much better than on-board devices.
Here we see how much of an impact using the Xonar's software based emulation has on the CPU:
(CPU Utilisation set at 16-bit/44.1KHz – 16 buffers)
(CPU Utilisation set at 24-bit/96KHz 16-buffers)
(CPU Utilisation set at 16-bit/44.1KHz-128 buffers)
(CPU Utilisation set at 24-bit/96KHz-128buffers)
As you can see the CPU rarely exceeds 5% utilisation even with 128 buffers set. Impressive, especially as EAX is emulated through this card thereby requiring CPU cycles.
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