ASUS Xonar DX 7.1 PCI-E Sound Card

Conclusion

Conclusion

Impressive, a single word that sums up the Asus Xonar DX very nicely. I was very happy with the look and presentation of the card and despite its small demeanour it has certainly proven that it can punch well above its weight. Asus in their wisdom have released a chipset that is most welcome in the audio sector of PC hardware and it is a breath of fresh air to a once stagnant market. Not only have they achieved (despite Creative’s rebukes) a card than can impersonate EAX to a level which sonically is indistinguishable to Creative’s own XFI, they have released a version that is affordable to even the budget conscious among us.

The subjective listening tests were, in my humble opinion, amazing. Movies were reproduced with exceptional surround sound – aided in part by the Dolby Pro Logic IIx configuration. The Gaming series of tests were also impressive however the lack of EAX support for Bioshock was a more than a little disconcerting despite being given the assurance that it will work with a driver update. EAX in BF2 at least was exhilarating. The depth of field and positional audio was exceptional. My favourite listening test however was the music test. Vocals, acoustics, wind and string, all had the clarity only onboard sound could dream of and I found myself exceeding the time constraints I set myself for this review just listening to some old tunes that were given a new lease of life with the Xonar.

Weighing in at around the £60 mark, which is around half what you would pay for the card of which it is based on, can best be described as a luxury entry level card. Audiophiles may wish to look elsewhere as the lack of DTS encoding and individual digital ports along with the missing EMI shield of its bigger brother could be enough to discourage the elitist in a very fickle market. The features that are lacking from the DX are not something the average Joe would miss however and if you are looking for a multimedia soundcard that performs admirably on every level without mortgaging the house to pay for it then I don’t think there is a better value for money PC sound card on the market today that can equal the Asus Xonar DX.
 
Asus have succeeded in trimming away the non-essential ‘fat’ of the DX2 to produce a much leaner card without sacrificing performance. Add to that you will be almost £60 better off choosing this card over its bigger brother or indeed other high end X-FI cards and it becomes clear what your next upgrade should be – the Asus Xonar DX.
 

The Good
• Fantastic overall sound.
• Very good looking card.
• Solid capacitors for durability.
• Front panel connectivity.
• PCIe functionality.

The Mediocre
• Shared digital output connection.
• Lack of clear descriptions on analogue ports.
• Length of the card may restrict some people to using a 2nd PCIe x16 slot which is not good if you are a gamer using SLI/Xfire.

The Bad
• Lack of DTS encoding capabilities.
• Requirement of additional floppy power cable.
• Lack of prompt driver updates preventing some games (Bioshock) from working correctly.
 
 
Overclock3D Recommended AwardOverclock3D Value For Money Award
 
Thanks to ASUS for supplying the Xonar DX. Discuss this review in our forums.
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Most Recent Comments

06-05-2008, 06:44:51

w3bbo
With the Xonar DX 7.1 soundcard, have Asus managed to trim the excess fat from it's bigger brother without sacrificing perofrmance? Or have they put the DX on a diet so harsh it can't hold it's own weight with the new influx of audio solutions...

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...175110203l.jpg

Asus Xonar DX Review

06-05-2008, 07:03:23

!TIMMY!
Nice review webbo.

Good move by Asus tbh, but they need to be on top of the driver support!

Creative could slip further down the pan.

06-05-2008, 07:23:26

Rastalovich
Nice review, good to see some soundcard action.

Manufs need to make these cards with; front panel support; connection for internal HMDI support; low profile; solid drivers for XP/Vista 32/64bit - as almost a standard.

Asus are not particularly some1 I`m wanting to either look for support or driver upd8s. They`re are exactly Creative in that department, but they don`t personally fill me with enthusiasm either. That`s just me, I don`t buy their products when there`s a viable alternative for just that reason.

60 is an ~ok~ price for me. I`d be happier if it settled around 40-50, but that`ll take some time.

Like to have a comparison playoff with ASUS, Auzen, Creative - and let`s say an Abit IP35 Pro onboard, as a look into the qualities, drivers, performance and price.

For the +/- using Vista 64bit and these choices, I`m edging towards taking the soundcards out of the systems tbh.

06-05-2008, 08:32:30

w3bbo
I was a little hesitant about the price too but when you consider you are virtually getting a D2X (minus the frills) for half the price then it works out at a half decent price point. What most should consider I guess is the need for high performing audio over 'adequate' onboard solutions. IF all you do is surf the net then I guess onboard is fine but if your PC is a multimedia gateway then a dedicated solution is much better imo.

I am also concerned about driver support but we can only hope Asus keep on the ball with this one, either way it surely can't be as bad as Creative.

07-05-2008, 15:26:15

Kerotan
Excellent Review, much respect webbo: Wu-Tang Clan FTW!! I have a cheapo soundcard right now but if I'm looking to upgrade I'll definatley consider this, but tbh I don't know how much benefit I'd get running through the Aux on my 2.1 system, I wish 2.1 was listed as an option on my sound control panel but sadly I'm stuck with 2.0 or virtual 5.1

07-05-2008, 17:11:01

ionicle
good review

looks like a niceish card actually

and as for the comment about all the connectors being gold, you make a good point, but on the alternative side, green, pink and blue looks rather tacky ...

gold looks profesional, even if you dont know where to plug your wire

08-05-2008, 04:30:48

w3bbo
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Kerotan'
Excellent Review, much respect webbo: Wu-Tang Clan FTW!! I have a cheapo soundcard right now but if I'm looking to upgrade I'll definatley consider this, but tbh I don't know how much benefit I'd get running through the Aux on my 2.1 system, I wish 2.1 was listed as an option on my sound control panel but sadly I'm stuck with 2.0 or virtual 5.1
Do you use headphones at all m8? If so then I'd says it's worth it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='ionicle'
good review

looks like a niceish card actually

and as for the comment about all the connectors being gold, you make a good point, but on the alternative side, green, pink and blue looks rather tacky ...

gold looks profesional, even if you dont know where to plug your wire
Yeah I agree gold looks better(and results in a better connection) and I didn't actually have any trouble connecting the audio up but I could forsee that in the average Joe setup with his case sat in the shade below a desk it would be nigh on impossible to get the right connector in the right hole (!) ahem. It would have been nice of Asus to include the led port lights its bigger brother has. Asus arn't the only ones guilty of this and although it's only a minor point, I thought it was a point worth making nonetheless.

Thx for your kind comments guys - my first review (of many hopefully) on OC3D

08-05-2008, 06:26:58

cybermaniac
ne1 recommend any DTS enabled cards?

08-05-2008, 06:47:42

w3bbo
Xonar D2X?

16-05-2008, 21:42:56

TamaDrumz76
Cool review, interested in the newest model. Always nice to have alternatives from the Creative crap... Well, not crap. Hardware is ok, but software/drivers suck. I think Auzentech has a great card which is based on the Creative chip, but costs just as much as the most expensive one too.

03-01-2009, 16:37:40

escort97
I know this is reviving an old review/thread but i have been wondering for a while now if yall had to do anything special to get the certain sound settings in BF2 while using this card I've never been able to get them with out an error.Its never let me choose x-fi and ultra.

Reading this review when it came out helped persude me to choose this card instead of a xtreme gamer, I've just never been able to get the Bf2 settings right with any option config.

04-01-2009, 11:33:11

w3bbo
Change the settings in BF2 config. It's the only way you get Ultra settings to work but I have my doubts whether it actually does anything anyhow as I couldn't tell the difference between ultra and high

05-01-2009, 14:48:16

escort97
Do you mean in the config files themselves or in the BF2 menu, because when I try the xfi option it just tells me I don't have one. Ty for replying.

05-01-2009, 17:32:27

w3bbo
You wont get ultra settings on any card as it can only be enabled via the config files.

Your soundcard however should be recognised as an XFI, the review sample was.

05-01-2009, 18:17:19

escort97
Yeah, that's the problem mine dosent get recognized as an xfi with or with out the gx enabled on the asus control panel, I don't know if its the card itself or what its currently set at hardware and high in the BF2 menu, is there a big change between that and xfi mode with the EAX enabled? Thanks again

06-01-2009, 05:36:48

w3bbo
What operating system are you using?

EAX can only be emulated in vista thorugh Alchemy software and the Asus exquivelant. The sounds are pretty much the same. Perhaps the easiest place to test it is in two areas.

Kubra dam - go into one of the tunnels and everything should echo/reverb.

Karkhand - Iirc you can here the occassional dog barking and a bell occassionally ringing.

The main effects though are the echo's that I could discern and a clearer more 'atmospheric' sound. There is little to choose between the XFI EAX and Xonar GX though so I wouldn;t lose sleep over it, especially as BF2 is now an aging game by todays standards anyway.
Reply
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