Auzentech X-Fi Forte Low Profile 7.1 PCI-E Sound Card

Test Setup and Rightmark Benchmarks

Test Setup

For the Auzentech X-Fi Forte, I used the following PC equipment:

Intel Q6600 @ 3.3GHz
Abit IP35 Pro
8GB OCZ ReaperX PC6400 @ 1000MHz
MSI 8800 GTX
Seagate 7200.10 250GB HDD
Coolermaster Real Power Pro 1000w PSU
Tacima CS929 6 Way Mains Conditioner
Asus Xonar Essence STX
Abit IP35 Pro onboard sound (Realtek ALC888 codec)

To bring out the best in the sound card, I have used the following Audio setup:

Sennheiser HD555 Headphones

Yamaha DSP-AX863SE AV Amplifier
Mordaunt Short 906i Floorstanders (Bi-Amped, silver coated oxygen free copper)
Mordaunt Short 905i Centre Speaker (Bi-wired, silver coated oxygen free copper)
Mordaunt Short 905i Bipole Rears (300 strand oxygen free copper)

Additional Cabling:
Tacima CS929 6 Way Mains Conditioner
IXOS XHD208-300 Toslink Digital Optical Audio Cable
IXOS XHA215-300 2 RCA to 2 RCA Stereo Audio Cable
Well Connected Professional 3.5mm to RCA leads (x3)

I used the fantastic Asus Xonar Essence STX to compare the Auzentech X-Fi Forte to in this review. Whilst the Xonar isn't as versatile as the Forte card, it will provide a benchmark of excellent in stereo sound.


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. – Rightmark. Note that by using the loop-back tests there may be inconsistencies in the recording and you may get different results when running the tests from home.

Noise Level  Stereo Crosstalk

IMD test  THD Test

The Auzentech X-Fi Forte performs well in our tests with a competent set of results. The slight variances again are due to the testing methodology and in fact turn out fairly similar to the Asus Xonar Essence STX.
There's no doubting that the Forte is a technically excellent sound card. Let's see how the CPU tests fared.

CPU Utilisation

Here we see how much of an impact using the Xonar's software based emulation has on the CPU. Results are again provided by a Rightmark piece of software, this time Rightmark 3D Sound CPU Utilisation test.

(CPU Utilisation set at 16-bit/44.1KHz – 16 buffers)

(CPU Utilisation set at 16-bit/44.1KHz-128 buffers)

(CPU Utilisation set at 24-bit/96KHz 16-buffers)

(CPU Utilisation set at 24-bit/96KHz-128buffers)
The Auzentech X-Fi Forte stayed below an impressive 2.5% CPU utilisation in all tests. It seemed to do even better in the more challenging tests in the suite, not rising above 1.5% CPU utilisation even at 24 bit/96kHz. The X-Fi chips really do seem to take the load of your CPU in scenarios when 3D sound and EAX are utilised.
Altogether an excellent set of tests for the Forte. Now let us move on to how the card does in the 'real world'.
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Most Recent Comments

06-07-2009, 04:52:47

"Claiming to be the worlds first soundcard for music, HTPC and gaming, the Forte makes big claims from a tiny card. Can it live up to our high standards? Read on..." - by Kempez

Auzentech X-Fi Forte Low Profile 7.1 PCI-E Sound CardQuote

06-07-2009, 06:52:10


At a 75% discount

What about putting PCI-e x1 as good in the conclusion? Most people have too many of those slots anyway and it has more future than the PCI standard.Quote

06-07-2009, 14:19:37

This sounds like a great card coming from the great review.

I'd have to limit my own conclusion to that of the Auzen Prelude. The card is great, but the Creative software on it is a real pita imo.

If u keep in touch with the Auzen site, they're upd8ing RCx of the drivers time after time. The initial ones ~werent too bad~, the following RC(s) seem to gain in some respects whilst taking away in others - and still u have the freaking Creative control console lurking over everything.

Seeing nothing to suggest otherwize, I'd view this card in the same way, if ur going to set it up to a single or perhaps one additional input, ur likely to do well with it.

Fancy being a bit "creative" - forget it. And I don't think Vista helps. Alchemy also being a bit hit and miss.

For whatever reason they decided to screw up the sound options that the pc had when going from xp->vista, even tho the theory in the vista control is a good idea imo, I would love them to try and get it mostly correct in Windows 7.

Let's pretty much hope that Creative born examples continue to work fine and without hackage in Windows 7 - they "should".

Great review. I do have reservations tho, especially when paying £122!Quote

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