ASUS Xonar DX 7.1 PCI-E Sound Card



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, 07:03:23

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.Quote

06-05-2008, 07:23:26

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.Quote

06-05-2008, 08:32:30

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.Quote

07-05-2008, 15:26:15

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 Quote

07-05-2008, 17:11:01

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 Quote

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