Auzentech X-FI Prelude 7.1 Sound Card
Published: 30th October 2007 | Source: Auzentech | Price: US$199 RRP |
I have chosen to test the Auzen X-Fi Prelude on two fronts because it is marketed as a sound card for both audiophiles and gamers alike. Analysing the Auzen X-Fi Prelude's performance from a gamers perspective will illustrate how well the sound card: provides immersive gaming environments and enhances the performance of the gaming system. Secondly I will be performing a series of audio tests, whilst incredibly subjective in nature, will assess the Auzen X-Fi Prelude's ability to reproduce audio from CD and DVD sources. I will make every effort to report my findings as 'objectively' as possible, bearing in mind that it is virtually impossible to cater for everyones particular preference in audio reproduction.
The system I will be using today should allow for some some credible performance results. I have included a list of the hardware used below:
* ASUS Blitz Formula SE Motherboard
* Intel e6850 Core2 Duo
* 2GB OCZ FlexXLC PC2-6400 CL3 (3-3-3-12)
* 2 x Seagate Barracuda 250GB 7200.10 SATA2 3.0Gb/s HDD's (RAID 0)
* ASUS NX8800GTS Video Card
* Auzen X-Fi Prelude 7.1 sound card
* Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio sound card
* Silverstone TJ-07 Case
* Windows Vista Ultimate
* Logitech X-530 5.1 Speakers
* RAZER HP-1 5.1 headphones
* RightMark 3D Sound CPU Utilization Test v 2.3
* QUAKE 4
* Unreal Tournament 3
* Fraps v 2.9.2 (build 6725)
You will notice that I have included the Creative X-Fi Xtreme Audio card in my list of testing hardware. Whilst it isn't really within the league of the Auzen X-Fi Prelude, and is really only just an X-Fi sound card, never-the-less it will assist in allowing a performance comparison to be made. One that will hopefully be better than onboard sound anyway!
For the gaming phase of the review I have chosen to use two relatively new games - QUAKE 4 and Unreal Tournament 3. Benchmarking will be undertaken using demo's of both games. The Auzen X-Fi Prelude will be run in both the Gaming Mode and Entertainment Mode to illustrate the impact that X-RAM has on system performance. CMSS 3D and EAX will be enabled during all of the benchmarks. I will be using Fraps to record the amount of frames per second during gaming.
Following on from the bout of gaming I will be running both of the cards under the RightMark 3D Sound CPU Utilization Test (Free version). The RightMark 3D Sound CPU Utilization Test measures CPU load depending on the device. It synthetically emulates the main cycle of a typical ingame sound engine, and provides diagnostics checks for supported EAX versions. Screenshots of RightMark 3D Sound graphs will be used to further illustrate the point at hand.
Subjective Audio Phase
During the subjective audio phase I will be listening to a plethora of music styles and genres, some of which I have included below:
* The Four Seasons (Vivaldi)
* The Great Southern Trendkill (Pantera)
* Back in Black (ACDC)
* Love, Pain & the whole crazy thing (Keith Urban)
* Dreams - The Ultimate Collection (The Corrs)
* With Teeth (Nine Inch Nails)
* Happy Hardcore Singles Collection (Various Artists)
I have chosen to listen to a few of my favourite DVD's out of my somewhat large collection. Again, they have been listed below:
* Van Halen Live
* Star Wars - Revenge of the Sith.
Now let's head over the page to see how the Auzen X-Fi Prelude copes with this swagger of testing...