I recently completed a build that has a Rampage II Extreme mobo, which comes bundled with a SB soundcard called "SupremeFX X-Fi", which plugs into a PCIe x1 slot on the board. It has optical out as well out 5.1 surround speaker jacks. More can be briefly read about it here. To me, it sounds exceptional.
However, from my old system I also have a SB X-Fi 5.1 USB adapter, a photo and specs of it can be viewed here .
My question is, technically speaking, which produces superior sound? The X-Fi USB is an easy install; simply plug it into any USB port and connect the speakers and I'm good to go. However, conisdering I already have the SupremeFX card installed and it isnt giving me any issues, I am not sure what to do. If the USB device is "better" as far as audio quality goes, then I'd rather just utilize it as my primary sound source, rather than the bundled card that came with my mobo. According the SupremeFX article, "In reality, what this card is, is a small PCB that houses an ADI Soundmax AD2000B 8-channel CODEC, which is not different from a variety of onboard audio solutions today. We’re not dealing with a true hardware Creative X-Fi implementation, we’re basically seeing software-layer X-Fi support,..."
If such is the case, swapping them out would be very easy. So, to all sound gurus out there, which would be the better choice?
More about :bundled rampage extreme supremefx card
So whats so bad about an "Interace through a USB port"? It's capable of all the SB goodies, such as EAX, Crystalizer, etc.. When hooked up to a 5.1 surround system it sounds quite good. I dunno, maybe I haven't heard a superior card yet so I don't have anything to make a good comparsion with.
I choose this - "SupremeFX X-Fi", which plugs into a PCIe x1 slot on the board. it says further - We’re not dealing with a true hardware Creative X-Fi implementation, we’re basically seeing software-layer X-Fi support. So I choose SupremeFX X-Fi which plugs into a PCIe slot.
So whats so bad about an "Interace through a USB port"? It's capable of all the SB goodies, such as EAX, Crystalizer, etc..
Audio quality takes a step off a cliff. I'll take a cleaner audio output any day.
I also make a note: As of Vista/7, there are no 100% hardware EAX soundcards anymore. Either EAX is handled entirely in software (ASUS' implementation) or partially in hardware after the audio gets converted in software to OpenAL (Creative Alchemy). Nevermind EAX is obsolete and rarly used anymore...
If your deciding which to use in the arsenal of soundcard you already have, out of the box, then the SupremeFX X-Fi is far superior than the 5.1 usb interface module. But it isn't superior than the cards available for wihtin $100. I personally like its audio .