I'm new to this forum and this is my first post. I thought that it would be a good idea to join a forum for hardware and what better one then tom's hardware I used the sites graphics graphs to decide on my purchases for my gaming rig. So greetings!
I'm not a audiophile, but I do enjoy quality sound for music with good bass and mid-range and games with headphones. I'm looking to upgrade my SB X-Fi XtremeGamer (must be 3/4 years old) to either Asus Xonar D2X OR Creative SB X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro. Now the reason for the upgrade is that the XtremeGamer uses a PCI slot and that PCI slot is going to be covered up once I install my second GTX570, so I'm on the market to see what is out there, and possibly get one sooner. Within the price range, I have come across these two and I can't decide which one is better.
Reading on the internet, so far everyone has mentioned that the D2X is of better quality, down to the components which produce "slightly" better quality sound. The problem that I am having is that appart from the specs that people have been throwing out and not finding anyone who has owned both of the cards for comparison, I have a few tiny (some might say pathetic) gripes against the D2X and I don't know whether it would be worth the effort for the sound quality.
The D2X needs extra power provided by the floppy power cable, which means on my current setup, I have to buy an extra cable. Another thing is that it has not front panel support, which is annoying since I do some times use it when I am slightly away from the desk and the front panel is more convenient, but I suppose an extension cable can fix that. As far as I'm concerned, the SB X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro does not have these issues, and on top of that, it's cheaper and supports latest (or very recent) tech like EAX 5.0. I also read somewhere that EAX is emulated on the D2X??
Anyway, I wandered if the D2X is really worth the extra money and effort? Is the D2X really really REALLY that good for me to overlook the supposed slight differences of the SB X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro? Or do I need an upgrade at all? or should I look at something else?
The D2X is a very good card, better then most any X-fi on the market, but its not cost-justified anymore. The ASUS Xonar D1/DX is a better all around option [The D1, like the D2, is PCI, but doesn't require the extra power connector]. And if you have to have something with the same quality as the D2, the Auzentech Meridian 2G and HT Omega Halo+ are both in that same category.
As for EAX, its a dead spec, and has been for a few years now. ASUS emulates it via its directsound wrapper, just like Creative emulates it via Alchemy.
Also, it might pay of to wait a few months, and see what ASUS does with its new lineup of RoG branded soundcards [which are all PCI-E native, so they don't require the extra power connector].
Thanks for the reply and apologies for not replying earlier.
Since I wrote the original post I have come across the SB X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro to test out. I can definitely hear the difference from the X-Fi XtremeGamer, though my headphones anyway, I think I may need some new speakers