What should I be looking at? What features should I be looking for?
The goal is to spend no more than about ~$100 on a sound card. I'll only use my headset (HPX-SS) in 5.1 config for a lot of games and some music. If I am going to end up buying SS Siberia V2s to replace my HPX-SS how would that influence what features I look for (HPX-SS is getting worn and uncomfortable)?
I used to have a creative sound blaster extigy when I used to play on my PS3. The sound from the box was bounds and leagues above my current onboard. I'm looking to make a return to that level of sound quality without breaking the bank.
Well, at that price point, the only real contender is the ASUS Xonar DX, which should fit your needs quite well. Just make sure you have the necessary floppy power connector to connect the soundcard [especially since some PSU's don't even include that hookup anymore...].
Though if you can find one for under $100, either an ASUS Xonar D2(X) or Auzentech Forte would also be attractive choices, though they typically sell for above that.
I've got an HX-750 so... I should have 2 floppy connectors available.
You say the Xonar DX is the only contendor at my current price point but, what about the striker 7.1?
What is the difference between the Xonar D1 and the DX? They seem almost identical.
Thanks for the help. Sound cards are a new realm for me.
Edit: Would the recommendation be any different if it was going to only be used for gaming?
The D1 and Striker are on the PCI bus, where the DX is the same chipset with a chip to make it work on the PCI-E bus. The DX is slightly newer though, hence why I recommend it. All three use the same exact C-Media chipset.
The D1/DX offers software emulated EAX 5.0, the Striker offers DTS Encoding [the D1/DX can only do Dolby]. The Striker also has a seperate line input port if I recall properly. Aside from that, basically the same card as the D1.
Unless using the optical outputs [which kills the point of getting a soundcard], Dolby/DTS encoding don't matter to you. And given how PCI is basically a near dead bus, going with the slightly newer PCI-E based card makes the most sense. The Striker isn't a bad card by any means, but its hard to cost-justify over the DX.