I'm looking for a new soundcard for my 7.1 analog headset.
I currently have the integrated soundchip on my Asus Sabertooth Z77 (Realtek® ALC892 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC)
But this seems to be some crappy quality.
I don't really have a budget, but I want to make sure I get best bang for buck (But still at least under €200).
I only have a PCIe x1 slot free on my motherboard, since I have 2xGTX 680 4GB's in SLI. (I believe I can put one above the 2 cards, under or between is no space left)
What soundcard with PCIe x1 connector which is only 1 PCIe slot thick, will be best for me?
And also, won't this extra soundcard lower my GPU speeds? Since that PCIe x1 slot seems to share it's bandwidth with the other PCIe x16 slots. (They currently run at x8 3.0)
I would recommend the $72 Asus Xonar Dx .
It has excellent sound quality and is reasonably priced.
To your other concern; no, installing a dedicated PCIe 1x device will not lower the bandwidth to your graphic cards.
All three PCIe 1x slots should use your motherboard's southbridge PCIe connectivity, leaving all PCIe lanes from the CPU fully dedicated to graphics.
Since I live in holland, I buy them at Alternate. I've seen this card on that site: Asus Xonar D2X/XDT. I don't really mind spending that much money on the soundcard, since I'd rather buy something good for more, than I'd regret I havent spend that money on the better one..
But what's the difference between cards like this?
The Xonar D2X is one of Asus' more premium cards.
As such, it will offer somewhat cleaner sound than the Xonar Dx (although, it is entirely up to your headset's drivers if you will hear the difference or not).
Personally, I would not consider it enough of an upgrade to justify doubling the price, but it is a very nice card.
I have forgotten 1 thing. I'm using an optical audio cable to my Home Cinema Set. Is there any other good card wich has Optical out? Or does it just work on my motherboard as a sort of passthrough? Or does the motherboard optical out still use my Realtek chip.
Won't matter. Digital is digital. The Home Cenema will be doing all the audio processing. Unlike the onbard, the DX gives the ability to encode to 5.1 Dolby Digital in realtime, but aside from that, the DX won't be doing any audio processing whatsoever.
We have only talked about Asus so far, but isn't "Creative" a good sound-card brand a well? Like...... What about the Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional Series for example? Any other Creative products that will give me better sound? Maybe another brand?
So basicly, Asus is currently the top-brand for PCIe soundcards, and most recommended brand.
And optical output doesnt need processing, since the Home Cinema system I connect it with, does the processing itself?
More or less. I'm sure a few enhancements are done by the drivers [Volume, Environmental Effects, etc], but the major quality differences in the signal will be seen during conversion to analog, which in that case would be done with the Home Cinema system.
Yes, it is in that budget and since I just got mine a few weeks ago, it really does blow Creative out of the door.
I always used Creative cards from the very first few and never thought that they had anything better than these for the home user. Then after a lot of reading and searching through Audiophile sites, it turns out that these have outdone the creative lot.... and now, after listening to the sound, I have to say, I can confirm the quality for sure.
This is one of those entry level low budget cards and if it can out do the high end creative lot.... than I shudder to imagine what Asus's high end cards would do....
PS: Also bear in mind that this card requires external power from a Floppy Power connector, they do have a adapter cable in the box , molex to floppy power.