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IvesKu 23rd May 2008 13:22

Xonar or X-Fi?
Iíve been checking out ASUS Xonar D2X recently, kinda fantasized by itís MIDI I/O and input S/N ratio for recording (Iím sort of a songwriter). But Iím a little concerned about Xonarís gaming ability, should I just go for a X-Fi and all itís EAX5.0 stuff? How does that compared to Xonarís DS3D GX? Iím new to 3D games but Iíd really like to enjoy them.

BTW, Iím using both Vista and XP (dual OS)

jmke 23rd May 2008 13:32

I would go for Asus just for the simple fact that Creative drivers are not that trustworthy

Kougar 23rd May 2008 19:41

Xonar doesn't do anything for gaming, but I'd strongly recommend it over an X-Fi.

jmke 23rd May 2008 21:47

Xonar emulates EAX afaik , no?


Perhaps the greatest weakness of the Oxygen HD audio chip used in the Xonar DX is its relatively pedestrian positional 3D audio credentials. The chip natively supports EAX 2.0—a technology that dates back to the SoundBlaster Live! and is restricted to 32 concurrent 3D voices. Creative's latest X-Fis can handle up to 128 concurrent 3D voices at higher definition sampling rates and resolutions. The X-Fi also performs positional audio calculations in hardware, while the Oxygen HD has to offload them to the host system's CPU.

Asus bridges that gap with a software feature it calls DirectSound 3D GX 2.0, which is capable of emulating EAX 5.0 functionality that had previously only been available with Creative's X-Fi cards.

DS3D GX presents the Xonar as an EAX 5.0-compliant audio card, and then intercepts EAX calls, re-routing them to the Xonar's own audio processing engine. That engine does its best to approximate EAX effects, and it can handle up to 128 concurrent 3D voices with enhanced reverb effects for "most" DirectSound 3D games. Positional audio calculations are still performed on the host system's CPU, but DS3D GX at least brings the Xonar beyond EAX 2.0's 32-voice limitation.

The combination of Windows Vista and multi-core processor seems to have largely blunted the appeal of hardware acceleration for positional 3D audio, and Asus' DirectSound 3D GX does an admirable job of emulating EAX 5.0 effects that have long been restricted to Creative's audio chips.
I have a Creative Audigy 2 ZS Pro sound card, worth €200 at purchase, thanks to buggy Creative drivers which are no longer updated I can forget EAX because Creative drivers make my system BSOD. I'm using KX project drivers which do audio/movie 5.1 etc, but EAX. In short Asus Xonar FTW:)

Kougar 24th May 2008 00:42

Yes it emulates EAX, but it does not boost performance at all. It may knock ~5 FPS off the score since it is all handled via software emulation... but still better than X-Fi in my humble opinion.

If solely looking for EAX support then Xonar is the only option for Vista as it will support anything that does use EAX. X-Fi is mostly useless for Vista for EAX, and useless for better FPS on Vista.

jmke 24th May 2008 09:15

TR is down but game tests where you play at optimal setting will tax your GPU the most and impact of the soundcard will be very minimal

IvesKu 26th May 2008 03:31

Thanks, guys. Really appreciate that.

I was also recommended an Auzentech Prelude at other forums, (yes I did post on a lot of them..), looks about the same price range ($200). Anybody get and idea of X-Fi Prelude?

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