ASUS Xonar D2 Ultra Fidelity 7.1 PCI Sound Card

CPU Utilization with Rightmark 3DSound 2.3 and F.E.A.R.

Rightmark 3DSound 2.1
More Audio Analysis

Rightmark's 3DSound test measures CPU load depending on the DirectSound device mode. The program synthetically emulates the main cycle of a typical ingame sound engine while also performing standard DirectSound diagnostics checks for supported EAX versions.

    Asus Xonar D2                   Realtek Int. HD Audio                AudioTrak Prodigy

8 Buffers

16 Buffers

24 Buffers

60 Buffers

In this test, we varied each test run by the buffer setting, started at 8 buffers and increasing up to a maximum of 60 buffers.  We can see at 8 Buffers, the Xonar D2 had the least amount of CPU activity while the Realtek HD Audio and Prodigy 7.1 were more on par with increased CPU utilization.  At 16 Buffers, the Xonar D2 and Realtek HD were on the same level while the Prodigy experienced less peaks at this level.  This trend continued through the remainder of the various buffer designations, with the Xonar D2 demonstrating the least impact on the CPU in each test.

Performance Comparisons with F.E.A.R.

One of the most highly anticipated titles of 2005 was Monolith's paranormal thriller F.E.A.R. Taking a look at the minimum system requirements, we see that you will need at least a 1.7GHz Pentium 4 with 512MB of system memory and a 64MB graphics card that is a Radeon 9000 or GeForce4 Ti-class or better to adequately run the game. Using the full retail release of the game patched to v1.05, we put the graphics cards in this review through their paces to see how they fared with a popular title. Here, all graphics settings within the game were set to the maximum values, but with soft shadows disabled (soft shadows and anti-aliasing do not work together currently). Benchmark runs were completed at a resolution 640x480x32, with and without EAX 2.0 enabled.

The Realtek HD Audio control barely fluctuated with EAX enabled or disabled, with a mere 1 FPS difference.  With EAX disabled, the Xonar D2 added 9FPS, while enabling EAX resulted in the performance dropping a few frames short of the Realtek controller.  In reality, these are minor fluctuations that should have minimal effect on gameplay regardless of the video settings applied.  The older AudioTrak Prodigy 7.1 had a negative impact on overall frame rates due to it's higher CPU utilization and EAX 2.0 was not supported with this model.  This demonstrates perhaps how those running older sound cards can benefit greatly from the advances in integrated audio or by adding a newer quality sound card to the mix such as the Xonar D2.

Tags:  Asus, Sound card, PC, Xonar, Car, sound, 7.1, pci, card, Ultra, xo, ULT, id, AR

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