ASUS Xonar D2 Ultra Fidelity 7.1 PCI Sound Card

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Final Words

Overall performance of the Asus Xonar D2 7.1 Ultra Fidelity Sound Card was quite good.  Both synthetic testing with RightMark Audio Analyzer and RightMark 3D Sound, the vital statistics were good, with the Xonar having a marked advantage, most notably in RMAA.  With gaming performance, CPU utilization was relatively even, with the Xonar D2 dropping below the Realtek HD Audio controller slightly with EAX testing, while the Xonar D2 had a 9 FPS lead with EAX disabled.  In all of our subjective tests, we were quite pleased with the Xonar D2's performance, finding little shortcomings, although the Realtek's integrated HD Audio solution performed rather well too.

The ASUS Xonar D2 Ultra Fidelity 7.1 sound card came with promise of being the best sound card in its class, but best is broad sweaping statment that we'll steer clear of in general.  It’s certainly priced at the upper end of cards in its class but does boast excellent SNR performance.  However, saying it’s the best depends on its intended use from an end user's perspective.  For a prosumer class card, the ASUS Xonar D2 Ultra Fidelity 7.1 Sound Card has a lot to offer, and serious audiophiles may find its feature set robust, with little drawback. 

However, from a average user looking for a solid sound card for music, movies and gaming perspective, the ASUS Xonar D2 Ultra Fidelity 7.1 Sound Card may a bit overkill.  Synthetic performance testing demonstrated the performance and accuracy differences between integrated audio and the Xonar D2 without question.  We just don't see a glaring reason to suggest the average user take the leap from a good integrated sound processing solution to a high quality PCI sound card like the Xonar.  We did note in our subjective segment that the Xonar D2 offered superior performance especially in gaming scenarios, but integrated Realtek HD Audio wasn't too far off the mark versus the Xonar card.  Not to mention that the Realtek solution comes built into a motherboard with minimal CPU utilization or increase in cost.  Where the ASUS Xonar D2 Ultra Fidelity 7.1 Sound Card fits in, is with users looking for a bit more out of their total sound solution.  For any user looking for advanced features and the ability to connect to a broad range of external components, the Asus Xonar D2 and its retail bundle should bring a lot to the table for the audiophile or surround sound
aficionado that can justify the added expense. 

_Very Good Audio Reproduction
_Excellent surround-sound and spatial positioning performance
_Robust Retail Bundle
_Good Gaming Performance
_EMI Shield
_Illuminated Ports
_Stable Drivers
_Pricey
_Limited CPU off-load benefits

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

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