ASUS Xonar DX PCI Express 7.1 Audio Card

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Gaming: 3DMark Vantage & HL2: Episode 2

Now we're going to shift our focus to actual system performance, to see if the addition of a quality add-in sound card can have a positive effect on framerates and available CPU resources.  We'll start with the recently released 3DMarkVantage, more specifically with its CPU performance module.

FutureMark 3DMark Vantage
Synthetic Tests

In this test, the CPU score jumped 144 points when comparing the Xonar DX to the Realtek ALC888, a gain of 3.7%.  Surprisingly, the Xonar DX managed to top the Xonar D2 Ultra, but the results were so close that it could be attributed to minor test fluctuations.

Half Life 2: Episode 2
DirectX Gaming Performance

Half Life 2:
Episode 2

Thanks to the dedication of hardcore PC gamers and a huge mod-community, the original Half-Life became one of the most successful first person shooters of all time.  And thanks to an updated game engine, gorgeous visual, and intelligent weapon and level design, Half Life 2 became just as popular.  Episode 2 offers a number of visual enhancements including better looking transparent texture anti-aliasing. These tests were run at resolutions of 640x480 Low Quality and 1600x1200 High Quality with no anti-aliasing and no anisotropic filtering enabled.  We used a custom recorded timedemo file to benchmark all cards in this test.

The first test was run with audio quality set to high and all visual qualities set to their lowest setting to target CPU performance.  In this test, the Xonar DX managed to trail the Realtek ALC888 by 2.66FPS, while the Xonar D2 Ultra topped the Realtek ALC888 by less than 1FPS.  At this resolution, all tests were very close, showing minimal effects on the CPU with all three options.

In this test, we set the game to high quality visuals with the sound set to high and tested to see how the add-in cards affected game play at a common configuration.  At this resolution, the Xonar DX managed to tack on 4.58FPS, a gain of 3.5% over the integrated solution.  The Xonar D2 Ultra managed to add 6.86FPS which equates to 5.3%.

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