The main advantage of using a dedicated sound card like the Xonar DX is improved audio clarity. This card delivers much cleaner audio quality (116dB SNR) compared to most motherboard based solutions. It also has very basic EAX and Direct Sound support under Windows, though it is not specifically built to be a gaming audio card.
This is a decent, functional sound card. That said, given the lack of advanced features, I would seriously consider just using the motherboard's built-in audio chip, as those are generally of pretty good quality these days. Where I would recommend this card is if you need audio output on a server board that lacks a built-in audio controller.
I have this sound card at home - it's an excellent piece of hardware for a good, standard audio solution. Unfortunately, I've seen issues with some of its higher level EAX emulation, but its base EAX and EAX 2.0 support is good.
One bit of annoyance is that the Asus Xonar Control Panel software that comes with this card is a little odd to get around. The biggest issue I see is that it doesn't auto-switch between front and rear audio ports. As such, you have to go into the control panel and switch to the slightly cryptic "FP Audio" output to get the front panel audio to work.
|Channel Output||7.1 Channels|
|Analog Input||Mic & Line-Level|
|Digital Output||Optical SPDIF|
|Front Audio Signal to Noise Ratio||116 dB|
|Rear Audio Signal to Noise Ratio||112 dB|
|Input Signal to Noise Ratio||112 dB|
- PCI Express interface
- Vista Gaming with DirectSound & EAX support
- Output Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-Weighted):
116dB for front-out, 112dB for other channels dB
Input Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-Weighted):
Configure a custom workstation with the Asus Xonar DX PCI-E.