Date: Monday , July 09, 2012
In the late 90s, PC gamers and audio enthusiasts had the freedom to choose their sound cards from more than a dozen different brands. Today, there are only two companies actively producing new offerings: Asus and Creative.
Last May, we reviewed Creative's new flagship card, the Recon3D Fatality Professional. We found that the card definitely had some good hardware and software features for the PC gamer, but considering that product's steep price, we found that it's all-in-one design simply lacked core audio quality.
All three of Asus' new sound cards follow more traditional designs that utilize discrete components.
While both the Xonar DGX and DSX sound cards are designed for gamers on a budget, the ROG Xonar Phoebus features a number of audiophile components and an external headphone amplifier that should appeal to both headphone gamers and the audio enthusiasts willing to pay for better audio quality.
Creative has long been considered the king of PC gaming sound cards. Today, we will tell you if Asus and its new products have risen up to challenge the proverbial PC audio throne. The answer will definitely surprise you.
The Xonar DGX was designed for the headphone gamer on a budget. Newegg sells the product for $39.99 and $2.99 for ground shipping. Amazon sells the product for $42.49 with free ground or prime shipping included.
The Xonar DSX targets the gamer or movie enthusiast on a budget that requires 2.1, 5.1, or 7.1 analog or digital speaker connectivity. Newegg sells the product for $42.99 after rebate and $6.69 for ground shipping. Amazon sells the Xonar DSX for $59.02 with free ground or prime shipping.
The ROG Xonar Phoebus is intended for the gamer with audiophile tastes looking for both headphone and speaker connectivity. Newegg sells the product for $199.99 and $8.26 for ground shipping. Amazon sells the product for $187.99 with free ground or prime shipping.
The Xonar DGX and DSX sound cards both have very simple packaging schemes. The cards are protected inside their boxes with anti-static bags and fitted cardboard frames. Both sound cards come with a printed product manual and an interchangeable back plate for small form factor PC usage. Each product's features and specifications are printed on the product box's side and back panels.
With the Rog Xonar Phoebus, Asus uses very sharp and informative packaging and presentation. The inside flap and back panel of the product's outer box highlight the product's features and specifications, while the product and its accessories are packaged inside in a second box filled with foam rubber padding and sealed with a transparent plastic dust cover.
All three sound cards carry a three year warranty. With a warranty this long, any of these cards should last you through your next operating system upgrade.