Audio card for gaming.
I just ordered a new system (http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum...-cm-690-a.html) and completely overlooked the audio card.
My priorities are (1) games, both new (Crysis, Bioshock, CoD4) and older (HL2), (2) movies, and (3) music. Must work well with Vista x64 and XP x86, support for XP x64 would be a big bonus. I'm not an audiophile so issues such as swapping parts on the card are not really imporant to me, but I still want clear sound. My output is via Logitec X-530 5.1 speakers. I don't have plans for head phones.
Some cards I have been looking at in no particular order.
1) Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 (http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum...-1-review.html). I don't see this on NCIX or NewEgg.ca.
2) Auzentech X-FI Prelude 7.1 (http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum...-1-review.html). Seems ideal but it's PCI, I was hoping for PCI-E.
3) ASUS Xonar DX 7.1 PCI-E (http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum...rd-review.html). Good price (C$107 @ NCIX), definately not high end.
4) ASUS Xonar HDAV (http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum...ound-card.html, NCIX.com - Canada's Premier Computer Store - Great Technology, Service and Selection.+). Expensive, but is it worth it?
5) HT Omega Claro (http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/audio/15341-best-sound-card.html, NCIX.com - Canada's Premier Computer Store - Great Technology, Service and Selection.+). But which one?
I'm so confused.
I'd go with the Auzentech offerings... either one will do, the prelude is a bit nicer, also more expensive, though. The ASUS Xonar have driver problems with games and will NOT cut it for gaming, only good for music and movies, and they excel at that.
If you got one of those cards, it'd be laughing at your speakers sorry to say.
In any case, if your priority is mostly gaming, the Auzentech's support EAX5.0, while the Asus do not.
NCIX.com - Buy AuzenTech Forte Low Profile PCI-E 7.1 Sound Card PCI-E Dolby Digital Live Headphone AMP - AZT-FORTE In Canada.
Mind you, it's possible to price match it down to like, 150-160. And speaking of which, I love the card.
Headphones are used on a regular basis for gaming. If I'm playing a game where I want to be immersed, I honestly can't use speakers. I mean, speakers are great and all for audio and movies, but for gaming, I dunno, I find headphones > speakers.
If you're using Vista, go with Xonar. Almost every review of Xonar cards will tell you the exact same thing. The Prelude's not exactly in the same price range as the DX either. If you're considering the Prelude, then you might as well give the D2X a look, although one annoying aspect about the card is its lack of front port support.
If your looking for a card for gaming, Look at the Prelude or the new Forte 7.1 These card will give you the best sound combined with the best compatibility for gaming both older and newer games.
I chose the Forte, but I can see the point someone had made about my audio card laughing at my speakers. Speakers vs. headphone will be an adventure for another day.
Thanks to everyone for your help.
Most of the modern sound cards are spec'd to "laugh" at many set of PC speakers...
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