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This review is from: ASUS Xonar DX 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Express x1 Interface Sound Card
Pros: Excellent signal to noise ratio. Dolby Digital Live. Really adds punch to your sound. I previously was listening to music and movie soundtracks through onboard audio and most recently through my Radeon HD6950 HDMI port. I felt like the sound system it was hooked to was sounding a bit anemic and read that the audio carried through a video card's HDMI was really not very good. So I bought this one seeing that it had pretty much everything I was looking for as a HTPC enthusiast.
Cons: No true Windows 8.1 sound drivers that are not beta. No decent documentation walking you through your options and how to get sound through the SPDIF Optical port besides putting in the dongle.
Other Thoughts: This is actually not a very new sound card. The technology for sound cards really hasn't progressed a whole lot in the last few years, so there really hasn't been a need for newer models. I bought this card because I was looking for a sound card as my Auzen X-Mystique was PCI and my video card covered that slot up.
If any of you are having trouble getting sound out of the Optical out, try this: First, go to the Asus website and get the most current drivers for your OS. Go to your Windows Sound Mixer and take it off the SPDIF Optical and put it on Speakers. Then go into the Asus Xonar application and select a multiple speaker setup and select SPDIF Optical. Now test your sound. I had to turn the volume WAY down. The movie I was testing it on wasn't letting me hear a voice track. When I changed it in the Asus Xonar application to Dolby Digital Live, I could hear everything as intended.
Mind you, I found the critical piece of information (change Windows Sound Mixer from SPDIF to Speakers on a google search that led me to a particular FAQ page on the ASUS website. I'm not sure I would have otherwise thought to do that.
I would have deducted an Egg for this not being a smooth operation, but the sound quality really blew me away.
Pros: This is actually a *very* nice case. It really looks SLICK. If you have any doubts, you should watch the video all the way through.
I bought this case because I am planning to replace my old HTPC case (Silverstone LC-17) with a mini tower that I'll have on a small shelf mounted under a mounted big screen TV. I plan to regain about 2 feet of room in this process of doing away with the TV stand.
This two biggest selling points to me with this case:
1. It's built to be quiet. Real quiet. There's a ton of sound dampening material in the frame of this case, yet it still gives you the flexibility to do other things with it, such as adding more (or different) cooling or add a lot more storage.
2. Wait until you get into the later half of the video. You'll see something interesting; at least it was very interesting to me. This case was built with the thought process that the person using it might go through multiple processors, multiple methods of cooling, and multiple mainboards before they move on to a newer case years later. In particular, they have a cut out area under the mainboard where you can EASILY access the mounting mechanism for the processor heatsink. This means you NO LONGER need to remove the mainboard completely to try a different heat sink and fan or add water cooling. When I saw that, all I could say is "SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!"
Cons: The one negative... It cost a egg in rating. I apologize to those that may deem this unfair, but there's a dent in the side panel and the front bezel of the case doesn't fit *quite* flush with the rest of it. I don't know if this was caused by shipping or by NewEgg's handling of it. The truth is, there was a LOT of packing material to protect the insides, so someone in the packing/shipping process was really rough with it if that's what happened. I don't know if the side panel can be replaced, but I do know I would not like paying to return the panel I have.
NewEgg doesn't allow half-egg ratings, so a full egg had to be taken for this displeasure.
Other Thoughts: I find it very difficult to see how anyone can really go wrong selecting this case. If you can find it on sale, it's a no-brainerREAD FULL REVIEW
Pros: At the time that I'm writing this, I'm unaware of any other AM3+-based mATX boards with a relatively modern chipset. While the 970 chipset isn't the most full-featured of chipsets, it is modern enough to be able to do whatever you want with any of the current AMD Phenom X4/X6/FX cpus and gives you compatibility with 8GB DDR sticks; something my old old 880GX board couldn't handle.
Using my Phenom II X4 960T Zosma processor, this board had ZERO issues unlocking the the two extra cores. Individual OC settings are very clear and understandable in the UEFI-BIOS.
On-board USB3.0. Numerous SATA 6G ports. 4 DDR slots (that accept the higher capacity RAM instead of only 2 as with many in this form factor.
The board also simply looks nice.
Built by ASRock, who made my last couple of mainboards. Those have served me quite well over the last several years.
Cons: It's very limited for sound output options. I didn't even think about it when I ordered it, but I like using SPDIF Optical for my sound output. Shockingly, it's not there... I would have thought that ANY small form-factor, being that manufacturer already understood the expansion space limitations, would have had this feature built in.
Luckily I had no trouble using my Radeon HD6950's HDMI port going to my big screen and then using the Optical out from there to my sound setup (Vizio 5.1 sound bar). I don't have a dedicated AV receiver, so that's how I set this up.
Other Thoughts: I went with this board as it, as well as any other AM3+ board, had legacy support for my aging, but still quite capable, processor. As the X4 960T was a wonderful processor 3 years ago, it's still reasonable to use today as an X6 processor with a mild overclock. This board is a definite money saver giving me more time to be able to build funds for future upgrades.READ FULL REVIEW
Display Name: Andrew H.
Date Joined: 04/01/01
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