This, my friends, is a little thing called the Xonar D2X. ASUS released the PCI-based Xonar D2 quite some time ago, and not so long ago, they released the D2X, the PCI-express version. After a long conversation with Asus, we finally get to review this one, the D2X. Two things nice about coming late to the party is that you know what everybody’s wearing, and everybody notices your arrival.

And my God is this thing a showboat.

The gold and PCIe is nice. The Burr-Brown 24 bit/192 KHz DAC's are super high-end and just about the best you can get. The Dolby and DTS encoding is hot. But LED lights? EMI shield? Requires a power connection? Well, I think the D2X would compete well in a beauty pageant, but honestly, it's just so over the top. Creative have pretty much ruled the roost with their Soundblaster series, and with very little surprise with an exceptional performance lead with their DirectSound acceleration, and a healthy game support in Windows XP for their proprietary EAX extensions.

One thing that has opened up with Microsoft’s latest OS, Vista, is the sound card market. Vista ended the direct hardware access era, effectively destroying Creative’s performance lead. Users of XP still have some advantage, but as soon as XP is dead, we’ll have a level playing field and renewed competition in the market. That’s the theory anyway, and it does seem to be starting right about now.

Let's get this boat rocking.
Product: Xonar D2X soundcard
Manufacturer: ASUS
Information: ASUS
Street price: $172

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