Setup and Technical Overview
Installation of this board went very smoothly indeed. Once a suitable PCI slot is located and the card is seated, it's simply a process of running the drivers through windows and you're all done.
Upon installation of the board and drivers it's time to connect your speaker system and also any other gear situated in your work area that requires audio. This job is made easy via the wide selection of outputs and inputs located on the rear of the board, seen just below.
From a technical point of view we understand that Auzentech have fully licensed Creative labs' X-Fi chip onto their own proprietary circuit board design. So what does that mean? Well it means arguably the world's fastest and most advanced audio processing at the average consumers reach right now, with upcoming driver support for Dolby Live, DTS interactive and since we have a Creative chip, the very latest in EAX surround technology.
Okay, technically we have 24-bit/96k straight down the line-in and out through all 7.1 channels as well as the digital pathways; not a bad start.
Next we have super low latency ASIO 2.0 support for the smallest of real time delays when recording, and 64MB of on board RAM to ease the strain a little. This is something I have personally never seen on a sound card before, very cool.
Rounding out the package, we get swappable OPAMP connectors I assume to upgrade the amplified analog outs with components sourced from Auzentech's aftermarket catalog; a very interesting upper-echelon feature to include for a general consumption board. All necessary software including drivers for XP/Vista are also included.
Signal to noise ratio is well up there with my Xonar and should provide little noise if any at all. Total harmonic distortion figures are good, and once again are on par with the Xonar.
This board is also loaded with a very nice selection of chips, each with its own specific job to do down the signal path. Another interesting feature I touched on earlier is the inclusion of 64MB of RAM on the card to aid with intense surround audio processing during gaming.