RSS Feed

HCW Tech Blog

For the latest info on computer hardware, tech, news, video games, software tips, and Linux, check out our new improved front page: HCW Tech Blog

Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [09.16.06]
Manufactured by: Foxconn


Audio Quality

As I mention in all my motherboard reviews, onboard audio used on most motherboards is crap. I can't put it any other way, sorry. In this review, I will include the results from the current top gaming soundcard, Creative X-Fi Fatal1ty. Although this is a $240 product, you will get identical results from the "Extreme Music" version which is just around $120, and can be found for as low as $90. Performance is about the same, too. After looking at these results, you can decide if $90 is a worthwhile upgrade from onboard audio.

We used the X-Fi as the input card in the RMAA tests, looping back when that particular card was tested. RMAA uses a word-based scale to describe performance. We translated these words to a scale of 1-6; 1 being "Very Poor" and 6 being "Excellent".

As expected, the 9657AA is right along other onboard audio solutions, which is to say they all suck about equally. If you care at all about audio quality and performance, you really owe it to yourself to drop $90 on a very good soundcard. It's not as stupid or expensive as spending $250 on a Physx card, so why not do it? ;)

At this point, we usually include CPU usage results from the audio, but there is still a problem with Rightmark 3D Sound and the Core 2 Duo platform. Hopefully those issues get worked out, and we can get back to our usual thorough testing in future reviews.

Next Page: (Ethernet & Data Transfer Bus Performance)