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All of the games I tested (Alice, Thief II, Unreal Tourney, BGII SOA) behaved perfectly. Alice allowed me to test all of the supported 3d sound standards, with EAX sounding the best to me. In Thief II the echoes and positioned sounds were excellent, often making me look over my shoulder. In my opinion Baldur's Gate provided the best EAX sounds of all of the games. The rainstorm and environment effects filled my computer room with thunder and the sounds of birds chirping, it was very cool. The rainstorms were particularly convincing, at one point when the rain stopped in the game I noticed that I was still hearing a pounding rain, after checking the all 5 speakers I realized that the sound of driving rain was real! Given the differences in speaker quality I was equally impressed with the GTXP's output to both systems.
I choose three of my favorite movies for the testing of the 5.1 output, T2:Ultimate Edition, The Matrix, and Fifth Element. All of these movies have outstanding surround effects and the GTXP did an excellent job reproducing them. While testing the 4-point surround system I was able to disable any of the one of the 4 speakers and change the levels independently, the digital output is not affected by changing ANY of the levels from the mixer including volume and balance.
This is really a great soundcard, and a good alternative to the SB Live series. The 3D sound support, excellent sound quality, convenient front panel inputs and the very cool breakout box should make the Game Theater XP a must have for those looking to get a new soundcard. Retailing at $150 will also make this card an obtainable goal for a lot of people too. The few problems that it does have shouldn't be a problem to most, but if you are going to be using digital speakers and analog sources you may be disappointed. The convenience of the front USB hub is overshadowed by the fact that is underpowered, but using it to connect a game controller either usb or standard is still nice. For $150 you could do a lot worse, but chances are you are not going to do much better. If you were shopping for a new soundcard I would definitely try the Game Theater XP.
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Overall Score: 85%
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