We first showed you Asus's soundcard back at CeBit, and now it finally has a name: Xonar D2. The external EMI shield design hasn't changed at all, but we can now give you more details on it.
As far as we can tell it'll be initially available on PCI but with PCI-Express versions following later, since only PCI models were shown off at today's event. The circular rim now sports an orange glow, and the rear 3.5mm jacks include coloured LEDs according to their corresponding AC'97 colouring to help identify them easily, without compromising on the use of gold plated connectors for superior connectivity.
Asus claims a 118dB SNR at 192KHz/24-bit from the "AV200" audio chip, Burr-Brown PCM1796 (rated at 123dB SNR) OpAMPs and one analogue to digital (ADC) Cirrus Logic CS5381 converter rated at 120dB SNR.
Bundled software includes PowerDVD 7.0, RightMark Audio Analysis, Alberton Live audio creation software with a $500 price tag, Cakewalk Production Plus Pack, Sonar LE, Dimension LE and Project LE. In addition, Asus supplies a Midi connector in the box for audio professionals.
There's no doubt Asus is hitting the soundcard market with all it has, in the hardware and software package, but still whether it sounds any good is the ultimate question... of which, we almost know the answer;
C-Media has been heavily involved in the project, but whether Asus has just licensed its technology or if Asus has had it totally design a new product, we don't know. The chipset looks similar to the Oxygen HD processor we've looked at previously from Sodingo and Omega, and considering C-Media helps Realtek a lot with its PC HD audio codecs, we wouldn't be surprised if the same happened here. Asus can stamp its feet harder than most companies, so helping it as much as possible has to be a bonus for C-Media's bottom line.
The Xonar D2 should be sampling within weeks, and you can be sure that bit-tech
is down on the list for one of the first off the production line to let you all know what the real deal is.
Will Asus become the new M-Audio? Who knows, but let us know your thoughts in the forums