Asus Xonar D1 Reviewhardnrg -
Category: Sound Cards
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Asus is pronounced "A-soose" (like saying "A juice", but with an "s"). Little factoid for you there. I'm not the only one who started off calling them "Ay-suss" (and still do, bad habits die hard). I guess it's just something most people don't know to begin with.
The average user might not have even heard of Asus. Yes! It's true! When I was recently in the States, I took my Asus Eee PC 1000H laptop with me, and many people were very interested in it, but few of them had heard of Asus. Yet, the company has been making OEM motherboards for pre-built systems for many years, as well as producing high-end customised designs for its performance line of motherboards. I think the Eee PC laptop line will really make the general public aware of the Asus brand, and that's a good thing! The greater the familiarity with the brand, the more likely you will see Asus products in everyday stores and not just the online enthusiastic e-tailers.
So what the heck am I rambling on about? Asus doesn't just make motherboards, and as well as peripherals, phones, servers, and the more obvious computer components like graphics cards, Asus has recently started producing physics cards and sound cards. The range of sound cards caters to the most commonly used interfaces of today: PCI-Express, PCI, and USB. In this review, I will be taking a look at the Xonar D1 PCI sound card.
I like how a photograph of the card dominates the front of the package, rather than a picture of a spaceship, a "cool gamer dude", or busty CGI babe. To me, audio is serious business, and Asus looks like they feel the same way. The back of the box doesn't really tell you much more than the front, apart from mentioning the low-profile bracket. I didn't take pictures of the sides of the box, but basically they just list specs and requirements of the card, and also list the package contents.
What is the package contents? The card itself, a quick start guide, a driver CD, low profile bracket, and an optical audio adapter.
The low-profile bracket is provided so that you can convert the soundcard from standard height to low-profile, so that it can be used in slim enclosures, like some HTPC cases. The screws are provided for the bracket. Also pictured here is the optical audio adapter. It has the 3.5mm end covered with a protective rubber tip to keep it clean and free from scratches. Taking this tip off lets you insert the adapter into the card, and end up with a TOSLink socket for using a standard optical digital audio interconnect cable.
So, pretty basic accessories then, but both useful and nice to see them included. Onto the card itself!