PowerColor Devil HDX PCIe Sound Card Reviewccokeman -
Category: Sound Cards
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PowerColor Devil HDX PCIe Sound Card Introduction:
Not too far in the distant past, a sound card was part of the equation when putting together your latest PC build. In time, it seems the on-board audio solutions just kept getting better and better, so the sound card became less of a priority. In fact, there are on-board solutions that rival the sound produced by many a supposed "high-end" sound card. Thankfully, the sound card did not go the way of the dinosaurs and is enjoying a resurgence in popularity with all of the common players putting together stellar packages.
When you think of PowerColor, you normally think of a manufacturer that as of late has really pushed the envelope with the Devil line of custom designed AMD-based video cards. You would not think of PowerColor as a company that was ready to deliver the next part of the gaming centric product line and put together a well built and designed PCIe-based sound solution. Surprise!
Fresh out of PowerColor's warehouses is the Devil HDX PCIe sound card. Put together with a solid hardware lineup that includes a C-Media Oxygen Express™-series HD CM8888 audio processor, Wolfson WM8741 DAC, Texas Instruments LM4562 OP, and swappable op-amps. Priced at $159, it is not a bargain proposition, but good quality sound these days is going to cost a few pennies. Playing with a capable sound card should prove to be an interesting proposition.
PowerColor Devil HDX PCIe Sound Card Closer Look:
Externally, the packing is pure PowerColor Devil branding at its finest. The front of the matte black box features the Devil HDX logo flanked by simulated heartbeats while along the bottom is a list of specifications showing that you get a card that has a 600OHM headphone amplifier, can deliver 192KHz 24-bit sound, and deliver a SNR of up to 124dB. Pretty stout specs to be sure. The back side of the package lists the specifications, minimum system requirements, and highlights some of the key features. A flip up cover opens to display a detailed look at the hardware level components.
Inside is a flat black box that holds the Devil HDX in place with the accessory bundle lying beneath the card. What you get in the package is the Devil HDX sound card, a daughter board to enable 7.1 sound capability, a pair of ribbon cables to connect the Devil HDX to the daughter board, a quick install guide/user manual, driver/software disc, and a gold plated 6.3mm to 3.5mm adapter. On the driver disc you get a much more detailed manual that walks the user through the functionality of the card and what each of the Xear software options are for.
The daughter board mounts underneath the Devil HDX card when it is used. The connections are your standard analog 3.5mm jacks that are color coded in the pink, green, blue, orange, and black color scheme so you cannot mistake which port delivers which sound stream. On the back side of the card are two connections that attach to the Devil HDX. The top connection point is for the multi-channel stream and the lower is for the HD Audio stream. Two things I would have liked to have seen on this solution would be braided covers for the interconnect cables and to have an EMI cover that mirrors what is on the parent card to complete the look.
On paper this looks like a really promising audio solution. Coupled with the included Xear software package, it sounds like a can't miss proposition.