Much has been made of the incredible speed advantages PCI Express offers over PCI. Beyond GPUs, however, we haven’t found much worthy of occupying those slots. Asus hopes to change that with its Xonar D2X card—the first soundcard we’ve reviewed that makes use of the PCI Express interface. The D2X is basically a PCI-E version of the Xonar D2 (reviewed April 2008). In our review of the Xonar D2 we lamented the card’s lack of advanced EAX support, something Asus has tried to fix here. But do their workarounds, well, work?
If you’re already gaming with a G92-based 8800 GTS, there’s very little reason to move up to a G92-based 9800 GTX such as PNY’s XLR8. The architecture in both GPUs is nearly the same, with 128 stream processors, a 256-bit interface, and 512MB of GDDR3. Slightly faster clock speeds yield only a modest bump in performance. That’s not to say the 9800 brings nothing to the table, but you’ll have to decide for yourself whether its offerings are worth the price.
For all those readers who have added up the price of the parts in an OEM box and screamed into the night air: “Hell, I can build it cheaper than that!” CyberPower has a retort: Beat this one, sucker! While you might think you’re up to the challenge, we suspect the price-to-performance ratio of the CyberPower Gamer Ultimate SLI Quad is impossible to match—unless you’re using boosted parts. In fact, we’re not sure how CyberPower is making a profit off this stacked and packed rig.