I used to date a girl who was a little obsessive about what she ate. At every opportunity, she would buy fat-free, low-calorie, or otherwise diet derivatives of common food items. Now there's nothing wrong with foods that are naturally fat-free or low in calories, but when you strip out the fat, salt, sugar, and delicious-but-carcinogenic chemicals, something is usually lost in the translation. Fat-free ice cream, for example, lacks the all-important creaminess that fat provides. Unsalted potato chips fall flat precisely because they lack salt. And Diet Coke, well, that just tastes wrong.
Diet versions of existing products tend to be hollow representations of the originals, so we were understandably a little cautious when Asus announced its new Xonar DX sound card. The PC hardware giant stormed onto the sound card scene with the Xonar D2X just a few months ago, putting longtime market magnate Creative on notice. A $180 asking price put the D2X firmly in luxury territory, but with PCI Express connectivity, high quality components, innovative features, and useful bundled extras, it's definitely worth the price-especially when you consider the card's solid gaming performance and exceptional sound quality.
Asus' new Xonar rings in at half the cost of the D2X, and the card itself is half the size. Naturally, then, the DX is missing some of the features and extras of its full-fat cousin. Keep reading to see how the diet Xonar fares without them.