This is a full-profile, PCI-E soundcard. This does not have 7.1 surround sound support, but the quality Sound Core 3D/Cirrus Logic DAC combo, 5.1 surround sound support, a powerful headphone amp and optical connection support makes this a good upgrade over your motherboard audio.
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Pro Produces good audio quality that is clean with minimal distortion
With this soundcard, audio will sound clear and positional audio in movies and games will also be improved. The Cirrus Logic DAC used produces clear audio with very little to no distortion. Also, this sound card enhances sound stage and audio separation compared to on-motherboard audio.
Pro Can support audio setups with optical connectors
Optical in/out ports are present if you have speakers with optical connectivity, and should result in optimal sound quality. This soundcard also has the necessary analog ports for a 5.1 surround sound setup.
Pro CrystalVoice can enhance mic quality
This is a handy feature if you do a lot of voice chat while gaming and should result in clearer and easily audible sound. CrystalVoice can dynamically adjust mic volume, reduce ambient noise and echo and can also boost your mic volume.
Pro Can power high impedance headphones
This sound card can bring out optimal volume and sound quality even from high impedance headphones. This has an amp that can sufficiently power 600 ohm headphones.
Pro SBX Pro Studio software offers a lot of audio enhancement features
Creative's audio software offers a lot of control over the sound card's features including audio enhancements, 5.1 surround sound options as well as EQ adjustments. This will allow you to customize many aspects of your audio experience with the sound card.
The software is cleanly laid-out and is intuitive to use.
Pro Reduces CPU audio processing overhead
This sound card has a dedicated quad-core processor which takes the audio processing load off the CPU. This frees up CPU resources for optimal computer performance while also providing high quality, delay-free audio along with additional audio effects/enhancements.
Con More on the expensive side
Unless you need the Beamforming microphone technology, Creative offers the Sound Blaster Audigy for almost half the price and similar features.
Con The LED light on the side can be too bright
This can be a problem if you have a side panel window on your PC. The red LED is quite bright and can get distracting. The LED cannot be turned off.
Con Short warranty period
Creative provides 12 months of warranty, compared to 36 months of warranty for ASUS soundcards.