While most motherboards come with great onboard sound, some of us feel it just isn't enough. This is especially apparent in the so called 'audiophile' type of people. If you crave the most realistic sound then you just might fall into this category. The audio that comes with any motherboard is generally far from the best, but recently the quality has been improving. Almost all onboard sound is 24 bit, which is considered high quality. The ASUS Xonar D1 that we are reviewing today is also 24 bit but what makes it any better than onboard audio?
The secret lies in the SNR (signal to noise ratio). Audio cards such as the Xonar D1 have a much better ratio when compared to onboard sound. According to Asus, the D1 has 35x cleaner audio quality than most motherboard audio. This of course does not apply to all motherboard audio, so you will find the occasional exception. Today we have a Asus P6X58D motherboard, which can be considered to have high end audio. Lets see if the D1 has enough to beat out the P6X58D's onboard audio.