While toying with my X-Box I managed to mess it up and now it won’t boot, which means my primary DVD player is currently a brick. Fortunately, I’m able to watch DVDs on the MMS though only with stereo sound. Ever since I bought the motherboard for that computer I’ve considered upgrading the sound card to support a digital optical connection. The manufacturer of the board makes an add-on optical output adapter but I decided to go ahead and purchase a new card rather than risk ending up with low-quality sound that is putting more load on the processor.
While my current receiver only supports Dolbly Digital 5.1 I decided to hunt for a 7.1 compatable card just in case I later upgrade my receiver. Another requirement was Dolby Digital Live (DDL) capability. DDL decodes the audio signal on the sound card, rather than relying on the system processor. I shopped around in Montgomery last month but the cards in stock at Best Buy and Circuit City were only 5.1 capable, did not have an optical output, or cost more than I wanted to spend. Since then I have continued shopping on the Web. The first card I selected cost about $80 but when I decided to order it this week it wasn’t availabe on NewEgg anymore. At the time I wanted to buy from NewEgg so I started searching on another card. I found the Diamond XtremeSound XS71DDL. It was about $30 less than the previous card and also had positive reviews.
I attempted to order the card but NewEgg happened to have problems with the server and after two attempts to place the order I gave up and started shopping around for the same card at different sites. Ultimately, and oddly enough I found the card at Dell.com. After the addition of taxes and free shipping the final cost of the card was almost $20 less than it would have been if I had purchased it from NewEgg. Now I’m waiting for the card to arrive so I can install it and ounce again enjoy surround sound.