As far as benchmarking goes, I used Audio WinBench and Rightmark Audio Analyzer for the synthetic benchmarking. For real world usage,
I used a rather rudimentary method. I opened up the task manager and checked CPU usage while running iTunes to play some of my
With Audio WinBench, I ran the DirectSound and DirectSound3D tests for 16-bit and 44.1 kHz. The CPU utilization never reached 5%.
With RightMark Audio Analyzer, I tested at 16-bit, 44.1 kHz and 24-bit, 96 kHz. The RightMark results were all in the excellent range for the HDA X-Plosion.
RightMark Audio Analyzer
CPU usage while listening to music during iTunes fluctuated between 0% and 4%. I had tested this previously with the Audigy 2ZS, and found that
CPU usage fluctuated between 2% and 5% with that card. It appeared that the HDA X-Plosion was more efficient at mp3 decoding and up-converting
than my old Audigy 2ZS.
The other testing that I did was purely subjective. My ears had the final say in how good this sound card sounded. The first ear
test was playing mp3s in iTunes. For this, I used the poopy stock iPod headphones that came with my iPod. I tested the HDA X-Plosion
against my 40GB iPod Photo, using the Rock EQ setting. The findings were straightforward, the HDA made my iPod sound tinny. The sound
that I've gotten used to over the past year was proven to be garbage compared to the fidelity of the HDA X-Plosion over even the most