There's a reason you don't see more people playing Doom 3 or certain other intense PC games on their laptops. Actually, there are several reasons, and one of them is that the audio card won't give them the sound reproduction such games deserve. Creative Labs came up with an answer to this need: a US external sound card. Memphist0 checks out the Audigy2 NX, not just for gaming, but for movies and music. Does it measure up to its desktop kin? Read on to find out.
Laptops, notebooks, whatever you like to call them, have been striving to not only be viewed as a needed item for the road warrior but as the only computer you need. In the past it was clear that a desktop PC was still needed. Laptops did not offer the computing horsepower, storage capabilities, or features for many people. They could only comfortably run Web browsers or office applications.
For the most part this has changed. The new breed of laptops, dubbed desktop replacements, utilize the same high-end processors as their desktop cousins. They also have current generation graphics cards, greater storage options (either internal or external), DVD/CD writers, and just about every other feature the desktop has historically offered. That is with one exception, the sound card. Yes, laptops do offer sound cards but they tend to be of a much lower quality than most users would want. Most laptop sound cards typically offer just enough to be called a sound card. They forgo sound quality for battery life or cost.
Creative Labs has heard the cry of those with a sound challenged laptop and began offering USB external sound cards. Finally, a choice for those that want to give up their bulky desktop PCs but want a high quality, fully featured soundcard. The Audigy2 NX advertises many of the same specifications as the Audigy2 that gamers use in their desktop machines. This is a huge selling point for gamers. With the Audigy2 NX it is now possible to play all those games with EAX sound enhancements on a laptop and be able to hear them. Unreal Tournament 2004 with its EAX ADVANCED HD sound was a major reason I choose an Audigy2 Platinum for my desktop PC, and now my laptop will be able to reproduce those sound enhancements as well.
Besides using the Audigy2 NX with laptops, there is nothing stopping someone from using it with their desktop. This may be particularly appealing for those using a small form-factor (SFF) machine that have limited PCI slots. It would also be possible to share the Audigy2 NX among different machines (not at the same time) by simply plugging it into the machine that is in use and installing the drivers. The case of the machine it is being installed on doesn't even need to be opened.
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