GamePC heeft een roundup gepost tussen de beste A3D en EAX geluidskaarten van het jaar 2000 (geen Soundblaster Live dus). De kaarten die getest werden zijn: de Turtle Beach Montego II Plus, de S3/Diamond Monster Sound MX400, de Guillemot Fortissimo, de Aureal SQ1500 en de Aureal SQ2500.
These audio cards share some similar features. They all have four-speaker outputs. All of them have a S/PDIF (Sony Philips Digital Interface) outputs for connecting to high-end receivers and mini-disc players. Both of these trends are very positive especially for the budget solutions. A note about this output: capable software DVD players (the latest Cyberlink PowerDVD and WinDVD are examples) allow for AC-3 pass-through. This enables the sound card to pass the digital audio signal for Dolby Digital to be decoded by an external receiver. Stereo output may also be played through this, including standard DirectSound outputs from Windows and any two-speaker output. However, four-speaker outputs are not supported through the S/PDIF output. A S/PDIF and receiver combination can only be used for either Dolby encoder signals or stereo outputs. So if you're looking forward to some 4+ speaker action via your brand new receiver, you're out of luck. Hopefully, Microsoft will add this capability to DirectSound, but it is highly unlikely since it would involve having to encode to Dolby. This is very CPU intensive and would cause quite a bit of delay.
All of these cards support a 3D audio API in one form or another. Aureal's A3D and Creative's EAX are the two major 3D audio APIs that gather the most headlines. A3D 2.0 is based on a more geometric and physic-based approach, while EAX relies on reverberations and reflections to add depth to audio. Which is better? I leave that up to the users. I personally like the A3D system a little better, but there are times when the EAX settings are very, very effective.