It wasn't too long ago that a separate dedicated sound card was necessary inside of a computer system. This meant that the purchase of a sound card was similar to any other computer component. You had to go out and shop around for the best deal and find a product that met your needs. It wasn't until the late 90's that we started seeing the integrated sound into motherboards, however these boards came at an extra expense. People that had an existing PCI or ISA solution were able to pass up these motherboards as existing cards were suitable for normal everyday use. I think I had a Sound Blaster Live! card for nearly 8 years before I had to change to anything else.
With the change in the home PC market, the demand has changed when it comes to sound. No longer are third party cards necessary because every motherboard on the market comes with an integrated solution. This solution has been suitable for the general home user. However, these chips were always lacking in some way or another. Integrated solutions were always seen as a inexpensive alternative. Many people have forgotten that there are still sound cards out there that can offer much more. One group that hasn't forgotten are the media professionals and gamers. These groups typically require a little more than the onboard can offer.
The ASUS Xonar DG Headphone Amp & PCI 5.1 Audio Card poses to be an alternative solution to the shoddy onboard sound. The Xonar DG pushes out superior sound that can benefit anyone, especially gamers. Running the show is a C-Media CMI8786 High-Definition Sound Processor. This chip features support for 96K/16bit playback, 48K/16bit recording. The integrated S/PDIF transmitter supports 44.1k/48k/96KHz sample-rate and 16bits resolution. Supports the latest Dolby Digital EX and DTS ES 6.1/7.1CH DVD soundtrack playback. There is Full-duplex 8CH DAC/2CH ADC. ASUS provides a built-in Headphone AMP and GX2.5 for realistic 3D audio effects.