Current on-board audio solutions are generally regarded as slow, clunky, and poor-featured. Analog Devices is looking to change that with its newly released SoundMAX 2.0, which promises fast, higher-quality, and overall richer on-board audio, for a small price. See how it stacks up.
I have ancient soundcard that will still smoke the soundmax 2.0 in quality and cpu utilization. Perhap they need real hardware intergration not software driven crap like soft 56K modem which rely on the cpu to do most of the work. What we need is full sb 16 compliant, not SB 8bit compatibility, even my PAS16 already has that even so it still disappointing as most software have to be run in 8bit 22Kherz mode because of the lack of SB16 support.
This is obviously aimed at the Dell/Gateway customers. I really don't believe that the people who read this site/board would be interested in a sound solution that take cycles (even idle) from the CPU. Granted who would notice a 9fps drop in Q3 when it's running at 159fps? I really don't like integrated solutions when they reduce functionality.
If Intel had crippled the math coprocessor when they put it in the 486 I guarantee people would have screamed about it. If integrating IDE into the motherboard brought the transfer rate down to serial speed it wouldn't have happened. The only way to get widespread acceptance of this integrated audio garbage is to have it function just as well as the standalone solutions.
This product seems to have all of the draw backs of USB speakers (high cpu util, special speakers, non-standard interface) with none of the benefits. (USB can be used with other devices) And now users will have to deal with 3 different ports (sound card, USB, SoundMAX 2.0) instead of one. And I won't mention BSD, Linux, BeOS drivers for this beast. If I were building a machine today I would stay FAR, FAR away from this beast no matter now good it sounds.