Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 – Is The Sound Card Really Dead?

For the test platform, we went with the Intel 9900K on the Asus Maximus XI Extreme among other boards. The operating system is Windows 10 Pro X64. We test with a solid mix of everything from Gamer grade headsets to audiophile level headsets to see how the transition to a separate audio device feeding the drivers vs the onboard audio will impact each type of user.

Test Rig
Case Type Dimastech Easy XL
CPU Intel Core i7 8700K (Amazon)
Motherboard ASUS Maximus XI Extreme (Amazon)
RAM 32GB (4x8GB) Corsair Vengeance LED 3200MHz C15 (Amazon)
CPU Cooler Thermaltake Floe Riing 360 (Amazon)
Hard Drives Samsung 960 EVO 512GB M.2 2280 NVMe (Amazon)

Samsung 860 EVO 4TB SATA (Amazon)

Optical LG BD-RW BH16NS40
GPU Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Founders Edition
Monitor ASUS PG27AQ 4K 60Hz GSYNC (Amazon)
Case Fans 1 x 140mm Mosfet / CPU / RAM cooling fan
1 x 140mm PCI-E Cooling Fan
Docking Stations None
Testing PSU Thermaltake XT 1475W Gold (Amazon)
Legacy None
Mouse Logitech G502 (Amazon)
Keyboard Logitech Pro eSPORTS Keyboard (Amazon)

Note – we received a commission on any purchases made via any Amazon-link here.

 

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10 comments

  1. very nice review, you did not mention though, that the direct HP / speaker port will allow for 32bit / 384khz – whereas the other ports are 32/96 πŸ™‚

    love my card, paired with DT 990Pro 250ohm studio headphones.

    alot of onboard audio using the ACL1220 codec for example, will apply audio compression when you enable the equializer, making the sound sound like it is “stopped” from reaching its peak – its terrible, muddy and unclear.

    like you, i found the difference to be like night and day.

  2. I was blown away of how much better the Audio is into my B&O headphones with the AE-5…. Why are Soundcards/DAC’s so forgotten!!!

  3. Well they aren’t lol, nobody remotely interested in audio uses onboard soundcards. There are just a bunch of people online nowadays who follow the “it’s digitial and it all sounds the same”, which is of course nonsense. The best part is that 99,99% of those people have zero experience with remotely high quality headphones or audio setups, and their opinions are based on what someone else told them. Any time someone tells you there is no difference between on-board sound cards and external DAC’s or separate high quality sound card, just block out anything else they say about the topic because they clearly lack basic knowledge and have zero experience, or are just flat out deaf.

    • lol, I tend to agree, but I have also playted in a band in what seems like a previous life… The amount of difference between even the ‘high end’ or tweaked codecs/solutions (I use the word high-end very loosely when referencing any onboard audio) I see quite an improvement even in a simple card like the AE-5. There are far better solutions but for most users, this would be a huge step forward.

  4. “β€œit’s digital and it all sounds the same” The amount of times I have heard this line makes me absolutely cringe. I gave up arguing with people about this sort of stuff. ignorance is bliss for them.

  5. Iam new to this and have the HC V 770 and trying to figure out what software I need to get / edit videos from sd card for facebook or youtube . Please help , thanks

  6. Most of the comments are the usual ridiculous audiophool nonsense one would expect.

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