Rizenet Hardware Review
SQ2500 Quad PCI Sound Card
Manufacturer: Aureal w/ IOMagic
Price: $99 MSRP U.S.
The war for sound cards has been raging for nearly a year or so now. Creative Labs and Aureal have both been offering two very competitive chips, the Vortex2 from Aureal and EMU101K from Creative. Many cards feature the Vortex2 Chipset, including the Diamond MX300 and the Xitel Storm Platinum. Creative, as always, is offering the chip under their famous SoundBlaster label with the Sound Blaster Live! and Live! Value. Aureal must want a piece of the action, as they are following the footsteps of 3dfx and S3 and are releasing their own card under their label featuring the Vortex chipsets. They are offering the SQ2500 (reviewed here) and the SQ1500, a card based on the original Vortex.
You may be wondering why Aureal is choosing to enter the market with a Vortex2 card, since the Vortex2 is nearing the end of it's lifespan (cards based on the ESS Canyon3D will be released soon and Aureal is developing a newer chip for the SQ3500 Turbo). Fear not, for Aureal has quite a few tricks up it's sleeve with this card. But first, let's take a look at the specs.