So the Fatal1ty Pro's design and features are all well and good, but how does the card actually sound? In titles like Crysis and Bioshock the Fatal1ty Pro is a really mesmerising performer. It produces very precisely positioned surround sound effects that really add to the tension during game play. Shots reverberate around rooms in a realistic fashion and you can really hear the difference in echoes and reflections as you move between different rooms and structures.
Using the loop back test in RightMark Audio Analyzer on an Acer Aspire M3200 desktop, we measured its noise level at 101.8db, which is excellent, so it's hardly surprising that it sounds wonderfully lively and natural for music and recording, while also doing an excellent job of positioning surround sound audio in film soundtracks. In fact, it's pretty difficult to find fault with the card at all and in terms of performance we'd say that it's the best out there for a dedicated gaming rig.
Of course, there is a downside and that's the price. You're paying a premium for the Fatal1ty Pro over cards like the Asus Xonar DX PCI-E, which can now be had for just £56. That said, although the Asus Xonar DX costs a lot less, its emulated EAX 5.0 support just doesn't compare to the realism and precision of the Fatal1ty Pro in games.
There's no doubt that the Fatal1ty Pro is a top-class performer. Its support for EAX 5.0 HD and OpenAL is exemplary, as is its performance with music and film sound tracks. However, it is a tad expensive and has relatively limited connectivity which narrows its appeal somewhat. Still, if you're into gaming and want the best card on the market at the moment, then we can heartily recommend it.