The Diamond Monster Sound MX400 is mainly targeted for the sound or audio options. It is not designed for the serious gamers. When playing StarCraft (The Game) the MX 400 didn't sound bad, then I jumped over to the other computer with the Sound Blaster Live on it and StarCraft had a new sound that the MX 400 couldn't come close to. Now the MX 400 sounded flat and didn't have the boom, boom as the SB Live had. Now when listening to a CD the MX 400 was pretty good and clear. Compared to the SB Live it was close though the SB Live had a little richer sound to it. Listening to DVDs wasn't the best for the MX 400, it had a good sound but then the SB Live was setup with true Dolby 5.1 and it blew the MX 400 away. Now the MX 400 has an optional card for 4-speaker MP3 use, I don't know if that made an improvement or not since I didn't have one. About the MX 400 It needs a PCI slot and is Bus Type PCI 2.1. The PCI Controller uses an ESS Canyon 3D chipset with Audio codec & Quad AC97 2.1 Codec. The sample rates are up to 48 kHz for playback and record. The DSP is for 32 bit audio signal processing capability. This utilizes up to 48 3D hardware accelerated channels, plus 64 hardware accelerated channels or up to 1024 voices. There is API support for Microsoft DirectSound, Microsoft DirectSound3D and Aureal's A3D 1.0. There are hookups for front speakers, rear speakers, microphone, game port, and a line in. You need Windows 95, 98 or Windows NT 4.0 with a Pentium 90MHz class or higher. They also say you need 8MB RAM with 16MB recommended and 16MB of free hard disk space for the software. You will need some powered speakers or headphones. Overall This is not a Sound Blaster Live by any means, it is just a lower priced card. It is fine if you are on a low budget and are not into gaming or using a DVD-ROM for the Dolby digital 5.1 sound. Even th
ought the Sound Blaster Live is not in true Dolby 5.1 sound, it can be if you add on the Creative Labs Dxr3 Decoder card. Diamond claims to be able to put out true 5.1 sound but I haven't seen it yet. Though you can hook the MX 400 through a 5.1 receiver to get your 5.1 sound. One plus for it is the RCA digital output and the software bundle with the sound card. You get Yamaha's Soft Synthesizer S-YXG50, a nice application and Zoran's SoftDVD Player that offers an AC-3 down mixing to 4-speaker setups. Then you have Mixman Studio FX, this lets you do your own MP3 mixes. There are audio entertainment titles and several demos. (Soft Karaoke Lite, V-Rally, Super Busby, Jack Nicklaus 5, baseball game HardBall 6 and more.) Now from my personal view the Sound Blaster Live has a lot better sound than the Diamond Monster Sound MX400. My final word is if you can afford a Sound Blaster Live, get it, you will never regret it. You may regret the Diamond Monster Sound MX400 later on. I will replace the MX 400 on the other computer soon. Even though it is not a bad sound card, I cannot recommend it.