Creative Labs’ Sound BlasterX AE-5 has a message for PC gamers: The sound card isn’t dead. Unveiled on Monday morning, this is the company’s first discrete product in more than five years, made especially for the audio needs of the gaming community.

The PCIe sound card brings new features and a new level of specsmanship. The most attention-grabbing part is the 32-bit, 384KHz ESS ES9016K2M Sabre 32 Ultra DAC (digital audio converter). Looking at ESS’ lineup, it’s basically just a notch down from the DACs used for professional studio equipment. It’s certainly a big step up from all previous consumer sound cards’ 24-bit/192KHz DACs, and it’s likely the first (consumer card, anyway) with a 32-bit DAC.

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Hands-on: Creative Labs’ Sound BlasterX AE-5 ups the audio for gamers