Over the past couple of weeks, we've noticed that ASRock and Creative started to go more and more "hand in hand" with each other. Today, ASRock announced a "Blaster" sound card.
ASRock just released a card which is the first sound card outside Creative to bear the name "Blaster" without a worry of a lawsuit. In the past, Creative was very vigilant in protecting the "Sound Blaster" heritage but the company opened to 3rd parties who can manufacture products of required quality.
The "Sound Core3D quad-core audio and voice processor" is the actual sound-chip powering the latest generation of Sound Blaster cards from Creative. We wondered who is going to take that chip and create a 3rd party product which is not a motherboard (ASRock, ASUS, MSI, GigaByte all shipped products with Creative chips in the past).
As you can see on picture above, ASRock's Game Blaster is an interesting product which combines two technologies in a single package: Creative Sound Core3D and Broadcom Gigabit Ethernet LAN. Unlike Killer NIC and USB ports, Gigabit Ethernet is not present to ensure the datastream fits the sound, but rather to enable Full-Duplex 2Gbps i.e. "teaming".
As far as sound capabilities go, there's CrystalVoice filtering technology, EAX 1.0-5.0, THX TruStudio PRO and probably the most interesting one – Scout Mode. This technology enables you to hear enemies from further away… while this may be called a cheat, the technology works that the part of the screen you focus in has more audio focus than things off the screen. If two foes are running towards you, the Scout Mode will "elevate your game" and focus the audio on the person closest to you.