Graphics cards are evolving quickly.  No one company can claim to be king of the hill for long, before a competitor replaces them.  The components and slot interface keeps advancing and the newer cards are capable of things earlier generations couldn’t have dreamed of.

The audio card is a different beast.  Creative has been the leader for at least 20 years, and has never been deposed.  The slots and basic technology haven’t really changed, only become smaller and more complex.  With Vista making EAX more or less obsolete, and Oxygen HD stealing their market, Elite Bastards offers Creative some insights.
“While the market for ever faster and better graphics boards continue apace, and we see new markets opening up for calculating physics and the like, the lot of sound processing, for gamers in particular, seems to have become an almost forgotten factor for most PC users. A few years back, the thought of using on-board sound would have been viewed with not far short of abject horror by many, with vast numbers of people clamouring for the latest functionality and environmental effects in their games. As we enter 2007 however, the future of the PC audio space, and the need for discrete sound boards in particular, seems far more uncertain for a number of reasons.

Of course, no company will feel these changes in perception and the marketplace more keenly than Creative Labs – King of PC sound for so long, but now in serious risk of being relegated to a niche market of enthusiasts and audiophiles, a market which is itself now subject to far more competition than Creative have seen in a long, long time.”

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner