If you're like me you use a PC as the brains of your home theater system. And two things you used to have to buy seperately- a sound card and a Blu-ray drive, now come in one convenient package thanks to Asus. For $199 it's not a bad deal , especially considering that sound cards along can easily cost double that.
While ASUS continues to impress us with a slew of PCs and mobile devices at Computex, let's not forget that it still makes some nice peripherals. One thing that surprised us at the ASUS booth was a pretty external Blu-ray drive aimed at audio buffs. Dubbed the Blu-ray Prime, this USB 3.0 device claims to be the "world's only optical drive with 7.1-channel audio output," courtesy of the integrated ASUS Xonar sound card, which packs a Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC and a C-Media CM6631A audio processor, plus optical output. It also features a 600-ohm headphone amplifier and a clean 114dB signal-to-noise ratio. Expect the Blu-ray Prime to hit various markets for about $199 in Q4, after the DVD version is released in Q3 for half the price.