Actualy that not quite true ,only for Direct sound hal, Openal is still being used for gaming. It just now Openal+EFX that is used more so. then Just Openal alone. Since EFX can do every thing that EAX could do but is open source. Then they tend to use either OpenAL+EFX, Fmod EX or Ms's Xaudio. Tho there are still games coming out that are purely Openal+eax5 or have a openal+eax option.
@op the Xonars can emulate EAX5 aslong GX/DSGX mode is on but it is not perfect since all the emulation is doing is guesting.While the same option is needed for EAX1-2 usage in supported game and then Muiti channel output thru games that uses openal it self. Games that uses its own engine or Xaudio doesnt need GX/DSGX on for muiti channel output.
If you need a amp, you can always attach one to the X-FI HD later on in the future when you get headphones that need one.
Now for legacy games, I think EAX is great. OpenAL was used in Mass Effect 1 and the First Call of Juarez, but nothing in the last two years has OpenAl.
Even Bioshock 2 dropped support for EAX/OpenAL as it was easier for the developers to code for a single standard.
Edited by chalkbluffgrown - 6/16/11 at 1:17am