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upgrading sound blaster xfi over sound blaster live

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July 12, 2006 8:40:16 PM

Hi,

i'm currently using sound blaster live value (the realy old one).. thinking about whether i should upgrade to xfi platinum.. as i read it reduce a bit of cpu load(and better sound of course).. will this be a good upgrade for me? are those report on reducing cpu load on compares onboard sound card? will i get similar improvement from sound blaster live?

i am still running a relatively old system of amd 2500 (barton core), agp, ide harddrive etc.. want to have a upgrade on my existing system that i can carry over to a system if i decide to built one later this year or next.. when all the next gen cpu/video came out..

thank you in advance.
July 12, 2006 9:16:44 PM

Don't waste that much on a soundcard when the rest of your system is a bit dated. If you get any of the X-FI soundcards, make it the Xtreme music. Benchmarks have shown that the performance difference between it and the X-FI platinum is nonexistent. Only go for the higher end versions if you really need the extra "goodies" they pack with the soundcard. Don't waste that much on a soundcard when the rest of your system is a bit dated. If you get any of the X-FI soundcards, make it the Xtreme music. Benchmarks have shown that the performance difference between it and the X-FI platinum is nonexistent. Only go for the higher end versions if you really need the extra "goodies" they pack with the soundcard.
July 12, 2006 10:17:02 PM

I was in a similar position as you a few months back. Since you've mentioned CPU load I'll infer that your concern is with gaming. There aren't too many folks that will tell you that an X-Fi wouldn't be a significant upgrade in gaming. You're going from one end of the spectrum to the other. The X-Fi's most apparent benefit is to be had by the gaming crowd as it's positional audio and APU are very strong and really don't have any competitors (except for previous Audigy-class cards) in the gaming world. It's APU will give your CPU some more power to spend on framerates, even though you're using an SB Live! now.

Things become a little more blurry when your speaking of music playback. The X-Fi has its 24bit Crystalizer that some love...and some hate. It also has the CMSS3D for virtual surround. These are both fun and strong DSP. Its powerful DSP, few will argue that. If you have some weak sounding MP3's there's little doubt the 24bC and CMSS3D will add some life to them. The X-Fi is really the only card that has strong enough DSP to give you this choice.
I will add that w/o the 24bC and CMSS3D you'll be hard pressed to hear and audible difference between an X-Fi, SB Live! Value, and many of the other available cards, especially when using the Live! with the Kx Project drivers ( http://kxproject.lugosoft.com/index.php?skip=1 ), IMO.

Do you really need to spend $80 on the front-panel break-out box? Well, that's entirely up to you. If you really want that convenience for headphones and I/O, then consider it.

If you're really into gaming I believe you'll find the X-Fi's abilities worth its price. If you're more into music with only occasional gaming, there are more economical solutions that will give you a lot of enjoyment, IMO.
July 18, 2006 9:18:10 PM

Ditto to what Halcyon said. I would also add it sounds like you use the upgrade plan of component by component. Works for me...just splurge a little and buy it!! It's one less thing you have to worry about when doing your major upgrade..while helping your current system.
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