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Creative Labs Sound Blaster XFI Elite Pro - is it worth it?

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September 28, 2006 2:52:48 PM

This card is on sale for $259.00 I'm thinking I may one day turn my new build into a media center. Is it worth it. The new build will be based on a C2D 6700 or X6800. It will be used for everything games, music, movies, etc.

Are their better cards? Sorry a bit new at this and the information sometimes gets overwhelming.
September 29, 2006 2:21:04 AM

Short answer: It depends.

For a media centre it might be a bit of overkill as the X-Treme music does about the same job without the extras.

As for better cards from other manufacturers, sure, especially for home theatre as you might want Dolby. As I don't own any of those cards, I'll let others talk about them as there are some darn good folks here who know thier sound stuff, especially for a non-gaming application. Have a read around the forum and maybe in the meantime one of them will drop in here and leave you a good response.
September 29, 2006 11:18:57 AM

For $259? That's quite a step down from its $399 original. The card is formidable but as posted above I'm not sure you'll get your $$ out of it. ...but it is one of the best and it will likely last you a good long time. ...has audiophile grade DACs so if you can mate it to good home stereo with descent HT or bookshelves you may get to enjoy the quality that it has to offer.

When the reviews typically rave about the X-Fi, this is typically the version that their speaking of. Its nice kit, even if the breakout box is a bit over-sized, IMO.
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September 29, 2006 12:23:51 PM

I hate to say it but the only real brand I know for sound cards has been Creative Labs. Who else makes good or better sound cards?
September 29, 2006 12:32:14 PM

M-Audio

Terratec

Auzentech

Turtle Beach

...just to name a quad

I can't think of anything, outside of gaming, that really makes Creative truly the only choice in soundcards. ...and not everyone's a gamer, there's a lot of audiophiles and musicians that don't look to Creative for their solutions. It's not as if Creative's drivers are better than everyone else's, in my opinion. They do, however, have a good marketing department, the above post illustrates that. Yes, the latest Audigys and X-F's are great consumer cards, I'm not attempting to dispel that, especially in the analog arena...but certainly not the only choice, IMO.
September 29, 2006 1:25:27 PM

Profesional grade sound cards open up a whole new dimension. Creative's profesional line is really nice, their E-MU has some of the best DAC's out there, but Lynx and M-Audio also makes killer proffesional grade cards.

Either way, Creative is for gamers. They focus on their proprietary software like EAX and CMSS over DTS and Dolby.

Auzentech makes a decent Home theater card, but not really for gaming though. Balance out exactly what you want, no card really does everything the best. But the X-FI Elite is probably your best bet if you want to cover all your bases.
September 29, 2006 1:40:24 PM

Quote:
I can't think of anything, outside of gaming, that really makes Creative truly the only choice in soundcards.

I don't know if this is still true, but it certainly used to be the case that only Creative cards allowed you to play DVD-Audio format music disks. (Or at least encrypted DVD-A disks - which is most of them).
September 29, 2006 1:43:14 PM

Thank you everyone. I think I'll go for the Elite Pro. Not the cheapest but it should be fun
September 29, 2006 1:57:37 PM

Good luck with it.
September 29, 2006 3:26:55 PM

For music with an analog-to-reciever setup...I'd imagine you'd be quite pleased. Even if you upmix that music to mult-channel surround you're likely still in for a real treat, but you would be with even an X-Fi Xtreme Music. Just out of curiousity, and please be candid...why are you opting for the Elite Pro over the more economical versions? I wondering for my personal edification.
September 30, 2006 6:39:49 AM

Honestly no particular reason. I am building a system with my son. The last time I made a game system or even purchased a sound card it was in a P3 system. Yes it is way overkill for anything I can think of but then most onboard sound cards would probably be fine for me. I would just like to see what a good, hopefully fairly high end card will sound like. Especally now that I can afford it. Plus, it was on sale for $250 which although very expensive I don't consider it in the obscean range of $350-400. Generally I wouldn't pay over $100 for any sound card. But since I haven't bought one in almost 15 years ... I figure I could treat myself and set up something very nice for my son.
October 1, 2006 2:52:08 AM

I hope you and your son enjoy the card. The extras certainly provide for some future possibilities - like maybe your son will want to plug in a musical instrument someday. Good luck with the build.
October 1, 2006 4:19:10 AM

Thank you. I hope so too. I expect it will last us a very long time. At least I hope it will
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