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Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 4 for $2K Rig-REBATEENDTONIGHT

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October 18, 2006 4:47:00 AM

I'm currently making a new gaming rig - it will be roughly under $2K...

Specs:
E6600 Core 2 Duo
2 GB Corsair XMS DDR2 800
Radeon X1900XT/Geforce 7900GTO
Asus P5B Deluxe
700W gameXstream (upgrading to DX10 soon!)
320GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 SATAII
Samsung 20.1 Inch 204B

My speakers are the Logitech X-530 5.1 system (cheap, but i think its pretty good quality)

I'm planning on ordering a Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 4 SB0610
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1682...

I was wondering how it compares to the Audigy 2 ZS and the X-Fi XtremeMusic...and also to the Audigy 4 Pro...

I'm going to be using this system sound-wise for music (specifically soundtracks) and playing games (Oblivion, BF2, HL2, Quake4).

Suggestions? - the rebate makes it dirt cheap!!
October 18, 2006 8:20:14 AM

hi.
if i am right this card is for sale at 72 $.
and x-fi xtreme music for 110$.
i suggest get the x-fi.
audigy2 or 4 is still an previous generation card.
October 18, 2006 12:29:31 PM

At this stage, with what you've noted, I'd recommend an X-Fi Extreme Music or a newly-released X-Fi ExtremeGamer ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682... ). $110 vs. $90. The ExtremeGamer will, indeed, allow you to use the front-panel connectors on most contemporary cases as well, as a bonus.

I can't think of any reason to fall back to a Audigy 2 or 4.
Related resources
October 18, 2006 2:04:02 PM

IMO, for 2.1 channels, I'd think an SB Live! would be fine, especially if using the KX Project drivers with music in mind. If, however, EAX is important to you a better experience would likely be had by a contemporary card.

Further, I don't think the SB Live! (and I could be very wrong here) offloads audio processing from the CPU as the Audigy 2 or 4 (or greater) cards would, so there may be a performance incentive to upgrade.
October 18, 2006 3:41:54 PM

:arrow: Just be careful when using the X-Fi series cards. I just started a thread about compatibility problems with high end systems. link to my thread

I want to get an XtremeMusic card myself but in some cases there is some real nasty hissing and popping sounds while gaming.

I'll put the money down for this card, but not until I'm certain that this issue is fixed.

If anyone knows ANY updated info on this, please let me know.
October 18, 2006 5:46:01 PM

I'm aware of the "Snap-Crackle-N-Pop" issue some have with X-Fi series cards. From what I've read in the press and discussed in these forums this issue affects a small minority of X-Fi owners. IMO, we hear about it because of the large amount of X-Fi customer base that is present, not becaue the issue affects the majority (or even close to half) of X-Fi cusomers.

I don't mention the issue, typically, in recommendation because of the minority of customers affected, not because I think the issue is non-existent. I have 3 of the X-Fi Extreme Music pieces and 2 of them are installed and active...the 3rd lies dormant. However, all 3 of them have been active, and in all the months I've had the cards there's been no "Snap-Crackle-N-Pop" to speak of. While none of my rigs would be considered high-end 2 of them are based on the nVIDIA nForce 4 chipset that is largely associated with this issue.

All that to say this, I still largely enjoy and would recommend an X-Fi to anyone looking for the best "Jack-of-All-Trades Master-of-1" soundcard and look forward to reading some press on the 4 new models.
October 18, 2006 11:59:36 PM

how will the X-Fi ExtremeGamer compare to the Extrememusic and the Audigy 4?


its 90$...the audigy 4 is ~$40..for my needs, what do i need?

worth it?

And, also, what new changes have been applied to X-Fi series compared to the Audigy 4/2 ZS?
October 19, 2006 12:34:27 PM

Well, as far as needs, you could probably get away with an Audigy SE for <$30. With an X-Fi series card you'll get a faster APU (which may turn into a few extra frame rates over older generation SB's). The new X-Fi ExtremeGamer cards are stated to have a 15% APU speed increase over previous X-Fi's so.... With an X-Fi you'll also get support for EAX 5, the Audigy support up to EAX 4.

Further, with one of the brand-new X-Fi's, Creative apparently listened to its customers who complained that they could not connect their PC's front audio connectors to the sound cards on previous generations and replaced the card's proprietary connectors with standard HD audio connectors found on most cases today...so you can use your case's headphone and mic jacks without twisted modifications.
October 20, 2006 12:17:44 AM

EAX 5: is it that significant from 4?

-Im getting a high up GPU - then going to a g80 in a couple of months, I wont have to worry about a few frame rates. :) 
October 20, 2006 12:43:48 PM

Quote:
EAX 5: is it that significant from 4?

-Im getting a high up GPU - then going to a g80 in a couple of months, I wont have to worry about a few frame rates. :) 


The difference's significance is subjective, but for more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_audio_extens...
October 20, 2006 11:11:30 PM

the deadline to order if i want the rebate is today - final verdict?
October 20, 2006 11:18:29 PM

An X-Fi ExtremeGamer. I think you'll be happiest in the long run with an X-Fi series card. ...and the EG is the most economical model with a DSP.
October 20, 2006 11:42:30 PM

I'm going to use the cheap-ish Logitech X-530 Speakers...53$

Do you think if i upgrade to the Z-5300e (5.1 ~120$) the X-Fi will give its full potential?


And if i stay with the X-530s, is a X-Fi overkill?
October 21, 2006 6:13:51 AM

That's a hard call. I don't think I get the X-Fi's full potential with the Logitech Z-5500's. I think you'd need to roll to a receiver and pretty descent 5.1 bookshelves for floorstanders to achieve more of that. ...but I do really like the X-Fi's sound out of the Z-5500's and I think you would enjoy an X-Fi with the Z-5300e's.

I don't believe you'll ever hear a descent soundcard's full potential out of PC speakers, though you may really enjoy the sound. Does that make sense?
October 22, 2006 10:12:45 PM

how bout a Audigy 4?
October 22, 2006 10:33:37 PM

Ha! I just went out and bought a set of Logitech 530's today!
Fry's had them on sale for $59.
I am using and old, old, old, did I say old?, Turtle Beach Santa Cruz 5.1 sound card. Now I gotta say, me and the wife are setting here right now listening to Aaron Neville, and these things don't sound half bad, quite impressive actually. Can't go wrong with these for the price.
October 22, 2006 10:53:29 PM

santa cruz......old is right:) 

X-Fi....=X-530s??
October 22, 2006 11:15:02 PM

Yeah, the 530's are pretty meager for an X-FI, and yes my stinking sound card is really old. But hey, it does the trick for me. That's all that counts, right? :D 
I was just in a round about way trying to let the original poster know that if he has 530's, he shouldn't spend money for the high end cards unless he's gonna upgrade the speakers too.
For the money, I gotta say the 530's are hard to beat, but any low to mid range 5.1 card will get all your gonna get out of them.
October 23, 2006 9:46:18 AM

Neat stuff. However, I'd still recommend going with an Audigy 4 or lower-end X-Fi (Extreme Gamer, not Extreme Audio) as these will give you a long-lasting investment and have a dedicated APU that will give you those few framerates.

Heck, I've got an old SoundBlaster Live! that I still like the sound of...for a while I, recently, allowed it to feed my headphone DAC & Amp (I pleaded for the chance) and it sounded pretty durned good...but I finally caved...the X-Fi sounds better. @#$%!
October 23, 2006 10:13:33 AM

Dont get the Audigy 4, its an inferior product to the Audigy 4 pro and even to the Audigy 2 zs. Its more like an Audigy 2 or Audigy 2 value in specs and performance. Its simply misleading marketing on Creatives part to associate the same model no with the much superior other card, the Audigy 4 Pro. Same what their doing in associating their new budget cards with the X-fi line.
October 23, 2006 10:36:20 AM

The Audigy 4 is still a descent soundcard, in my opinion, and still offers a dedicated APU. ...for its price I don't feel its a bad solution. The venerable Audigy 2 Zs' are becoming increasingly difficult to find...but yes, they spec better than the 4.
October 23, 2006 6:39:31 PM

Okay guys,.I'm going to put off with the Audigy 4, and probably go with a X-Fi XtremeMusic - THe Xtremegamer I dont know much about...

Will the Xtrememusic be worth it for the X-530s?

or will I have to spend an extra 50$ for Z-5300e?
October 23, 2006 6:54:10 PM

Try the X-Fi by itself with your current speakers. If something sounds lacking, it'll definately be your speakers. ...then if you want you can upgrade them.
October 23, 2006 7:19:16 PM

I have 2 laptops...no speakers or desktops :?
October 23, 2006 7:57:44 PM

At first I thought you were trying be comical, and then I re-read your OP. You're PLANNING on getting a new rig and speakers, etc. I'd try to swing better speakers than the X-530's before worrying too much about the soundcard I was going to use to feed them. I'm an audio enthusiast, yes, but even were I not I'd think that'd be sound advice.

If you want to hear all the nuances that a good soundcard can reveal in your music, games, etc. you need a descent pair of loudspeakers that have the resolution to render that quality. PC speakers are handicapped in a lot of ways, just by their nature on their own, let alone extremely economical PC speakers.
October 23, 2006 11:16:45 PM

LOLZ - Let's say I'm going with the XtremeGamer then - how bout that paired with speakers?
October 23, 2006 11:28:50 PM

X-Fi anything is going to be overkill for a lot of speakers. I think if you get the X-530's you'll want to upgrade them very soon because you'll know there's a lot better out there for not too too much more. ...or is that just my sick thinking? 8O
October 24, 2006 12:12:12 AM

Is the X-530 THX certified?

-The X-540s seem like a good choice (in between), however, I dont like the look of it aesthetically:) 

It seems like everything thinks the X-530s ROCK, but X-Fi is too much for them...


to Halcyon - you've given me a lot of good advice, thanks
October 24, 2006 12:20:20 PM

I just took a brief look @ the X-540s. They don't appear to be bad entry-level 5.1's for personal surround though they have very modest specs. They are not THX certified but in PC speakers I'd not be too swept by the THX certification. The Z-5500's are THX certified but that doesn't make them wonderous speakers by any count either.

I think you'll be able to enjoy any good 5.1+ sound card via the X-530s or X-540s but think about being happy with your speaker purchase for at least a year. Do you think the X-540's will last you a year? ...and in that year's time you can ponder whether or not going with something significantly better is worth it (like a low/mid-priced home-theater setup with a receiver and true bookshelves)?

If that's approximately where your thinking lies I'd say the X-540's are safe.
October 24, 2006 9:17:33 PM

I have a Dolby Digital Onkyo setup (7.1) for my home theater, so no worry about that (receiver+bookshelves) this if for my computer

I'm probably going with the Xtremegamer, or, the Xtrememusic if the price soars under $100 - How much better are the Z-5300es than the X-540/X-530?

X-530 ~ $55

X-540 ~ $90

Z-5300e ~ $115

IYO, WHat do you think is more important - good speakers or good sound card?
October 24, 2006 9:57:47 PM

No contest, IMO. Good speakers are way more important than a great soundcard. Without good speakers/headphones a good soundcard is just silicon, plastique, and metal. I think the Z-5300e's are quite a step above the X-5XX series speakers...but let's take a look at that...

http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/products/details/CA/E...

vs.

http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/products/details/CA/E...

vs.

http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/products/details/CA/E...

Like the name suggests the X-540's appear to be updated versions of the X-530...and the the Z-5300e appears to be the Z-5500's little brother/sister. I think you'd be most happy with the 5300e's but they cost noticably more.


EDIT (05:25A EDT: 10.25.06) | FireFox 2 RC3 doesn't render Logitech's WS quite properly. :roll:
October 26, 2006 4:35:39 AM

Are they worth double the price of X-530s?


-extrememusic is 90$ on egg today..
October 26, 2006 9:36:44 AM

Yes, their suggested retail price is $199...$200 ...double that of the X-540's $99...but I have a feeling there's a noticable sonic difference.
October 26, 2006 10:26:13 AM

I have the z-5300e's. They are a great set but you will have to use the equalizer in the creative software to really get the best sound out of them. Straight out of the box without some love they have no real high end. But that is easily correctable using the equalizer. Otherwise I have not been dissapointed and I do make my own music and I'm somewhat of an audiophile. They are a great set for the price.
October 30, 2006 4:04:23 AM

on newegg the x-530 is ~60
z-5300e~115...


to sekondary - i dont know much about sound technology...
!