I am looking to get one of these cards. I have and Audigy2 ZS, but i am not sure if it is worth it for the hefty price or should i just get any X-fi sound card it will be just as good for gaming. I play games like Company of Heroes, Battlefield 2142, Rainbow Six Vegas, and GRAW.
I have the top of the line Creative speaker set with THX and 7.1 surround, but most of the times i just use my headset because my wife isn't enjoying the sound of the AK47
The X-Fi Xtrememusic does not come with 64mb on onboard "sound" ram, regardless little if any games take advantage of it. The Xtrememusic would be the ideal one to go with, unless you like the front i/o panel and other features that come with the higher priced models
I have the same audio card as you. As a gamer (who plays all of the games you mentioned except Ghost Recon) I haven't bothered to upgrade to the xfi from the Audigy2 ZS. If I felt I'd notice any difference I would have upgraded already. The only real advantage you'd have is the on-card audio memory (X-RAM) if you were to get one of the higher end variations (the Elite Pro or one of the 2 Fatal1ty cards). X-RAM is used be certain games, including Battlefield 2142. Depending on your overall system there is a chance you might see an extra FPS or 2, but with a reasonable machine (with 2gb of system memory) you'd likely see no change.
Both the Audigy2 GS and the x-fi cards have similiar High Definition Audio Quality for playback. Both do 96khz in 7.1 mode. And they both have what they call EAX Advanced HD.
The audio performance on the highest end x-fi card, the Elite Pro, is a bit better (higher signal to noise ratio, lower harmonic distortion, better frequency response), but the fatality cards and everything below them have nearly identical stats (and those are pretty much identical to the audigy2 gs).
Sorry to run away with the thread but FORUMTROLL.....how are those x1950 pros...thinking of getting a pair.
Crossfire is great. The performance gain between games varies, but as an example: Battlefield 2142 @1600x1200 with everything at max settings (AA off) runs at ~60fps without crossfire and ~90fps with crossfire. In games like F.E.A.R. it gives me the extra horsepower needed to pump up the settings to the max, and not have those moments when the occasional low FPS is noticable noticable. In F.E.A.R, everything at max (no AA), I was running at approximately 60fps w/o crossfire and I'm at about 85fps with it. The biggest gain is in games like Oblivion, where low FPS dips would be MOST noticeable. I'd occasionally see moments as low as 20fps w/o crossfire, but now I rarely see anything lower than 40fps.