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Vista 64bit sound cards

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  • Windows Vista
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March 15, 2008 12:12:58 AM

I've searched a dozen different ways and read Newegg reviews til I'm blue in the face... I can't find enough reliable information on which card works best with Vista 64 home premium (I'm buying the retail Vista 32bit Home Premium and will be sending off for the 64bit).

I'm picking the parts for a new gaming system and the sound card is the last piece that I just can't decide on. No sooner than I have one picked out and in the cart, I find another set of horrible reviews, driver issues etc.

For those of you running Vista 64, which sound card have you had the best overall luck with? I'll be using a set of Creative 5.1 speakers and would like to keep surround sound.

I don't think it matters in relation to a sound card, but just in case, I'll be using an nForce 780i, 8GB ram, Q6600, 850w PSU.

Suggestions are appreciated. (excluding those recommending against Vista):) 

I've already done that reading :lol: 

More about : vista 64bit sound cards

March 15, 2008 1:13:07 PM

Cant say as i've researced sound cards etc, but my X-Fi Fatal1ty works fine on 64bit ultimate.

I'm pretty sure all the features etc work just as well as the XP drivers, if theres any features that arent supported (yet) ive not seen them.


P.s, personally i dont understand all the vista bashing, ive built 2 high-end systems based on Vista x64 Ultimate & its definitely my favorite Microsoft OS to date & when SP1 is released hopefully it will solve the only gripe i have with it (50fps insted of XP's 80fps in some games)
March 15, 2008 2:07:46 PM

I've used the X-Fi fatal1ty as well as the SoundXtreme or whatever the cheapest one is. Both worked fine with Vista Prem 64. I have also used the Striker sound cards without issue. Out of curiosity, why are you buying retail? Buy the OEM 64bit for ~$120 at Newegg.com and save some money. You won't have to send away for the 64 bit version either, so you'll be able to use it right away.

Be aware that EAX support in old games is broken in Vista because DX10 doesn't handle sound anymore. If you have games more than a year or 2 ago and want EAX features, you need to install ALchemy. It converts DX based EAX effects into the new OpenAL. Check out Creative's site for it.
Related resources
March 15, 2008 2:24:59 PM

I use X-Fi Platinum,with 64bit Ultimate with no problems
March 15, 2008 3:32:50 PM

X-Fi Fatal1ty works fine under Vista x64.
March 16, 2008 12:56:59 PM

nvalhalla said:
Out of curiosity, why are you buying retail? Buy the OEM 64bit for ~$120 at Newegg.com and save some money. You won't have to send away for the 64 bit version either, so you'll be able to use it right away.

I'm buying retail mostly because I'm sure I'll have to reformat a few times and I've heard that M$ basically has the option of whether or not they want to let you do it. The other reason is that if I buy the 32bit retail, I can spend another $15 and get the 64bit too, so I'll have both. I'd like to have both just in case I do get some of the issues I've read about that are associated with 64bit.

If I'm just really really wasting money- please let me know!

Thanks for all the replies. I'll look at the cards you guys mentioned and try to decide. It may just come down to a coin flip or price check then lol.
March 16, 2008 1:41:00 PM

vista-64 ultimate.... No issues with creative sound cards and on-board sound chips. It works in my system...

Try the on-board sound chips that goes with your motherboard. If you are not happy with it then Creative Sound Cards are great alternatives.

Its recommended to use OEM.....You will save a lot of money. The added cost goes to the fancy microsoft box.

If you are planning to use 8 GByte of RAM you have no choice but to go 64BIT OS. The 32 bit OS don't support above 4 Gbyte of memory.

March 16, 2008 2:16:38 PM

leon2006 said:
Its recommended to use OEM.....You will save a lot of money. The added cost goes to the fancy microsoft box.


The OEM version costs less to buy, but if you have any problems, you have to pay M$ for support. The price is low because it assumes that the person using it knows how to install and fix the problems already. Also, if you get the OEM version, you can't change the motherboard or possibly the CPU itself. Doing so means that a new computer is created in Microsoft's terms of the ULA.

If a person absolutely knows that he is never going to change the motherboard or possibly even the CPU, and for sure he will not have to call M$ for support, then an OEM version if Vista is a good deal. Otherwise, the retail version is better, even though it costs more.
March 16, 2008 2:34:45 PM

leon2006 said:
Its recommended to use OEM.....You will save a lot of money. The added cost goes to the fancy microsoft box.

If you are planning to use 8 GByte of RAM you have no choice but to go 64BIT OS. The 32 bit OS don't support above 4 Gbyte of memory.


Well, 64bit AND the 8GB ram are the two reasons I was thinking about the retail and getting both versions. That way if I run into a show-stopper with either the 64bit or the 8GB, I can always drop back to the 32. IDK- it sounded good when I read about doing it that way.

Its unlikely I would ever change out the mobo or HDD unless one of them just quit. Since I only upgrade about every 3-5 years or so, I'd probably start with all new parts like I am now. Do the OEM versions let you do unlimited reformats if you screw up your system and just need a fresh install?
March 16, 2008 2:46:41 PM

rik756 said:
Do the OEM versions let you do unlimited reformats if you screw up your system and just need a fresh install?


That is questionable. From M$'s own ULA, reformating without changing the computer components should be possible. You just need to get M$ to authorize it, either on line or by phone. I've had the experience in the past where M$ said no, but then relented when I complained loud enough. And that's why I only buy retail now.

As for getting 64 bit and then dropping back to 32 bit, I don't think there would be any advantage. The only good reason for 32 bit Vista in the first place was so that people who wanted it have DX10 on a CPU that was only capable of 32 bit, they could. I don't know any good reason what so ever for someone with a 64 bit capable machine to use 32 bit Vista. It only would handicap you.
March 16, 2008 2:53:52 PM

sailer said:
That is questionable. From M$'s own ULA, reformating without changing the computer components should be possible. You just need to get M$ to authorize it, either on line or by phone. I've had the experience in the past where M$ said no, but then relented when I complained loud enough. And that's why I only buy retail now.

As for getting 64 bit and then dropping back to 32 bit, I don't think there would be any advantage. The only good reason for 32 bit Vista in the first place was so that people who wanted it have DX10 on a CPU that was only capable of 32 bit, they could. I don't know any good reason what so ever for someone with a 64 bit capable machine to use 32 bit Vista. It only would handicap you.


OH- I thought I had read that there were specific driver/emulation issues with 64 that 32 did not have in some cases. Specifically with some of the Creative sound cards..

I'll have this box (my curent one) with XP on it so I'm not horribly worried about not getting to use some software programs. I just figured that for $15 more it would be a nice back up plan.

I also opted for the home premium vs the Ultimate. I didn't see any real advantage for the Ultimate unless I am just missing it?
March 16, 2008 3:11:18 PM

Creative put out new drivers for Vista, so no problem remains as far as the 64 bit version goes. And I do have a machine with 64 bit Vista and a Creative Fatal1ty Platinum card which works fine, so I write from personal experience.

The Ultimate version gives you a few advantages, combining the features of Premium and Business Editions, with a few multimedia features as well. If you don't need the features, there's no reason to spend the extra money on them.
March 16, 2008 3:42:43 PM

I guess I'd rather avoid future issues all together and just get the retail. There's a good chance that it would go on my next box as well anyway. The next OS isnt due out until 09/10 so Vista will be around a while yet I'm sure.

I think I've decided on the Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102006 unless someone knows something horrible about it. It seems to be a fair compromise between price/performance.

I'm not a huge audiophile, but would like games to be crisp and clear. I'm also avoiding onboard sound due to running a 24" lcd at 19x12 on an 8800GTS. I figure as some of the newer games are released I'll need all the fps I can squeeze out.
March 16, 2008 3:47:50 PM

You're right, the onboard sound cuts 2-5 FPS, and many of us are struggling to get all the FPS we can get. Some people will say that anything over 30 FPS is good enough. I personally like a minimum of 60 FPS, which is pointing me to getting a Crossfire setup.
March 16, 2008 3:58:27 PM

sailer said:
You're right, the onboard sound cuts 2-5 FPS, and many of us are struggling to get all the FPS we can get. Some people will say that anything over 30 FPS is good enough. I personally like a minimum of 60 FPS, which is pointing me to getting a Crossfire setup.

From what I've read and estimated the setup I will be running should pump Crysis at high settings with about 33-37 FPS. I agree that I like to have a little over the 30 and do tend *feel* better about it closer to 60. I didn't really think about it that much until I stated using an RC flight sim. The FPS made a huge difference in reaction times...

Hopefully the Crossfire will work for you better than SLI did for me. I'm only running 1440x900 so I am more CPU bound that not, but untill SLI runs just like a single card I won't do it again. I really didn't notice any difference in any of the games I played even when I turned up the eye candy. Not enough current games I play support it and or the driver just runs it in single gpu mode anyway.
March 16, 2008 4:06:23 PM

I had SLI once in the past and found it more of a hastle than anything else. It helped sometimes, but much of the time it didn't do any good. My present monitor has 1680 x 1050 adn I'm thinking of stepping up to a 24", so I need power to fill the screen. Besides, I plan on ordering a X48 and a Q9550 and that combo only takes Crossfire. I'll use a single card for the moment, but when the 4800s come out, I plan on getting two of them.
March 16, 2008 4:25:24 PM

sailer said:
I had SLI once in the past and found it more of a hastle than anything else. It helped sometimes, but much of the time it didn't do any good. My present monitor has 1680 x 1050 adn I'm thinking of stepping up to a 24", so I need power to fill the screen. Besides, I plan on ordering a X48 and a Q9550 and that combo only takes Crossfire. I'll use a single card for the moment, but when the 4800s come out, I plan on getting two of them.


Here's the 24" I'm getting. It's not top of the line by any means but it has excellent reviews on newegg and elsewhere with a really nice price point.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824014158
March 16, 2008 5:09:02 PM

I'm using Creative X-FI Platinum & their 5.1 Speakers on Vista 64 Home Prem and it works great.
March 16, 2008 5:25:01 PM

Rogue77777 said:
I'm using Creative X-FI Platinum & their 5.1 Speakers on Vista 64 Home Prem and it works great.


Do you still get the actual surround sound or is it just sound coming from all speakers? I've read that its a *new thing* from marketing to have sound emit from all speakers even though it's not true surround sound.
March 16, 2008 5:27:47 PM

rik756 said:
I guess I'd rather avoid future issues all together and just get the retail. There's a good chance that it would go on my next box as well anyway. The next OS isnt due out until 09/10 so Vista will be around a while yet I'm sure.

I think I've decided on the Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102006 unless someone knows something horrible about it. It seems to be a fair compromise between price/performance.

I'm not a huge audiophile, but would like games to be crisp and clear. I'm also avoiding onboard sound due to running a 24" lcd at 19x12 on an 8800GTS. I figure as some of the newer games are released I'll need all the fps I can squeeze out.


I'm using that same sound card and let me tell you that it kicks ass :D  Definitely one of the best you can get for your money (X-Ram is just a big hoax to suck money, haven't seen any advantage yet and the X-Fis have been out for 2-3 years). The only Creative card that was slightly better for the money was the XtremeMusic (which had digital connection as well as analog) however if your speakers/headset/headphones are only analog like mine, then this is definitely the best deal for your machine.

I'm planning to move to vista as well again (been back and forth between XP and vista in the past few months), as soon as one little application I use gets the upcoming support for Vista and XP 64.
March 16, 2008 5:45:47 PM

emp said:
I'm using that same sound card and let me tell you that it kicks ass :D  Definitely one of the best you can get for your money (X-Ram is just a big hoax to suck money, haven't seen any advantage yet and the X-Fis have been out for 2-3 years). The only Creative card that was slightly better for the money was the XtremeMusic (which had digital connection as well as analog) however if your speakers/headset/headphones are only analog like mine, then this is definitely the best deal for your machine.

I'm planning to move to vista as well again (been back and forth between XP and vista in the past few months), as soon as one little application I use gets the upcoming support for Vista and XP 64.


Thats good to hear! I'm sure my Creative 5.1 speakers from 6 years ago are analog lol. I might get better speakers for my birthday in August or convince the wife that she needs these to listen to music on her computer and I need new ones for gaming :D  She games too so she outta get it!
March 16, 2008 9:57:29 PM

Sailer

I always use OEM OS....

Never had issues changing Motherboard and CPU. Computer still runs after install. Can still download updates from Microsoft. Call for support when needed.

Pratical reasoning will let you get the nod for the change such as CPU-failure or mobo failure. MS can't expect you to buy a new OS to replace a single component.


There is no limit on how many re-install you can do on your PC with OEM OS. Re-formats is always allowed...Sometimes you can't get away from "Murphy's Law"

In my case i could not even remember the last time i called MS.
I use the money i save for additional HW....

Its a personal decision and choice...In my case i'm fine with OEM OS...
Calling Microsoft for support is not a particular requirement for my case.




March 16, 2008 10:07:18 PM

For Reinstal situation in case of hard drive crash or whatever...I install from save IMAGE file of my drive.

It's always a good practice to IMAGE your drive including drive c:\

Reinstallation is ~ 15mins to 30 mins...OS and all application software are installed back....This works for new CPU, Hard Drive. Mobo its case to case its function of the difference of the OLD and NEW.
March 16, 2008 10:17:35 PM

leon2006 said:
Sailer

I always use OEM OS....

There is no limit on how many re-install you can do on your PC with OEM OS. Re-formats is always allowed...Sometimes you can't get away from "Murphy's Law"

Calling Microsoft for support is not a particular requirement for my case.


Hrmm. If I can reformat, then that's really the only thing I care about unless I have parts problems with the initial build. I've been computing since my Vic120 and Commodor 64 and I've never called any company for tech support!

I was liking the idea of having 32 and 64 in the event of a conflict with the 64, but for $120 less...

Anyone see any known 64bit conflicts with any part listed below? I'm pretty much set on the parts as long as I have everything I need and it will all play together.

RAIDMAX Smilodon Extreme Black STEEL ATX Mid Tower (Will everything fit ok?)
SILVERSTONE OP850 850W Power Supply
EVGA NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI Motherboard
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield
OCZ Freeze Extreme Thermal Conductivity Compound
COOLER MASTER 92mm Hyper TX2 CPU Cooler
OCZ Platinum (4 x 2GB) DDR2 1000 (PC2 8000) {8GB total}
Western Digital Raptor 150GB 10,000 RPM SATA Hard Drive
EVGA GeForce 8800GTS (G92) 512MB PCI Express 2.0
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer 7.1 PCI Sound Card
2- SAMSUNG SATA 20X DVD Burners
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium DVD (will send off for 64bit)
BenQ G2400W Black 24" HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor
Ideazon Merc Stealth Illuminated Gaming Keyboard USB Wired
Logitech MX518 8 Buttons Wired Optical Gaming Mouse
Total- $2450 shipped ($2310 if I go 64bit OEM)
March 16, 2008 10:25:11 PM

rik756

Save an image file of your drive ona DVD after a complete OS/Application/Game installation....

Its easy to restore when something happens...
March 16, 2008 10:40:32 PM

I'd consider a laser mouse. Logitech G5 would be a good choice.
March 16, 2008 10:50:20 PM

leon2006 said:
Sailer

I always use OEM OS....

Never had issues changing Motherboard and CPU. Computer still runs after install. Can still download updates from Microsoft. Call for support when needed.

Pratical reasoning will let you get the nod for the change such as CPU-failure or mobo failure. MS can't expect you to buy a new OS to replace a single component.


I've used both OEM and Retail in the past. OEM has its problems. The following from Microsoft explains it, but the article does not refer to Vista, so Vista apparently has different rules.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/824125

As is stated before, the use of OEM is questionable. You might get by without problems, or you may have to argue the case with Microsoft. Essentially, M$ feels that a change of motherboard consitutes creating another computer. I have both experienced problems and also gotten by on a different computer without problem. Re-iinstalling, or reformating the hard drive desn't change anything hardware wise, so is not considered to be creating another computer. But it still might have a problem.

If you've always used OEM and it worked, then that's good. Like you say, its a personal choice.
March 16, 2008 11:02:48 PM

rik756- I'm a bit old fashioned and prefer a wired mouse myself, so your choice of mouse looks fine to me.

Unless the price is good, DDR2-800 ram is good. Much of the DDR2-1066 ram is just the 800 stuff that's been overclocked and runs a higher voltage to support it. Plenty of people end up not getting the advertised speed because their mobos won't support it. I'm ordering some myself this week and will be getting DDR2-800 and try doing the overclock myself.
March 16, 2008 11:10:46 PM

chedrz said:
I'd consider a laser mouse. Logitech G5 would be a good choice.
You and I must think alot alike lol. I was down to the MX518 or the G5. I opted for the MX518. 2000dpi with optical is still sufficient IMHO, the MX518 had many many more reviews and percent wise, much better reviews. The extra button is nice and I don't like the default use of the CTRL key by the G5 (if this has not been removed in a driver update). I use that key alot for gaming. Granted, I'm getting a gaming board and more buttons on my mouse now too. Good call though. I almost changed my mind again :lol: 

Sailor,

I chatted with a couple of the techies over at OCZ asking which ram I should use since I would be going 8GB. They plainly stated that I would not likely get the max rated speed due to using four sticks unless the northbridge has balls like jelly jars. They recommended that I go with 800-1066 so I would have some room to play with the timing a bit and find the sweet spot. The ram I chose was listed in Hardware Zone's Top 100 Products of 2007, and was used in some of THG reference systems. Its basically ReaperX without the huge heatsink. After some reading, that's why I stuck with the 780i. It is supposedly a little more robust than some of the 680i chips.

March 16, 2008 11:16:32 PM

For Vista, be aware that oem is either 32 bit, or 64, not both. There is no option. To save some money, consider getting the vista upgrade version which costs less than OEM. It is full retail, and you can still send in the $10 to get the 64 bit version. I did it with no problems. I had some problems activating, and Microsoft support was very helpful with the procedure to install the upgrade 64 bit version, even though I had no previous xp version installed. I saw it at Costco a week ago for $85.

Onboard sound is pretty good. Why not try it first? A sound card may save a few cpu cycles, but it is the vga card that usually limits the fps on games.

March 16, 2008 11:32:14 PM

geofelt said:
For Vista, be aware that oem is either 32 bit, or 64, not both. There is no option. To save some money, consider getting the vista upgrade version which costs less than OEM. It is full retail, and you can still send in the $10 to get the 64 bit version. I did it with no problems. I had some problems activating, and Microsoft support was very helpful with the procedure to install the upgrade 64 bit version, even though I had no previous xp version installed. I saw it at Costco a week ago for $85.

Onboard sound is pretty good. Why not try it first? A sound card may save a few cpu cycles, but it is the vga card that usually limits the fps on games.


Being able to get both was part of the allure to getting the retail. I don't want to do the upgrade as my second computer will still need the XP disk later in life. I'm trying Vista, but I'm only doing it comfortable by knowing I have a second box on XP. I wouldn't like cutting that lifeline lol. Your saying you don't even have to have XP to upgrade though?

As for the sound, the setup I am going to use is expected to run Crysis in the 33FPS range on high settings. I'll need all the FPS I can get going in. I've never actually heard the onboard of the 780i, but to date- I've never heard onboard that was as crisp as pci either. If I run into issues, I just might get to whether I like it or not!

I'm still mixed on the OEM vs retail. There's alot good n bad to both...
March 16, 2008 11:58:28 PM

Quote:
Well I didnt read through all the other posts, and Im not sure what kinda budget your looking at but for a budget card that sounds pretty darn good over onboard, the Audigy SE is only $20 at Walmart.
I had no issues with vista64.
I have an Audigy Gamer in my current box and other than the usual CL snap, crackle n pop at startup not many problems with it through the years. Budget isnt a horrible issue but I don't want to toss money away on parts I wont fully utilize either. The higher end cards do lots of things I don't care about and from what I've read don't sound a lot different, than the X-Fi XtremeGamer.

I appreciate the heads up :-)

March 18, 2008 6:34:32 AM

leon2006 said:
Sailer

I always use OEM OS....

Never had issues changing Motherboard and CPU. Computer still runs after install. Can still download updates from Microsoft. Call for support when needed.

Pratical reasoning will let you get the nod for the change such as CPU-failure or mobo failure. MS can't expect you to buy a new OS to replace a single component.


There is no limit on how many re-install you can do on your PC with OEM OS. Re-formats is always allowed...Sometimes you can't get away from "Murphy's Law"

In my case i could not even remember the last time i called MS.
I use the money i save for additional HW....

Its a personal decision and choice...In my case i'm fine with OEM OS...
Calling Microsoft for support is not a particular requirement for my case.


I have formatted vista several times with no issues at all. When I changed out a motherboard and then a cpu the online registering would not work and I had to call and give the codes the software provided. After a 2 minute wait a tech came on and I repeated the first block of codes to prove it was entered correct and they asked if this was installed on only one computer. I explained about my hardware swap and without missing a beat they gave me the new codes to enter in for registration. I was amazed at how courteous and nice each person was that I spoke to. My fear of dealing with Microsoft was put at ease by these customer service reps.
March 18, 2008 7:28:39 AM

I'll be writing the check for all of this next week. I'll try the OEM and see if it works out or not. I used the extra $100 to buy some better cooling. If it doesn't work out, then I will have paid my stupid tax and I'll know better next time.

Thanks for all the help guys (and gal) :) 

So um... who's gonna gimme their number so I can call for help when I start building it :lol: 
March 18, 2008 8:44:40 AM

Man, you bought a MX518, YOUR MY IDOL!!! i bought one about 5 years ago, still goes hard for my mate. ALthough, i would never pass up my G9 (yeah yeah, pay it out, i love it sooo much more than my G5.)
March 19, 2008 11:04:00 PM

yay said:
Man, you bought a MX518, YOUR MY IDOL!!! i bought one about 5 years ago, still goes hard for my mate. ALthough, i would never pass up my G9 (yeah yeah, pay it out, i love it sooo much more than my G5.)


I looked at the G9 and was a little unsure about the square looking shape of it, but considered trying it. Then I saw the price tag and convicned myself it was much to square to be comfortable :D 
March 20, 2008 12:15:01 AM

HT Omega Claro, works better than my old X-Fi. Meaning I actually have Dolby Live DTS, decoding with SPDIF
March 23, 2008 10:42:27 PM

Here's what I ordered. Its all over but the building and the crying...

Vista 64-Bit
Nzxt Zero full tower
Silverstone single rail 650 PSU
Gigabyte GA-EX38-DSQ6 mobo
Intel Q6600 Quad CPU
OCZ Freeze Thermal Compound
COOLER MASTER 92mm Hyper TX2 CPU Cooler
8GB OCZ DDR2 1000 RAM
150GB Raptor 10K SATA HDD
OKGEAR HDD Cooler
eVGA 8800GTS (G92) 512MB GPU
Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer 7.1
2- SAMSUNG SATA DVD Burners with LightScribe
Scythe KAZE MASTER Digital Fan Controller
BenQ G2400W Black 24" LCD
Merc Illuminated Gaming Keyboard
Logitech MX518 Gaming Mouse
Creative Inspire 7.1 Speakers
$2450 shipped

Thanks for all the input!
!