sound blaster NOT doing customers good. go read their forums. NO support or crappy support for vista. forcing customer to BUY drivers for their sound cards. Sad part is some on-boards are just as good. Asus has a soundcard that is supported for free. supports the EAX versions as well.
i have the xtremegamer and it's a great card (still using XP). looking back, I don't know if I would spend that money again, but I'm happy with what I have. i could tell a difference between onboard and the card, but you won't miss it if you never heard it. about the Fatal1ty argument, i'd say save the 40 bones and get the card that's just as good without the extra brand name. sound cards are dying out, so i don't foresee many games using x-ram in the future.
Wow... what an uninformed response at best. You only have to pay for LEGACY games support (ALchemy) for old titles IN VISTA if you are using an AUDIGY card, the X-fi however get this legacy games support for free (This is only applicable to windows vista).
Anyway to answer your questions, if you have an analog device that you are going to plug into the card, then yes the X-Ram is the only difference that might matter to you, however just like you said X-Ram died before it even made it's presence felt.
I'm planning to jump from my SupremeFX II to something like x-fi. So far for gamming and i will use my EAR Force HPA2 (5.1 headphones).
Is there any difference worth the extra 40 dolares in canada between the XtremeGamer and Fatality? is really the X-RAM the only difference? are gaming turning into X-RAM or it died with battlefield?
The most significant use of X-RAM has been in Battlefield2 to enable Ultra Quality along with post processing effects without worries of stutters or FPS drops, which X-RAM does well in BF2. That said, I also use an X-fi Gamer with UQ in BF2 with no X-RAM and it performs similarly, then again, both are robust rigs.
Other than that, there is no significant difference than potential conflicts with certain NF4 chipsets that you will not build new with.
You'll find out there will be alot of issues with creative (including the EXTREMELY famous static/hiss), and, of course, NO increase in speed that these cards usually proclaim. Get the Asus card, far better card and in most reviews beats ALL creative cards.
it would be faster if you had an old slow cpu that you had to take a lot of work off of to maintain framerates. with our cpu's today, the speed isn't an issue, but quality is, but only if you have good speakers. Personally, I like to run my sound through the case speaker (the one that does the beep codes) and then complain about not hearing a difference between onboard sound and the x-fi card.