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Preparing for X-fi XtremeGamer install. Any insights?

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June 9, 2008 7:33:32 PM

I have a Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3P Mootherboard that I have been using with onboard sound (Realtek ALC889A) for the last 10 months. I have Windows Ultimate 32-bit version installed. I have not been happy with the sound quality - I hear sound when scrolling web pages or when the hard drive is working, when I use headphones I still hear humming from speakers when playing games, etc.

Any way, I decide to purchase the Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme soundcard since it was on sale with a $30 rebate and the total would be under $50 after the rebate. I was leary of the drivers for Vista but things seem to be better now from what I have read.

So I wanted to make sure that I do this install correctly. Here's what I was planning to do:

1) Remove Realtek Audio software
2) Remove Realtek Audio driver.
3) reboot and go into BIOS to turn off onboard audio
4) Go into windows and shut down.
5) Install XtremeGamer hardware
6) Turn on PC and install Driver 2.15 downloaded from Creative web site
7) Install Creative Console 2.40.09 and Alchemy 1.10.01 downloaded from Creative web site.

(I figured I would stick with the latest "official" drivers from Creative. I know they have beta drivers 2.18 and beta Creative Console but thought I would only use those if I noticed issues.)

Any comments or insights from people that have installed the X-Fi XtremeGamer on 32 bit Vista? Thanks.
June 9, 2008 8:18:06 PM

Sure, here's my insight....dump the X-Fi and get yourself the ASUS Xonar or HT Omega card. Save yourself the Creative headache!

Their drivers are weird, especially with Vista, I have found. I have a dual-boot of Vista and XP. My X-Fi settings are identical in both OS', yet the sound on Vista is much more different then the sound in XP. In Vista, it sounds very echo-ey, very synthetic. XP sounds correct. Even in XP, the drivers are a pain in the butt.

ASUS Xonar cards are easy to work with, same with HT Omega. I still have an use my X-Fi, but that's only because I am stuck with it now. In my next PC, I'm dropping Creative for good!
June 9, 2008 8:46:49 PM

I know they have driver issues with the X-fi that are simply renamed audigy cards. But I don't think thats the case with your X-fi xtreme gamer. I own an X-fi platinum card, with the front panel, and it works just fine in vista 64, I haven't had any issues with drivers at all. Oh and that looks about right for your order of things, I don't see anything wrong with it. Enjoy that card!
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June 9, 2008 8:47:36 PM

stabgotham said:
Sure, here's my insight....dump the X-Fi and get yourself the ASUS Xonar or HT Omega card. Save yourself the Creative headache!

Their drivers are weird, especially with Vista, I have found. I have a dual-boot of Vista and XP. My X-Fi settings are identical in both OS', yet the sound on Vista is much more different then the sound in XP. In Vista, it sounds very echo-ey, very synthetic. XP sounds correct. Even in XP, the drivers are a pain in the butt.

ASUS Xonar cards are easy to work with, same with HT Omega. I still have an use my X-Fi, but that's only because I am stuck with it now. In my next PC, I'm dropping Creative for good!


Well I already bought it so I'm going to give it a try... I can always go back to the onboard audio.

Have you used a Xonar or Omega cards in your Vista system?
June 9, 2008 8:58:13 PM

HT Omega cards are flawless on Vista systems. More features than creatives, with only EAX 5 missing. Honestly though it does not matter because Vista does not allow EAX, and you get DTS and Dolby decoding on Omega cards. You also gets a Optical receiver and Optical output, and Coax also, not to mention with the ability to plug your computer case audio jacks to the card.
June 11, 2008 5:48:25 AM

cheapfrag said:
Well I already bought it so I'm going to give it a try... I can always go back to the onboard audio.

Have you used a Xonar or Omega cards in your Vista system?


Yes, I have used HT Omega cards and they are priceless! I have not used the Xonar card yet, but the reviews are all coming back positive. When the time is right, my current PC will become a hand me down to my daughter, and I will be getting another HT Omega for my new PC. Creative really lost me as a customer after the Daniel_K incident...that was the straw that broke the camels back.

Not sure what the Daniel_K incident was...do a google search on Daniel_K and Creative.
June 16, 2008 1:34:11 PM

Well, I installed the X-fi Xtreme Gamer on Saturday (6/14) and so far no issues. I have played Portal, Civ 4 Beyond the Sword, Medieval Total War 2, Guild Wars and no problems and the audio definitely sounds better.

And the best part is that I no longer get a constant hum through my speakers when the headphones are plugged in and I no longer get sounds when I scroll a web page.

It's only been 2 days and didn't have any extensive gaming sessions, but so far everything has gone as smoothly as possible.
June 18, 2008 5:57:37 AM

That's good! You may have achieved what 50%+ of X-Fi owners have been unable to. No...I do not have any legitamate statistics to back up that claim, but if you search around, you will see that there are thousandsof people with issues.

Congrats, mate! Hope it all works out for you!
June 18, 2008 2:59:02 PM

Use the crystallizer....it makes a world of difference.
June 18, 2008 3:25:37 PM

SpinachEater said:
Use the crystallizer....it makes a world of difference.



Depends on your setup - I can see where it would help the cheaper stuff many tend to hook up to their computers. But.... I have an Auzentech Prelude, which uses an X-Fi chip, run it via optical output through a pretty good stereo (the electronics are NAD, out through a very nice Polk Audio 7.1 setup), and on that system using the crystalizer at all sounds like a hundred sets of nails on chalkboards. Except it's amplified by 100 watts x 7. :cry:  I ended up deleting the application and using the driver only. Sounds best unsullied.
June 18, 2008 6:54:25 PM

I bet the post-amplification is probably messing it up. You usually don't want to amplify a signal that has effects on it...it ends amplifying the noise along with your signal. You usually want to amplify the "virgin" signal and then do effects afterward. That is what I found in recording music anyway....

That is true though, in my case I am just using headphones to listen to music and game. The crystallizer adds a lot more dimension to the audio. If you are running it into another audio device with it's own effects...I wouldn't bother.

Edit: Oh yeah that reminds me...don't try to do any serious recording with creative sound cards. They have some wicked latencies and it makes it almost impossible to work with.
June 18, 2008 7:11:15 PM

Yah - I figured it was a matter of one processing stuff that gets processed again by the other - Except that the nails on chalkboards (defined as: incredibly over-done and irritating high end) occurred even when I had the amplifier in a bypass mode - Stereo only, decoding only, with no added surround processing. In my case, the effect was still there with headphones (VERY good Sennheisers), and not just the speakers. In playing with it, I found that the less the application on the computer was altering the sighal, the better everything sounded. Which makes sense, really, since the amp cost an order of magnitude more than the sound card. So I deleted the app, and only use the processing which the amplifier has.
!