Hi, I'm a long time onboard audio user. I use windows XP SP3 and plan on getting high quality surround headphones. Hopefully this thread will become a good reference point for others thinking of making the big switch.
Onboard simply isn't cutting it anymore and I need something with a little more oomph. The card I have my eye on is the Creative X-FI Xtreme Gamer. Now I've heard a lot of praise about the fatal1ty series and asus xonar cards but current availability issues mean it's either the Xtreme gamer or nothing.
Now I've heard from various sources that EAX is dead or dying and that it has no future. Is this true? I know about the creative alchemy project and the fact that it was made free a while ago. I've also heard nightmare stories about creative drivers ruining system stability, resetting on reboot etc. As an XP SP3 user with the latest drivers can I be at least confident that my experience will be headache free (I won't be able to return the card)?
I know the Xtreme isn't creative's latest and greatest (Platinum, fatal1ty and others come to mind) so my final question is that will support for it continue and will it be able to last for at least 2-3 years?
About the creative X-FI Xtreme Gamer, I can't speak for everyone, but when I setup my friend's X-FI recently I had no problems at all within XP SP3 or Vista SP1. I suppose people out there are having problems on certain systems, or maybe they are just proof that many people are completely lacking any kind of diagnostic skills.
Either way, there really is no way to tell how well a creative card will work for you. To be completely honest, if I where buying a new sound card right now I would give asus a try, but they it's your money, do as you please.
So why isn't the xonar an option? Do you live somewhere in the middle of nowhere, and they have creative cards but not these new fangled Asus Xonar cards? O.o
Something like that.
Is it really that bad? Auzentech prelude and D2X are probably some of the best cards out there but the price is crazy. The Xonar DX looks about right except that it's not available. So is creative that bad?!
Ive had these fatal|ty cards, and I'd say they where garbage up until 4 of August this year.. Up till then Ive had awful lot of problems with them. Like missing mode, Sound that just get totatlly crappy all of a sudden, Needed 4 reboots before sound was oki and so on. With the new drivers these problems disappeared it seems. This goes for the Winodws x64 drivers.
Have a second PC with Xonar D2. No problem.. Smooth as hell. The only thing X-Fi has that Xonar does not is EAX 3,4 and 5. But as I aunderstand, Vist's APi kills the whole EAX and levels the playingfield for surround sound and such.