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Is it worth it?

Tags:
  • Sound Cards
  • Realtek
  • Creative
  • Components
Last response: in Components
June 13, 2010 7:26:17 PM

I have an Onboard Realtek ALC888 and want to buy the Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer (NOT the Pro Fatality).
If I buy it, will I hear the diff. ?
In other words - Is an upgrade from the ALC888 to the Creative X-Fi Xtremegamer worth it?

PS
For gaming, I don't care about music.

More about : worth

June 13, 2010 11:07:39 PM

There is a difference. Depending on your speaker system and the way you may make use of better surround sound, more clarity and quality OF the sound, and a very very slight and hardly noticable performance increase in FPS, it might be worth 10 dollars, or 200 dollars.

If you don't get it, is it going to stick in your mind forever "what if i heard that guy coming from behind me?" that the soundcard might produce better than an onboard sound. You might hear things you didn't hear before if you really extremely pay attention to sounds.

Even though I have a soundblaster, and it works fine with windows 7 64bit...I must warn you, you may have difficulties installing everything and get it to work as intended, right away. .. if you have windows7. Just throwing that out there since there have been alot of complaints about the creative line drivers (hardware is fine).. and personally I had a couple issues installing a expensive card but got them all ironed out now.
June 13, 2010 11:52:16 PM

The advantages are not as pronounced as they used to be some time back.. Having said that, a dedicated peripheral is always better as compared to its onboard counterpart.. As for its worth, it totally depends on you.. The very money can be spent on getting a faster GPU.. If you are just a casual gamer and don't care at all for music and movies, getting a sound card might not be the best idea for you.. What exactly are your expectations from the xtreme gamer card.?
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June 14, 2010 12:03:54 AM

The soud quality will only be as good as your speakers. You will hear a difference but it all depends on your setup.
June 14, 2010 2:42:51 AM

the sound quality are depends on your sound card and your speaker, You're wasting your time buy an expensive sound card if your speaker doesn't support it.
Since you're not care about the music/sound on games then i guess you'll be fine with the onboard sound card. :) 
June 14, 2010 3:19:05 AM

There are three things that make up what you hear. (four if you include the wiring, but it makes much less of an impact.) The first is the soundcard itself. Over the years this has become less and less of an issue as onboard gets better and better. Usually all you see is better features, like 7.1 instead of just 5.1.

Second is the speakers. Good sound card isn't going to do anything for you if you are running them through cheap $20-$100 speakers. If the speakers can't accurately recreate what the soundcard says to its no better then using onboard. Bose does make good (if not a bit flat) speakers, but are overpriced. Logitech can make good speakers, but as mentioned tends to be heavy on the bass. There are many companies that make speakers, all with good and bad lines. I have found for "best" sound you should run a digital connection to a good home theater setup.

The third thing that will impact your listening enjoyment is your ears. A great soundcard with high end speakers isn't going to do much if your mostly deaf, or can't hear the subtle differences that can be found in music. As a kid I had many ear infections each year, and have difficulty hearing differences in high notes. Spending large amounts of money in audio equipment doesn't make a lot of sense to me as I'll never hear it.

In short, to say your going to buy a soundcard isn't enough info. If your using a junk set of speakers, even if its a 5.1/7.1 setup you'll never hear the differences. More so if your just gaming. Get something that supports EAX or whatever sound setup your game uses and a "good" surround setup. If that means onboard then I'd use that. I'd also upgrade your speakers before the soundcard. A good set of speakers might be enough to breathe new life into your onboard sound.
June 14, 2010 12:06:17 PM

Emperus said:
The advantages are not as pronounced as they used to be some time back.. Having said that, a dedicated peripheral is always better as compared to its onboard counterpart.. As for its worth, it totally depends on you.. The very money can be spent on getting a faster GPU.. If you are just a casual gamer and don't care at all for music and movies, getting a sound card might not be the best idea for you.. What exactly are your expectations from the xtreme gamer card.?


I want to hear faint sounds - footsteps for example, someone realoding etc.
That's the only reason I'm even thinking about buying a sound crad.

4745454b said:
There are three things that make up what you hear. (four if you include the wiring, but it makes much less of an impact.) The first is the soundcard itself. Over the years this has become less and less of an issue as onboard gets better and better. Usually all you see is better features, like 7.1 instead of just 5.1.

Second is the speakers. Good sound card isn't going to do anything for you if you are running them through cheap $20-$100 speakers. If the speakers can't accurately recreate what the soundcard says to its no better then using onboard. Bose does make good (if not a bit flat) speakers, but are overpriced. Logitech can make good speakers, but as mentioned tends to be heavy on the bass. There are many companies that make speakers, all with good and bad lines. I have found for "best" sound you should run a digital connection to a good home theater setup.

The third thing that will impact your listening enjoyment is your ears. A great soundcard with high end speakers isn't going to do much if your mostly deaf, or can't hear the subtle differences that can be found in music. As a kid I had many ear infections each year, and have difficulty hearing differences in high notes. Spending large amounts of money in audio equipment doesn't make a lot of sense to me as I'll never hear it.

In short, to say your going to buy a soundcard isn't enough info. If your using a junk set of speakers, even if its a 5.1/7.1 setup you'll never hear the differences. More so if your just gaming. Get something that supports EAX or whatever sound setup your game uses and a "good" surround setup. If that means onboard then I'd use that. I'd also upgrade your speakers before the soundcard. A good set of speakers might be enough to breathe new life into your onboard sound.


I have pretty good hardware - http://zalman.com/ENG/product/Product_Read.asp?Idx=213

As I said, the main thing is to start hearing faint things. Oh, and increase volume cause the Realtek isn't strong enough in terms of loudness.
June 14, 2010 4:44:31 PM

I'm not that familiar with headphones so I can't comment on how good those are. They might be good but you have a different problem.

As USB headphones its my understanding that they bypass your onboard soundcard. Likewise buying a new soundcard and then plugging your headphones into a USB port and not the soundcard won't make any difference. I would look at getting some other/different headphones and see if its better, using the onboard first.

Have you ever played Team Fortress Classic? Ever play the map "Casbah" Its the map that looks like a middle east village, famous because its was the best to keep a team in their spawn while you capped over and over again. One of the teams spawned near a tank. I played the map many times with headphones and my crap 2.0 Harman/kardon speakers that came with the only dell I ever owned. It wasn't until I had it hooked up to my home sound setup that I heard the tanks engine for the first time. In this case it was the speakers holding me back. I get the feeling yours are the headphones.
June 14, 2010 5:20:11 PM

Thanks for the help and detail but they aren't USB.
A USB model exists but mine are the ones in the link - 3 analog wires:
Left-Right, Center and Rear and they do go directly into the sound card.
June 14, 2010 5:35:52 PM

I click your link and this is what I see.

Quote:

ZM-RS6F
Virtual 5.1-channel stereo system equipped with 6 speakers, optimized for home theatre environment.
Zalman ZM-RS6F USB Headphones


You have the ZM-RS6F headphones? That claim to be USB in the link. I believe you when you say that have the normal/analog plugs, just mentioning why I said what I did. If you want to hear the quiet sounds something with a better SNR will help. I have no idea what the ALC888 has, but the CL gamer is probably better. Having no idea how good those headphones are I still have no idea if this is money worth spending. I assume you've tried all the usual stuff like driver updates, turning up the sounds in the games, etc?
June 14, 2010 5:42:43 PM

Weird, is does say USB in the analog plugs link.
Yes have tried all the usual stuff, I can say that the headphones are very good and with my prior sound card (nVidia SoundStrom) they were much louder.
June 14, 2010 6:10:16 PM

Then if a driver update doesn't fix the problem, I'd try a card. Be aware that you might want to consider something other then creative if you have vista/win7. While they have fixed a lot of the problems, its my understanding they still have some issues. Asus "sonar" (not the name but it should be close enough) gets high marks around here.