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Help with SB XFI XGamer + Windows 7

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July 12, 2010 7:09:27 PM

Hello Everyone,

I recently updated from Windows XP32, hoping that it was going to be a great move, to Windows 7-64. After For the most part everything went smoothly, except for my sound. I have a creative X-Fi XtremeGamer card, and there is this incessant crackling and popping noise during any audio. I have searched around looking for a solution and from what I have gathered, it possibly has something to do with the amount of memory in the system. I have tried the latest version of drivers, as well as the version right before the latest (6.0.1.13 I believe), but neither worked. I was just wondering if anyone here has found a fix for the problem? Thanks a lot in advance...

P.S. I also heard that updating the MOBO bios could resolve the issue, but I cannot find my MOBO on the manufacturers website and have never done a bios update... I am willing to try as I am relatively computer literate and can follow instructions...

System:

Gigabyte GA-M61P-S3 Motherboard
AMD Athlon 64 4600+ Processor (stock frequency)
2gb Crucial Ballistix + 2gb OCZ Platinum - - DDR2/800
Creative SB X-fi XtremeGamer
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

Thanks again and any replies will be greatly appreciated... Also just let me know if you need any more information... Thanks a bunch!!!

More about : xfi xgamer windows

July 12, 2010 8:09:24 PM

I'd be more suspicious of a driver issue at this point. Try uninstalling the current drivers for your sound card - preferrably from the Device Manager. Restart your system and perform a Windows Update. If Windows Update can't find your drivers then go back into the Device Manager and choose to update your drivers. Restart again and see if you have any joy. It may not work but it's worth a shot and it's simpler than fiddling round in the BIOS at this point. Let us know how you get on. Good luck!
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July 13, 2010 6:32:35 PM

Thank you both moody and needsumhelp for replying... Any suggestions are beneficial in working toward a solution (if there is one :(  )

Moody,

Indeed it does sound like a driver issue... Especially being that the card worked flawlessly for several years under my exact same hardware configuration, but with windows XP Pro 32 bit.

As you suggested, I removed all of the creative software and then uninstalled the drivers from the device manager. It removed the "creative sb x-fi" entry from the "sound, video and game controllers" subheading just as expected and returned the device to "multimedia audio controller" under "other devices." I then used windows update to no avail as it could not locate any new updates. I right clicked the 'multimedia audio controller' and went to update drivers from there and windows still didn't find any drivers. So this leaves me to using the creative drivers I have already tried (which were the very latest, and one step older, which both had the same issue), using even older drivers if anyone has experienced luck going that route, or using custom drivers as needsumhelp suggested. Do you think going to even older drivers is worth my time? I am willing to try anything I suppose. I currently have my speakers plugged into my onboard audio and it works flawlessly... This is frustrating

Needsumhelp,

I too have come across this site while searching for a panacea. But, the links are no longer available to download the custom drivers... Under mirrors it just says outdated and no other place to download as far as I can see. Do you know where I can actually find a legitimate custom driver that might be promising?

Thank you both for replying and hope you guys will continue with suggestions. Thanks again!
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July 15, 2010 8:10:48 PM

Andrew,

This is a common problem with the X-Fi card. Creative's forums have had a large number of threads, with some containing over a hundred pages. The problem seems to afflict many diferrent systems with no clear-cut cause or solution. Creative attributed the cause to certain Nvidia chipsets and to some SLI configurations.

I installed my Gamer on an AMD 64X2 4400+ w/ ASUS A8N-SLI MB in October 2006 and it worked fine with XP 32, just like yours did. Subsequently, I increased the memory from 2GB to 4GB and then the crackling began for me. Shortly thereafter, Creative issued an updated driver and that corrected the problem.

I then upgraded to Vista 64 shortly after it was introduced and the crackling returned. After almost a year, Creative finally issued a driver that corrected it for Vista.

Last year, I installed Win 7 64 beta and RC and the crackling returned again, so I disabled the card. I upgraded my CPU to an i7- 860 with the intro of Win 7 last October and the then current Creative driver worked fine. I updated with Creative's new Win 7 drivers recently and they work too.

Despite Creative's blame-games, I find it interesting that updated Creative drivers eventually corrected the problem for me, but not for everyone. You will not find Creative drivers for Vista or Win 7 drivers at Windows Update -- only at Creative's site. It seems the two companies no longer work together, Maybe that is at the heart of the driver problem. Creative's programmer's have to figure out Vista and Win 7 on their own in order to write the drivers. Creative's forum's have included links to modified drivers (by Daniel K) that have solved the problem for some.

My patience with Creative has run out. If the noise returns to my system, the card goes into the trash.



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July 15, 2010 9:08:53 PM

Whisper,

Thank you so much for your reply to my query... Your logic and conclusions sound to me that they could be right on track. It seems that I must be one of the unlucky people that have that 'certain' Nvidia chipset as my board does use the Nvidia chipset. I suppose I am not surprised since my hardware is approaching 4 years old and an upgrade is definitely in need. Your post was very informative, again thank you.

Back to these Daniel K custom drivers; It appears that Daniel K has been under scrutiny for modding creative drivers to actually work... I can't seem to find the drivers at the moment. Do any of you have any idea where I can locate these drivers? I will keep looking anyhow. Thanks a lot for the posts everyone. Very informative to say the least, although it is unfortunate that there is probably no real resolution at the time of this thread.
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July 15, 2010 10:42:21 PM

Andrew,

This link leads to one of Daniel K's posts at Creative. This one has links to an ISO file that will install the Creative Gamer (be aware the the X-fi Audio uses different drivers). These are unofficial and are not sanctioned by Creative, however, Creative does not delete them. I would make an image of your partition before installing -- just to be safe. I did try some of his earlier drivers that others claimed fixed their problems, but they had no impact on mine.


http://forums.creative.com/t5/Sound-Blaster/SB-X-Fi-PCI...


Your frustration is just beginning. While I had the AMD system, I spent more time troubleshooting my Creative card than I did all the other components combined. One of its drivers even put the installation of Vista SP1 in an endless loop. I recommend you not spend a lot of time trying to solve the unsolveable. If you can not stop the crackling soon, uninstall the Creative card and use the on-board sound or replace the card with a non-Creative brand.
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July 17, 2010 12:38:20 AM

Whisper,

The link that you gave me went to the uk.store.creative.com website rather than the forums for some reason... but it is no big deal. I was doing some searching late last night and I found a post by Daniel K that had the X-fi Support Pack 2.0 downloadable from rapidshare. The pack came 'packed' with other stuff like ALchemy, volume control panel, THX console, Creative console, etc. For the most Part, other than Creative console, I never did install this stuff when I previously installed my card. This time, I figured to heck with it, I am gonna install everything he has in the pack. So after installing and rebooting, BAM! Everything worked beautifully... I was literally jumping for joy. Then I shutdown the computer while I went to go get some chicken wings haha. I come back and it is crackling again... I was pretty disappointed.

Then I decided I would go ahead and uninstall it all and use driver sweeper this time as I had forgotten to previously, hoping that some left behind creative files were interfering with my custom drivers. I uninstalled ALchemy first because it was the first (alphabetically) in my control panel. I asked me to reboot so I did, and when it restarted the sound was back to normal! So I restarted several times just to see if it was messing with me... As of right now the sound is working pretty satisfactorily. Occasional pop (hardly noticeable) at the beginning of some audio on occasions, but far better than before. It seems that ALchemy's attempt to fix legacy games audio was interfering with my all around audio in general. I can do without ALchemy for now.

I think that I will leave it as is for a while until it possibly get screwy on me again... Thanks for your time and attempts at bettering my system. You are a gentleman and a scholar. Thanks everyone.

Here is the link that I used to find the X-Fi Support Pack 2.0 by Daniel K for anyone else that comes across this thread looking for a solution to the crackling and popping problem:
http://forums.creative.com/t5/Sound-Blaster/SB-X-Fi-Ser...

Again... Thanks a lot everyone for your suggestions... the custom drivers are working fairly well for me... A good work around until they come up with and official solution, and who knows when that will be!

Thanks a lot everyone
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July 17, 2010 12:44:12 AM

Unfortunately, for some reason my link is going straight to uk.store.creative.com as well just like Whispers... It is bogus that they reroute it like that. So to anyone who looks at this thread looking for a solution to crackling and popping, you have two options to do it like I did. 1) go to google and just type in x fi support pack 2.0 and it should be the first link... the download should be a mirror to rapidshare. Or 2) here is the link to the actual rapidshare download page... you should see that the file is the xfi_support_pack_2_0.exe...

http://rapidshare.com/files/234436040/XFI_SupportPack_2...

Well there you have it... Good luck everyone!
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July 17, 2010 3:42:20 AM

Okay...

So I completely retract my last statements as they have turned out to be completely bogus... I had my sound working for a day and then it is all crackly and poppy since I played GTA 4 for about half an hour. I uninstalled the custom drivers along with all the software that came with it... Ran Driver Sweeper... Deleted the a Creative folder that was in my Program Files x86 that I never really put there myself (I'm a stickler on installing files into custom drives). I uninstalled everything and reinstalled everything after making sure all was cleaned. When I shut down for the first time the 'exit' sounds sound great after reinstalling.... But, when I reboot it is crackling and popping again. I have know idea what to do other than accept the fact that it will take an upgrade to resolve the problem. I personally will never buy a creative product again after this predicament.. But, still thank you all for your input... If you guys ever figure anything else out, please let me know... Thanks!

Andrew
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July 19, 2010 5:52:57 PM

Never buy Creative soundcards!
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July 19, 2010 8:32:50 PM

Alright...

So I retract my last posts as removing ALchemy didn't really fix the problem. It appears that after restarting it reverts back the the crackling and popping that it was doing previously. But, I have figured out a seemingly effective, and this time more thoroughly tested workaround for the problem.

Before shutdown of my computer I disable the sound card in the device manager and then re-enable it upon start-up. This makes the sound work without the crackling and popping... Of course, it is a serious pain in the a$$ to have to do this every time, but still effective.

Obviously this isn't a "solution" to the initial problem, just a work around that I suggest others having the problem, but wanting to continue use of their expensive sound card. Actually, I don't think it is necessary to disable the card before shut down. I think that you can disable it and re-enable it upon start up, I just have gotten used to disabling it when I'm finished doing whatever on my PC.

Hopefully, there will be a fix sooner than later... Though, unfortunately, the pessimists are far out numbering the optimists!

If anyone has anymore suggestions about a solution, please don't hesitate to post them as I am willing to test them out...

Also, I do appreciate every opinion, including Monstra's, but not buying Creative sound cards is not a solution for those of us whom already possess one. If I had a million dollars...

So rather than turning this thread into a Creative bashing, let us keep it a creative and substance filled attempt at procreating a solution.
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July 20, 2010 9:58:01 PM

I have the exact same card and it crackles and pops, BSODS, no solution, no fix to this as the drivers are crap, so I can say "If I had a million Dollars, I would never buy a Creative card!"
You quoted "I personally will never buy a creative product again after this predicament" and I agree with you there.
Im not bashing Creative , but their cards are not worth the problems you get with them. You are better off getting an Auzentech or Asus sound card
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July 21, 2010 5:55:40 AM

Its cool man...

I was just saying that I didn't want a bunch of people getting on here and just saying "yeah! I agree with Monstra... Creative sucks" haha. Because, even if they do, filling the thread with that isn't going to do me or anyone else any good.

Did you try what I had posted. It works every time for me now. Like I said, it is a pain in the a$$ that this is necessary, but it is effective. Just install the X-Fi Support Pack 2.0 (it may even work for the official drivers, but I haven't tried it yet) and then enable your sound card after staret up. It has been working like a charm for me.

I definitely understand your frustration, though. But, give this a shot... Its worth it when your onboard sound is as lame as mine...

Give it a shot, man... Good luck... Let me know if you decide to try it and tell me if it works for you as well... I am definitely curious!

(Disregard this post if you have already purchased another card and junked the creative haha :D  )
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July 26, 2010 9:58:46 PM

Another update...

After 'disabling' the CTxfiHlp.exe in my start-up registry using CCleaner, I have been able to restart my computer 3 times without having to do my before mentioned turning off and on the sound card in device manager...

Hopefully it will continue to work without having to go through that process, although its not all that bad considering you get to actually use your sound card that you payed good money for...

I will reply with another update if it starts crackling again or goes another good 10 starts without having to mess with the device manager...

Hope this is helping someone out there!
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July 26, 2010 10:17:15 PM

Good to hear its working out for you , I've tried the lot with mine , the crackling is gone tho but have nice static noise instead.LOL
Still getting BSODS, so I'm ripping it out and calling it a day, just want my pc to run stable.
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a b $ Windows 7
July 27, 2010 12:02:11 PM

Sounds like classic SCP [Snap, Crackle, Pop] to me; you'd think after almost a decade, Creative could actually FIX the problem...You can give the Daniel_K drivers a shot if you want.

Also monsta, Creative sound cards don't like NVIDIA motherboards at all. For whatever reason, the problems on Creative cards, ESPECIALLY SCP, is about twice as bad when paired on a NVIDIA chipset [there was a big fight about this just a few years ago between NVIDIA and Creative]. I would not bother with any Creative product on your 790i for that reason.
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July 28, 2010 11:45:27 PM

Unfortunately, the SCP, so to speak, did not remain elusive for very long after getting rid of CTxfiHlp.exe like I had previously stated in my last post... It worked well for a couple of reboots but then returned.

Fortunately, though, the disabling and enabling the sound card in the device manager is still functioning as a decent work around for now. One time when I had Ventrillo going it returned, but other than that occurrence, the noises have been staying away for the life of the active session. Only returns when I reboot. Weird how it does that and only works when I reset it after booting. Sorry to hear none of this stuff is working for you Monstra.

Unfortunately, these cards aren't selling for sh*t on ebay either... Obviously many people are aware of such issues with these cards...

Did you try disabling and enabling it in device manager to no avail Monstra? Just curious if you gave it a shot...
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a b $ Windows 7
July 29, 2010 12:13:35 PM

There is no known fix for SCP, otherwise Creative would have (maybe) fixed it about 5 years ago...No one even knows the definitive CAUSE of the problem. (I long suspected PCI bandwith, but even the PCI-E Titanium is known to occasionally have the problem.)

I investigated SCP myself for a while; the only thing I found was when playing Crysis, the minute SCP popped up, the game's console started to report that audio files were not being loaded properly. [X-RAM maybe?] Never did figure out why though...

Hence, why I recommend Auzentech (which despite using the same chipset, doesn't SEEM to be effected...), ASUS and HT Omega. Their cards are of better quality anyways...
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