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Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi vs Auzentech X-Raider

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November 12, 2010 9:31:40 AM

Hey there Tom's Hardware,

I am looking at getting a soundcard for my rig and I want something nice - but not over $100. I am looking at one of the following:
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer 7.1Ch 24-bit Extreme Gamer
http://www.netplus.com.au/product/SO7/SOCRXFI-EXTGAMER/...

or

Auzentech X-Raider 7.1 PCI AZT-Raider 24-bit 96KHz
http://www.netplus.com.au/product/SO7/SOAURAID71/Sound-...

I am open to any suggestions if people have had better quality from other, similarly priced systems.
I am currently running an open-ear design (behind-the-neck) Logitech G330 headset as my primary sound device and a Sennheiser PMX-200 (also behind-the-neck) as my secondary. My tertiary is a really old 2.1 Creative system (by old I mean older than 6 years).
Can I complement one or all of these with the above equipment or should I purchase a 7.1 surround sound headset and/or speaker system to benefit it instead.

My budget is <$100 for the sound card and <$200 for the speakers/headphones.

Cheers,
-Klosteral
November 12, 2010 10:55:01 AM

Well, as old as the X-Raider is, it still beats the XtremeGamer; I'd recommend the HT Omega striker or ASUS Xonar D1/DX (both for around $89) over both though (or the Auzentech Prelude if you're willing to move up to about $130 or so).

Just remember any USB solution ignores soundcard processessing, so don't bother going that way.

A good deal for you *might* be the ASUS Xonar Xense/Sennheiser PC350 combo deal ASUS has going on; great headset coupled with great soundcard, so you get both items in one package.
November 14, 2010 9:03:50 AM

Wait. Did you say that USB headphones BYPASS the soundcard? So that means if I use my Logitech headphones with the USB plug, it doesn't matter how good my sound card is, it won't have an effect?
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November 15, 2010 1:28:58 PM

^ correct :) 

How About the Xonar Essence STX if your not going with the Sennheiser combo. Creative just came out with their Titanium HD card...something to look into as they've picked up good reviews over the net. VRzones review is a good place to check it out.
November 15, 2010 5:22:02 PM

^^I'm torn on the Titanium HD; good card all and all, but I'd still take the Auzentech HTHD over it, plus you also have to factor in driver stability, something it will take Creative YEARS to prove its fixed...

Back to the previous point: A USB headset is basically, as far as Windows is concerned, its own soundcard. And as you can only have one sound device handling sound processing, when the USB device is the audio output device, your soundcard does NOTHING, as all the processing is handled by the USB devices driver instead.

What that means in a nutshell, if you get a $200 soundcard and a $5 USB headset, the soundcard will gather dust while the headsets drivers does all the processing.
November 15, 2010 6:36:28 PM

^ i just recommended that soundcard to another post here on Tom's. I loved the amount of 'creative' connectivity it had...HDMI audio and video passthrough *thumbs up* the other card i'm waiting to see is the Auzen X-Meridian 7.1 2G.

@ OP - I think you can look into Creative X-Fi fatal1ty Titanium, it 'seems' to have good driver support - http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Labs-SB0886-Titanium-Pro... and its within $100 probably cheaper on newegg....
!