X-Fi Titanium HD vs X-Fi Titanium for Gaming System

I recently just built a new gaming system. I was originally going to use onboard sound, but decided to go ahead and get a dedicated sound card since I was already buying everything else.

I went to my local Best Buy, as I knew they carried the X-Fi Titanium and they had it on sale for $59. I had some gift cards to knock the price down further. As luck would have it, they had a X-Fi Titanium HD for $79 ($52 cost to me with the gift cards). Not knowing much about the HD except that it's normally a $150 card, I bought both with the intent of returning one of them.

After reading some reviews, the Titanium HD appears to have superior sound, but at the cost of losing the analog outputs. Now, I've never ran surround-sound before, but I think I'd like to eventually. At the very least, I'd like to get a nice headset with either real SS or synthesized ('virtual') SS. Having said that, it appears that the HD doesn't support 7.1 - just 5.1 digital through the optical out. The CMSS-3D software it comes with also doesn't appear to be full 7.1 version as is on the standard Titanium card, but simply a "virtual" CMSS-3D. I can't find anywhere if that's 4.1 or 5.1, but the point is that even that is neutered to some degree.

Is it just me, or is the standard Titanium a better option for a gaming machine? All of the headsets I've looked at either use analog outputs, are USB (negating the soundcard), or use optical.

Considering I'd be losing the "fuller" CMSS-3D, as well compatibility with most analog gaming headsets, is the standard Titanium a better option? Or am I missing something with the HD?
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  1. I'm using a standard x-fi titanium to drive 7.1 over analog to a Harmon Kardon avr1600. Works fine, and I think it sounds better than 5.1 over the optical cable (I've tried that too.)

    I think the HD had a better Signal to Noise Ratio(122). But the standard one is pretty good too(109).

    Isn't cmss-3d fake 3d? I never turn it on and I get surround sound in games.
  2. Quote:
    Isn't cmss-3d fake 3d? I never turn it on and I get surround sound in games.

    CMSS-3D is basically Dolby Pro Logic + Dolby Virtual Headphone, all rolled into one package. It will automatically upmix/virtualize as needed, based on the speaker settings.

    But yes, for a gaming machine, the Titanium is a better card. The Titanium HD is meant more toward the home theatre crowd then for gamers, hence the RCA outputs over TRS 7.1 outputs most soundcards have.
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