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Creative Finally Launches True X-Fi PCI Express Parts

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 13 comments

 


It took some time, but Creative Labs has finally introduced decent sound cards for PCI Express interface. The company is offering two products and has come up with names that may grab your attention, but aren’t necessarily easy to remember: The PCI Express Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional Series and the PCI Express Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Champion series. Got it?

Both boards come in a more modest package than the long names may suggest. They include Creative’s X-Fi processor that has been modified to work with the PCI Express interconnect and X-Fi APU got a revision: The chip now supports Crystalizer, a brilliant piece of technology that brings all those crappy 128 Kb/s MP3 files to life. The X-Fi CMSS was also implemented in a patchwork piece called X-Fi Xtreme Audio. This "true X-Fi" parts also come with X-RAM memory - dedicated memory that promises to boost the card’s performance in games.

The X-Fi cards continue to support Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital EX, DTS-ES and, of course, THX. The software bundle includes a ton of creative applications as well as and PowerDVD with DD-EX and DTS-ES support. Creative includes UAA compliant drivers for Vista.

The X-Fi PCI Express card is available for pre-order for 150, while the Fatal1ty Champion Edition (board+dongle+add-ons) will retail/e-tail for $200.

It seems that we might see some competition between the Creative Labs Sound Blaster and the Asus Xonar cards after all.

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  • 1 Hide
    lightfoot__ , May 19, 2008 7:46 PM
    Finally the Asus Xonar can compete with Creative who has been gimping drivers so bad we have people modding them and then getting sued/threatened. I got the modded x-fi drivers (finally) and now I have "what I hear" capability enablable again! It is going to take some good will from Creative to get me back.
  • 1 Hide
    phatboe , May 19, 2008 8:00 PM
    Ok now that Creative has released the hardware now all we have to do is wait 2 years before creative releases decent drivers, either that or wait till someone releases a 3rd party driver that works with this new hardware.

    I will also wait till creative releases a stripped down version that doesn't include fat's name on it that comes a price of about $40-$70 cheaper than these two boards.
  • 1 Hide
    DXRick , May 19, 2008 8:22 PM
    So, to compete with onboard sound, they release two new cards that are more expensive than most P35 mobos? And using a PCIe slot will do what? Well, at least they can release Vista drivers that are not crippled.
  • Display all 13 comments.
  • 1 Hide
    deminicus , May 19, 2008 8:24 PM
    "The X-Fi cards continue to support Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital EX, DTS-ES and, of course, THX." is that in vista also?? cuz my pci xfi platinum supposedly doesn't/can't. Which is why i am mad with creative amongst many other things due to the whole Daniel_K thing.
  • 1 Hide
    vcolon , May 19, 2008 8:37 PM
    After many years supporting creative, I went ahead and got Auzentech's X-plosion 7.1 . Supports DDS, DDT, DTS-ES, DTS-NEO, and EAX.
    I remember at Quakecon 2005 when creative was pushing its fatal1ty product how people made fun of them there. They even went as far and drawing obscene pictures over the mouth of that fatal1ty kid's picture cut-out board. The mood of the audience was very cynical as to why they should pay more for a sound card that their motherboard.
  • 1 Hide
    jrnyfan , May 19, 2008 10:47 PM
    i'm extremly tired of hearing about jonathan 'fatal1ty' wendel and the lameass products that bear his weak name. they are always second-rate parts that you pay twice as much as you should just because some washed up hack got lucky enough to get an endorsement.

    creative got it right with the soundblaster live! and has been terrible ever since...here's to another crappy product from the company that doesn't care about their customers enough to address problems when they happen and then threaten legal action when someone tries to be a good samaritan and fix the problem themselves.

    boo creative, boo fatal1ty and boo...um...what's left...oh yeah, boo macintosh!
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , May 19, 2008 10:49 PM
    Creative dont exist to me. After playing BField2 and being excited about the X-FI in game possibilities, I purchased an audio card call x-fi audio with a new computer and turned off the on-board sound card. Lo and behold the card was not really x-fi capable in the game and I wasted $$$ on a poorly badged card and x-fi symbol.
  • 1 Hide
    liemfukliang , May 20, 2008 2:13 AM
    I wonder if this baby can work in Windows 7 or Windows after Windows 7 just like SB16 work in Vista.
    I also hope more than that like:
    - @least 10% increase in SNR
    - EAX 6.0
    - New sound prosesor like >= EMU 20k
    - Driver support than can survive after Windows 7 with fully functional (regular driver shuld increse the functionalily / speed).
    - Value Version < $80
    - Etc.

    The only thing that poople are love to see in this sound card is Dolby Life. That just IT. I love Microtek ScanWizard V6USL. I buy it in 1999 and it still kicking and alive with updated driver in Windows Vista. I bet this scanner will still kicking in Windows 7 and more :) .
  • 1 Hide
    dzmcm , May 20, 2008 2:40 PM
    I'm confused. Is this not the exact same card they've been selling for years? WTF does pci-e matter? It's still a POS creative product with the same people releasing the same crapware drivers...or am I missing something?
  • 1 Hide
    DXRick , May 20, 2008 7:40 PM
    You aren't missing anything! :ange: 

    The only way they can make people buy new cards is to cripple the drivers for the older ones. The sound card technology has reached maturity. Why do they charge $50 more for the PCIe version of the same card? :heink: 
  • 2 Hide
    christian summer , May 21, 2008 11:53 PM
    i dont quite get this article...i come to the tom sites to read news, not sensationalized press releases without any real substance...what else can creative do to make their cards seem relevant when sound technology has been pretty much tapped for a while...

    the whole crystallizer bs is exactly that...and it was introduced with the first round of x-fi cards (i have one and have that software)...but guess what you cant create details where details dont exist, and if all you are doing is adding high frequency harmonics above the 16khz range to try to replace the frequencies lost during mp3 encoding...all you are actually doing is adding distortion...

    basically its like watching csi and seeing the detectives zoom in accurately on a license plate 1 mile down the road pictured from a web cam 20 stories up...you cant create detail where it is not there...

    -c
  • 0 Hide
    modtech , October 5, 2008 10:15 PM
    The sound card market is in absolute chaos. We need to boycott creative and convince game developers to stop bullshitting with creative's proprietary crap and use a fair sound framework that utilities today's powerful CPUs.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 11, 2008 11:24 PM
    u can use onboard card if u have vista, no use to buy 100£$€ card for it, vista dosnt/cant/will never support any kind of 3D HARDWARE sounds

    what im currently trying to find out is if windows 7 kernel is gonna be able to do 3D or not, if not, well another useless pice of cit to me