Creative Returns with SB X-Fi Titanium HD

Creative is set to launch an audio card sporting "audiophile grade" components and the E-MU 20K2 audio processor (aka the "X-Fi chip") possibly this year. The announcement came back in January during CES 2010, deemed as the first discrete audio card and USB digital audio system to include THX TruStudio PC audio technology. Since then, the card has been kept under wraps, however Creative's comeback soundcard isn't exactly vaporware, as a sample card is currently making its rounds.

For this PCIe card, Creative has ditched the polka-dotted cover seen with the Titanium Fatal1ty card with a tinted, slick version branding the Creative and THX logos. The device doesn't really look like a sound card until your rotate it around to see the gold-plated connections on the back: microphone input, headphone output, RCA output Left and Right, and RCA input Left (or Optical In) and Right (or Optical Out).

On a PCB level, Creative is no longer using electrolytic Jamicon and OST capacitors, but rather has moved on to use surface mount device (SMD) capacitors. By taking this route, Creative uses very few through-hole solder joints (that's a good thing--the less solder, the better). A hands-on preview noted that the X-Fi Titanium HD also has well-defined areas for its audio paths, however the design indicates that Creative initially planned to power the card via a 4-Pin Molex, but eventually ditched the idea.

"The Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD is powered by the second-generation Creative X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity audio processor for PCI Express slots," Creative said back in January. "The Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD combines captivating industrial design with audiophile grade Digital to Analog Converters (DACs) and components to produce a 122dB signal-to-noise ratio, the highest SNR ever produced by a Creative sound card. A replaceable Op-amp is also a distinguishing feature allowing users to customize audio output with coloration that is refined to their personal tastes."

Although the vanilla version of Creative's Sound Blaster Titanium HD is already on the market, the X-Fi version is slated to be priced at $99.99 USD, however no shipping date was specified. The pricing also seems a bit off, so stay tuned as Creative delivers official dates and pricing sometime soon.

  • dupaman
    Until they iron out all the glitches in their bloatware drivers and give me full as-advertised functionality in Win7 x64 with my X-Fi Plat (ie:without the random occasional channel mapping swaps, or intermittent crackles/popping sounds in previous OSes), Creative can go fuck themselves.
  • drutort
    I cant believe i need to run some hacked driver for the digital surround sound to work, it doesnt make sense, but I had to do that to finally get win7 to run with digital out and 5.1 its quite sad...

    and why are there drivers so bloated, its a sound card for crying out-loud...
  • warlordsagan
    Maybe creative could make a comeback and fix the shoddy drivers they've made the last 4 years.
  • Computer_Lots
    I'm surprised they're still in business. On-board audio has gotten so much better that there isn't really a big demand for discreet audio anymore except for audio recording and other big name companies like Lexicon make much better stuff than Creative.

    I remember when a PC build always consisted of a 3COM LAN card, US Robotics Modem and a Sound Blaster sound card of some kind. Now, all 3 of those companies have almost disappeared. Not to mention the S3 or Trident video cards that I used.
  • NivenFres
    The elimination of hardware acceleration through DirectSound starting in Vista didn't help their cause either. Unless the game uses OpenAL or their DirectX -> OpenAL translation driver (which doesn't work for all games anyway), you're not getting the benefit of having that much audio hardware.
  • peanutsrevenge
    Computer_LotsI remember when a PC build always consisted of a 3COM LAN card, US Robotics Modem and a Sound Blaster sound card of some kind. Now, all 3 of those companies have almost disappeared. Not to mention the S3 or Trident video cards that I used.
    You started to make me feel old, until I remember when I got my first sound card and Wolfenstein didn't have to use PC speaker!

    I do wonder how it went so wrong for Creative, I still believe in discrete sound cards for FAR better audio than onboard, but with all the driver issues, I CBA!
  • gwolfman
    What about DTS-HD and DD TrueHD support!?!
  • extremepcs
    Anyone else remember those POS all-in-one sound card/modem/CD-ROM controller cards? Wow those were FUN to configure under DOS and Win 3.11 :)
  • Shameless plug:

    Daniel_K's drivers bring new life to current and older Creative cards. (I still have my SB Audigy one of my older gaming rigs & it works beautifully with these drivers) I highly recommend them if you haven't tried them already. You can find his drivers via his posts on Creative's forums. Username: daniel_k

    Also, to completely uninstall Creative's bs drivers, I recommend a small utility called Nasty File Remover. Use it after you perform the normal uninstall & reboot.

  • I used to keep up with the latest Creative sound cards, but I haven't purchase one since I bought my old Audigy Platinum several years ago. The numerous connectors on the Live/Audigy Drive were useful for connecting external audio sources, headphones, or my MIDI keyboard. Now I just use the on-board Realtek's optical out with Dolby Digital Live and a USB MIDI adapter. Sure, I don't get EAX, but that doesn't bother me too much. EAX has been buggy since its inception anyway.