Creative's X-Fi: A New Age in Sound Card Power?


For many, PC sound card technologies have topped out. Devices previously in the high-end - and expensive - category can now be had for less than $20 while a sound enthusiast card today offers nothing less than 24 bit, 96 kHz technology at reasonable price. The commoditization of sound cards might make you think that there is anything much new and exiting around the corner as vendors only largely differentiate themselves by lowering prices. Think again: leading multimedia sound card vendor Creative has designed a sound card that sets a new level of sound card performance.

Already, Creative has gone where most have not yet dared to go by packing its cards with DSP (digital signal processing) horsepower, which, however, has remained limited in power and has a maximum sampling frequency of 48 kHz. But now, Creative offers something completely different.

More Powerful Than A PC

Called X-Fi, the new audio processor is completely different from everything known, not only in terms of processing power, but above all in terms of architecture. X-Fi uses what is called an Active Modal Architecture (AMA), allowing the user to choose among three application modes: games, leisure and creation. Its calculating power (X-Fi has a power of 10,340 MIPS, which is more powerful than a 3.6 GHz P4 processor, which has 10,224 MIPS) is then optimized for the chosen type of use.