Creative X-Fi: A New World of Sound

Test System And Audio Measurements

Our test configuration remains the same, and is plenty powerful enough for an X-Fi card. Note, however, that you have to make sure your PC's power supply is sufficient: if it's a little weak or of poor quality, it can cause problems operating cards equipped with racks, which draw extra power. We ran into this problem during a test on a consumer-level machine that already had various equipment added; the power supply wouldn't allow a normal boot-up.

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ProcessorPentium 4 2.4 GHz
Memory1 GB of DDR
Graphics cardNVIDIA GeForce Ti4200
Hard disk80 GB, 7200 RPM
Optical driveDVD LG16/48X
OSWindows XP Pro SP2
Direct X version9.0c
SpeakersCreative Gigaworks S750, Logitech Z2200
Video playbackPower DVD, Win DVD
MeasurementsRight Mark Audio Analyzer 5.4, Right Mark 3DSound 1.24, DAAS audio measurement system, Neutrik 3337 audio measurement system

All of our measurements were made on the X-Fi Elite Pro model. As mentioned previously, the differences in performance between this model and the others have to do with the quality of the Analog/Digital and Digital/Analog converters. The table below shows the typical performance levels of the different models of X-Fi cards. You'll note that the major difference was with record/playback, where we jumped from a signal-to-noise ratio of 112 dB for the Elite Pro to 98 dB for the other cards. With playback, the difference was less significant, since only one converter (D/A) is involved. As we said earlier, the input on the PCI card is the one that offered the best performance, so that's the one we used.

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ModelHeader Cell - Column 1 X-Fi Elite ProOthers
Digital PlaybackFrequency ResponseLo -1dB <10 HzHi -1dB 46kHzLo -1dB <10 HzHi -1dB 45kHz
Row 1 - Cell 0 CrosstalkL-R: -112 dBR-L: -112dBL-R: -105 dBR-L: -105dB
Row 2 - Cell 0 Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR)116 dB109 dB
Row 3 - Cell 0 Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise (THD+N)0.00%0.00%
Line-IN / Line-OUTRecord & PlaybackFrequency ResponseLo -1dB < 10 HzHi -1dB 45 kHzLo -1dB ~17 HzHi -1dB 42 KHz
Row 5 - Cell 0 CrosstalkL-R: -106 dBR-L: -106 dBL-R: -86 dBR-L: -86 dB
Row 6 - Cell 0 Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR)112 dB98 dB
Row 7 - Cell 0 Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise (THD+N)0.00%0.00%