Software Better Organized!
We criticized the software bundle supplied by Creative with its sound card because there was so much software and drivers that it was hard to find the item you needed. It was real detective work tracking it down. The good news is that there is a clear improvement in the new Creative bundle. Although there's still a lot of software, a simple mouse click on the "Go" button opens a window containing a "Programs" tab that leads you to the programs and a "Settings" tab that allows you to choose between the various models of settings. A great idea!
Under this tab there are all the well-known elements such as the mixing table (which appears to be unchanged) and the choice of loudspeaker configuration (which now offers the choice of 7.1 but seems to be similar to the previous version). With the card controller functions, you leave familiar territory because the "Decoder" tab is now labeled Dolby Digital EX and DTS ES. The introduction of DTS (whether ES or not) is certainly the most significant contribution because it was the most obvious lack in the previous versions.
On this subject, we should recall that Creative has still not supplied a software DVD driver. This means you need to go out and get one (the most popular are Power DVD or WinDVD). This software does not handle decoding of multichannel sound (it needs to be configured in SP/DIF mode) but it acts as a driver for the Creative card. So you don't need to choose a high-level version that will decode the latest movie standards, it's merely used as a player.