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Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio PCI Sound Card
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Average Customer Review:
( 65 customer reviews )
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
124 of 128 found the following review helpful:
Caveat emptor...Apr 09, 2007
By Christopher M. Hill
Despite being sold as an X-Fi card, this particular model does not use the X-Fi chipset. In fact it uses a variation of the Audigy 2 SE chipset. This is further confirmed by the fact that this card uses different drivers than the rest of the X-Fi line, and is not recognized as an X-Fi card in games. The main problem with this is you cannot uses any of the X-Fi features in games like you would expect. Try using this card in Battlefield 2142 and you will see what I mean.
Creative Labs should be ashamed of themselves for this blatant act of marketing fraud. When someone buys a Ferrari, they are expecting to get a Ferrari, not a Honda with a Ferrari emblem on the front. But that is exactly what Creative Labs has done here. They are marketing this sound card as a high-end brand (X-Fi) when it is really a crippled version of the previous product line (SE model Audigy). They must have a glut of unsold chips and they thought they could pull a fast one on consumers with this cheap card.
I for one will be very cautious before I consider purchasing Creative Labs products in the future. Buyer beware!
21 of 22 found the following review helpful:
This Card Gets a Bum RapJun 22, 2009
While Creative pulled a underhanded move with the naming of this card (X-Fi is a misnomer), this is a great card IF you know what you are getting.
There are two reasons to hate this card: Crappy drivers and gaming performance. As for the drivers, Creative is notoriously slack. However, I am running this card on Windows 7 with zero issues (use Creative's Win7 driver at their site, not the included disc). As for gaming performance, buy a different card! The internet has made smarter shoppers of us all. READ about what you order, and you won't be disappointed.
All of that said, this card is great for music. The reason a non-gamer would want a dedicated card is to take advantage of superior DAC chips and analog stages. In that regard, you're gonna be hard-pressed to find a better deal than the Xtreme Audio. The sound quality for music (my primary concern) is stellar as compared to all but the highest end motherboard solutions. If that's what you're after in a sound card, this is the one for you.
Oh, and I were you, I'd install just the driver. It includes the audio console and all of the necessary switches for X-Fi enhancements, speaker settings, etc. The other 500MB of stuff is mostly silly and redundant. That's just my opinion , though.
It's true that the X-Fi "enhancements" are processed using your cpu, and not via hardware chip. This would have sucked many years ago, but these days even $500 computers have 3.0ghz dual core processors. Personally, I don't make any use of the "enhancements" as I'm one of those jerk audiophile purists who likes an unmolested signal. It excels here, offering a dead-silent SNR (106, I believe, and it sounds like that claim isn't too far off the mark). Basically, it offers superior, clean sound free of the noise that most onboard sound is notorious for. The actual musical quality of the signal is better, too, owing to the superior audio hardware as compared to motherboards.
I haven't used the mic, which is another source of complaints. Basically, if you don't need X-Fi effects for games, don't do a lot of recording, and only have $50 (or less, on eBay) to dedicate to your tunes, you should get this card. If you KNOW what you are getting, you'll be very happy with it.
8 of 8 found the following review helpful:
Not a true X-Fi cardSep 21, 2007
As noted in a previous review, this card doesn't exactly belong in the X-Fi series (it is NOT the same as the Xtreme Music sound card). The odd thing is that I bought one of these off the same Amazon page from a non-Amazon seller and it is an X-Fi Xtreme Music card. Since I was looking for a sound card specifically with music creation capability in mind, the Amazon card is being returned. Thumbs down for Creative's marketing of this product. Moral: make sure you read the fine print!
5 of 5 found the following review helpful:
Where to Begin? Great Entry Level Gamer And Then SomeFeb 07, 2011
By R. T. Meisenholder
I am sick of the Xtreme Audio line of audio cards getting pummeled with asinine reviews that state this is not a real X-Fi. Getting a pat on the back for stating the obvious is getting nauseating. This card is a very good sound card that costs very little and when utilized with some savvy can be downright awesome.(More on that later) A few seconds of research would clarify that as far as X-Fi goes this card has no hardware chip that accelerates 3D audio and your CPU will be the driving force for up to EAX 4.0 support which is great anyway for a low price. With modern CPUs the real X-Fi chip is not even necessary anymore and games that support EAX 5.0 are rare. Rant over and on with the review. But wait aren't the DACs inferior to the real X-Fi cards that we pay more for? You pay less to get less. What a concept. Shame on Creative Labs.
Rather than go into all the various uses of the Xtreme Audio and my experience with all of them I will simply describe what I am currently having the most fun with and what I think others should embrace for such a low cost of experimentation. I am using 3 great low cost devices for what I think is great sound; the highs are crisp and the bass is tight and powerful with no audible distortion. The X-Fi Xtreme Audio, FiiO E5 headphone amp, and the Sennheiser HD 202 headphones together only cost about $100. With the help of the E5 and the wonderfully sensitive Sennheisers (115db) music is downright awesome. I've disabled CMSS and the 24 bit Crystalizer for both music and movie use. For games I enable CMSS 3D for an incredibly immersive gaming experience. Dragon Age Origins is really like living in a movie the way the reverb is so realistic that it sounds like you are there chatting with your party members.
11 of 13 found the following review helpful:
If only you could install the updatesMay 17, 2007
I got this my old sound card could not work on Vista, but although this is on the Vista list of compatible hardware you might as well use your motherboard sound than buy this card thinking it works on Vista.
Sure, you get a driver for Vista on the Creative site, but the software doesn't work! I am going back to xp and my turtle beach card and great software and donate my x-fi to the goodwill. Creative admits that the card is not Vista compatible ("if it doesn't say so on the box, it is not compatible"). All you get is sound, no mixer or console, and it will not work with recording software such as Total Recorder on Vista. And with their loopy update it won't install on xp.
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