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Thread: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Elite Pro

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    HEXUS webmaster Steve's Avatar
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    Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Elite Pro

    Creative has been going strong since the days of ISA sound cards because its family of audio products moves with the times. This is reflected well in the new four-strong range of X-Fi cards of which the leader is the Sound Blaster X-Fi Elite Pro under review. The X-Fi cards span a price range from about £100 to £250, offering enthusiasts add-in alternatives to the on-board audio that is common in many of today's PCs.
    http://lifestyle.hexus.net/content/item.php?item=3580
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    Senior Member Tobeman's Avatar
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    You appear to have persuaded me to go for this over the Fatal1ty, as with my Cambridge Soundworks DTT-3500 Digital speakers it has a coolio desktop I/O dolby digital decoder console (though no-where near as fandagled as this). Damn you

    Damn good review though, I think thats how a review should be for a product like this, at the end of the day your not interested on statistics, you just want to know how much of an improvement it is over your previous setup. Nice work on the comparison with the AC'97 I've always wondered what difference onboard audio makes to a dedicated card.

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    I want Elite Pro. From what I've gathered, it is the only gaming card that is actually good for music too. But at £250, it is simply too much. If I can get it for under £200, I'll snatch it.. even though it is still expensive.

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    I've wanted the Elite Pro ever since I saw the preview in Tom's Hardware. Your review only made me want it more. Still, £250 is very steep, as TooNice said. I wonder how long it will take for the price to fall a little.

    On a related note, does anyone know whether Creative plan to bring this out in PCI Express format? If I ever go for an SLI setup, I'll have 1 PCI slot left, which I need for my video capture card.

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    Why is the review no longer their? It wont access the page for me and it isnt showing up in reviews.

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    Umm, I just tried, and it works..

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    The Irish Drunk! neonplanet40's Avatar
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    Yea its working for me now too. wouldnt work earlier though

    Neo
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    Link has been down for me all day, I'll check back laters.
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    Minimum requirements: Windows XP SP2... that sucks Typical of Creative to not support those with "older" systems!

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    Strange that you chose Half-Life 2 to test CMSS-3DHeadphone. It's widely known that game does all its sound processing in software.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SourceQuench
    Minimum requirements: Windows XP SP2... that sucks Typical of Creative to not support those with "older" systems!
    *checks Creative website*

    It's true. They don't offer driver downloads for anything other than WinXP and they specifically specify SP2 if I pick the general WinXP category. I suppose that you can probably install the SP2 drivers under SP1 or (I hope) Win2k, but that's a large minus point for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by solosolo
    Strange that you chose Half-Life 2 to test CMSS-3DHeadphone. It's widely known that game does all its sound processing in software.
    If all the sound processing is done in software, does it include a 'virtual surround' headphone mode? (not looked closely at the game).

    I'll go out on a limb and say 'CMSS-3DHeadphone' is just creatives way of selling their HRTF.

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    Quote Originally Posted by <<ERROR>>
    On a related note, does anyone know whether Creative plan to bring this out in PCI Express format? If I ever go for an SLI setup, I'll have 1 PCI slot left, which I need for my video capture card.
    I read an article somewhere (that sounds authoratative doesn't it ) where Creative explained the PCI format.

    Apparently PCI actually has much lower latency than PCIe. Calls to the sound card were apparently less likely to cause bandwitdh problems as latency ones, so the slow up in your game etc is likely to be that rather than lack of bandwidth. The onboard memory happens to solve both if it's supported. But creative didn't want to go PCIe until they worked out a way around the latency.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel
    I read an article somewhere (that sounds authoratative doesn't it ) where Creative explained the PCI format.

    Apparently PCI actually has much lower latency than PCIe. Calls to the sound card were apparently less likely to cause bandwitdh problems as latency ones, so the slow up in your game etc is likely to be that rather than lack of bandwidth. The onboard memory happens to solve both if it's supported. But creative didn't want to go PCIe until they worked out a way around the latency.
    The Creative Audigy series sufferes (amoungst a million other defects) from DMA transfer latency issues on many boards.

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    Quote Originally Posted by <<ERROR>>
    *checks Creative website*

    It's true. They don't offer driver downloads for anything other than WinXP and they specifically specify SP2 if I pick the general WinXP category. I suppose that you can probably install the SP2 drivers under SP1 or (I hope) Win2k, but that's a large minus point for me.
    I use 2k, so same here! I actually checked the WinXP installer - it contains a lot of files plus one or two interesting bits: a "Creative Driver Update Utility" and a folder named wdm/win2k_xp which I guess contains the actual drivers (PfModNT.sys is in there at least). So this might mean that you theoretically could install a Win2k driver. However the installer itself refuses to continue past the first page on a 2k system, which is just obviously limited to XP given the files inside it.
    Still, I am not prepared to spend >£150 on something based on this mere possibility!

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    Re: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Elite Pro

    Sorry if it offends anyone for bringing up such an old topic!!! Hopefully you see my point.

    I was thinking of some new Speakers and new Sound card. I tend to think of Creative Labs first, so I popped over to their website and looked at their top of the range offerings, I then as you do hunted for some reviews, to my shock I noticed that Creative Labs have slowed right down with development to almost a complete stand still.

    Almost every year since 2000 there had been a new Creative labs card, i.e. with the 100's of Live! versions and 100's of Audigy versions. But now they seem to be doing nothing exciting. The X-Fi is still their premium card over 2 years down the track. I also notice that their top of the range speaker system Gigaworks s750, which was reviewed in June 2004, is still their premium speaker product.

    All they've recently released is a few low cost stereo speakers and a cheapo PCIe card. They have pretty much dropped Cambridge Soundworks from their line of speaker products.

    Does anyone know what Creative Labs is up to? Are they enjoying too much of a monopolistic position?

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