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  Re: Creative Labs X-fi ups the ante, in price 
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varun rao Aug 09, 2005, 11:31am EDT Report Abuse
To be completely honest, I dont see what the big deal is. I'm not willing to shell out enough money to buy a new motherboard for sound that will be 'better' than the curren7 8 channel AC97's?.
As far as I'm concerned should it get any better, I wont notice. This is probably wasteful for home PC users... creative is bringing studio recording level audio power to ur desktop....... so?... do u star in a band?... do u have so much interest in music that u must have the best hardware?... do u have super hearing senses that allow you to pick the difference between high quality,,, and VERY high quality??.... are u willing to shell out another XXXX $ on good speakers that'll make the sound coming out of that card justifiable?... do u want to start a recording studio in ur room?....
Here I was expecting wireless transmitters,virtual sound, filters that would suit ur senses, and what not....
this is going nowhere.... creative should concentrate hard on their NOMADs and speakers...while the musically insane (I say this in a good way :D) will enjoy this release... if not practically definitely psychologically.
If u want a good audio system... then go get one ... get a MArantz,Yamaha,Sony,Grundig,Profx or something... this is not worth it IMHO.

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Dublin_Gunner Aug 09, 2005, 11:41am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Creative Labs X-fi ups the ante, in price
There is another thread on this already m8. But I totally agree with you. I record music at home, and my SBLive! does just fine, believe me. Also, m-audio have great cards with great break-out boxes that are far cheaper than that.

And as far as I'm aware, they're aiming that at the gaming market (correct me if I'm wrong)

I could not justify spending 300-400 on a sound card, you could get a great GPU or lots of top class ram for that price, now you tell me which would be more beneficial???? LMAO

I think they're taking the mick completely!

Lancool PC K62
Phenom II x3 @ 3.5Ghz
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jake Aug 09, 2005, 01:00pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Creative Labs X-fi ups the ante, in price
even if you do get one and it does live up to expectations, games wont be using the new codec (eax 5??) for a long time. just think how long it took for eax 3 and 4 to take off

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FordGT90Concept Aug 09, 2005, 01:28pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Creative Labs X-fi ups the ante, in price
Finally, audio performance is SNR is passing up speaker performance. All I can say is that I'm glad I didn't get an Audigy 4 Pro with my new system. I'll just wait to get an X-Fi.

And people, AC'97 or SB Live! don't exactly cut it for higher end speakers and audio enthusiasts. I can tell an obvious difference in quality between the SB Live! and SB Audigy 2 ZS on my Klipsch Pro Media Ultra 5.1 speakers. I'm sure there will probably be about an equal leap between those two and X-Fi.

If I remember what I forgot, I have not forgotten it.
john doe Aug 09, 2005, 01:41pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Creative Labs X-fi ups the ante, in price
when i bough an msi 875 chipset mainboard i packed up the audigy 1 I had been using prior to that with my p3 system as the integrated sound on that board was not only pretty damn good but supported 5.1.

i needed to unpack the audigy when the msi died and i bought another 875 mainboard that didnt have integrated audio and still continue to use it. to me, an audiophile and a gamer, theres not been much of a difference in the sound quality of either of the two but then again, i'm not a music pro or a recording artist - but these two were good for me. the audigy 1 even comes with an integrated firewire connector which yet again the new board lacks but was integrated in the msi

i've been thinking to make the move to an AMD X2 around christmas time at which time i'll be selling the current setup, audigy and all! A couple of things that stand out about creative sound cards: drivers are totally rotten - and price sucks - i mean, i would buy a $50-70 sound card fine - even if my board had integrated audio - just for the sake of the sound board doing all the processing in hardware and cut my poor old overworked cpu a break - but once price crosses the $100 line (and keeps going) i'd rather stay on the sidelines and watch as creative make suckers of yet another bunch of people

FordGT90Concept Aug 09, 2005, 01:56pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Creative Labs X-fi ups the ante, in price
I'd go for the $130 one but not the rest. The only reason why I'd get the higher end ones is because of the extended connectivity. At this point and time, I don't need anymore than just mic, center, left, and right so there would be no sense in getting it.

If I remember what I forgot, I have not forgotten it.
Dale Broadbent Aug 09, 2005, 03:29pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Creative Labs X-fi ups the ante, in price
Back in 1998 (? - I think) I bought a Sound Blaster Live! Platinum edition for over $200. I don't remember the exact price, but it was pretty expensive. Today, I am still using that same card and it has been a fabulous addition to all the PCs I've had over that period of time (around 5!). The other components have changed several times - the CPU, video card, MB, ram, and various other peripherals. But the SB Live! card has been in all of them.

I've been holding out for a long time, but I am looking forward to owning a new SB card this year... (rubbing hands together gleefully). I expect a $250 investment will go a long ways.

Beavis Khan Aug 09, 2005, 03:37pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Creative Labs X-fi ups the ante, in price
That's insane. Makes me want to hang on to my SoundStorm mobo a while these new cards even encode to DD?

"For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong."

- H.L. Mencken
Dave Purdy Aug 09, 2005, 03:40pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Creative Labs X-fi ups the ante, in price
I think it's great that Creative is continuing to make even better sound cards. There are real professional level cards out there priced in the $1000-$1800 range and up for people who want to make really good recordings, but I have an Audigy 2 and my whole music library in my computer. This is hooked up to a scratch built and designed system I have been continuously working on for many years. I also have a SB Live! card in another computer with network access to the same library. The Audigy 2 is noticeably wider in bandwidth, and sounds better than any system I have heard anywhere, even in high end audio stores, (who won't stock a really good system I guess).
You guys that think Creative is wasting their time just aren't into audio at all. The Audigy 2 has a -115 dbV noise floor, which is getting there. 24 bit audio has a 144 db dynamic range in case anyone hasn't noticed. The quiter it is, the less the "distortion". The overall distortion needs to be below .01% at any frequency from 10-30k which my speakers deliver, and so does the Audigy 2.


Justin Aug 09, 2005, 10:29pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Creative Labs X-fi ups the ante, in price
Well I started building customs oh about the time the AMD Athlon 500 was out, and i used onboard sound to start... it was good, then i used the SB Live card, it was very different from onboard, it sounded better. Ever sense then i have used a SB in every computer i have built. With a new soundcard i get better sound and more FPS, then with onboard, but that is what i like.

When the X-Fi comes out, i will buy one, for me its one of the best investments you can make buying a add-in sound card.

Adam Kolak Aug 09, 2005, 10:42pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Creative Labs X-fi ups the ante, in price
I have to agree that it is worth buying a soundcard even if its a cheap $30 one over onboard sound. I currently use a SB Live 5.1 (digital) card and it sounds better than onboard sound on my MSI board. But the big difference to me is the sound in games. In BF2 my onboard sound was crap, it would crackle and pop like that cereal, but with the SB live card i got, no crackling and poping at all. But i wish i had gotten a better sound card then the SB Live, and i have acctually been looking at the Audigy 2 ZS, which can be had for $71 on newegg, an excellent buy for anyone looking for excellent sound quality in a well priced card, and doesnt need that Audigy 2 ZS Platnium front panel drive bay ()with the extra audio connectors) gizmo thingy (all the soundgeeks know what im talking about).

If i did build systems for people this is what i would do for sound:
Systems less than $650: what ever onboard sound the mobo has
Systems between $650 and $900: SB Live! 24bit or maybe a Audigy 2 value if budget allows
Systems over $900: Audigy 2 ZS or better
All systems used for gaming: Audigy 2 ZS or better

Adam Kolak
Moderator, Hardware Analysis
DFI LP P35-T2RS | Xeon Quad @ 3.2Ghz | 4GB DDR2-1000 | 8800GT 512MB | See Profile
Gerritt Aug 09, 2005, 10:57pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Is Creative gone?
I've had all of the Creative Sound boards starting with the SoundBlaster.
I see where MBs are incorperating most if not all of the functionallity.
Starting with the Roland, and Turtle Beach offerings then moving on to SB (or sideways if you wish) has more to do with the bundled applications than the sample rates.
IF all I do is game, I don't need the additional applications.
I sometimes use the bundled MIDI and channel control applications, that are bundled, if I was to purchace them separately from the soundboard, would cost me 4-8x the cost of the SB itself.

So if I need to move from the Audigy2 to something "better", I'll take into concideration the bundled apps, not just the performance.

Just my two cents.

Ad Astra Per Aspera
(A rough road leads to the Stars)
We all know what we know, and everyone else knows we are wrong.
System Specifications in BIO
Sander Sassen Aug 10, 2005, 12:13am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Creative Labs X-fi ups the ante, in price
Well, to add to the points raised in the column let me comment that most of you are probably aware that Creative Labs has had a pretty bad trackrecord when it comes down to drivers and their compatibility across the board. They usually take a long time before these mature, which would be why I would not opt to buy this card right now. Price is another issue of course, as their pricing is just absurd, but as usual it should dip well below $129 in a few months time, when it shows up in the OEM channel and a simple driver kit, without the nonsense apps and other bloatware, is available.

The other thing I'm wondering about is why none of the other manufacturers push their products harder, Via's Envy24 audio processor for example equals an Audigy 2 at about 1/3 the price, yet very few soundcards are based on it. Furthermore, the DSP processing is nice, but for example Intel's HD audio doesn't consume as much system resources, CPU cycles and allocated memory, that it will have a noticeable influence on your overall system performance. Hence the need for a DSP is questionable, certainly with today's processors.

Sander Sassen
Editor in Chief - Hardware Analysis
Karl Carroll Aug 10, 2005, 12:15am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Creative Labs X-fi ups the ante, in price
I know a lot of people out there that will scoff at $200 for a sound card but as someone else mentioned that $200 sound card can go from computer to computer for several years providing increased fidelity, increased connectivity, and decreased loading on your system resources.

I love my Audigy 2 ZS Platinum. With it my computer has become the only system I have that is capable of playing back DVD-Audio, SA-CDs, 5.1 encoded Dolby Surround Music CDs, DVD Movies, and my entire collection of compressed audio with all it's many different codecs.

I'm not a professional musician but I do play guitar and piano and I guess maybe I have a more critical ear than some but with out a doubt I can hear the difference in the sound I get with my Logitech Z5500 5.1 speakers and what my roommate get's with the SBLive 5.1 I handed down to him when I picked up the Audigy. Unfortunately so can he and I'm sure he's hoping I get an X-Fi so he can get the Audigy. :-)

Conectivity and system resources is a much bigger factor than you might think. With the Platinums Live Drive II I have the ability to plug my guitar directly into my PC and record any new song idea on a moments notice. If a buddy comes over with his IPod it's simple to plug it in. I can easily connect to the MIDI ports (IN/OUT) and do SysEx dumps and sends to my Voodu Valve MIDI Pre-Amp and Behringer MIDI foot pedal. I use all these features and would have to buy something else to do this stuff if the Audigy didn't.

When I recently upgraded my old 2.8 P4 to an AMD 64 FX55 I tried an MSI K8N Neo4 SLI Platinum which comes with the Creative 8ch sound chip on board but it didn't have the connectivity and even with the Creative chip onboard it still used up more resources than the Audigy 2 does and didn't sound as good. I ended up having problems with the MSI board and took it back and got the ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe which uses the RealTek 850 and again the Audigy 2 is far superior.

Now I admit that not everyone needs the connectivity that I get with the Platinum version but you can get the regular Audigy 2 ZS for just less than a hundred and if the X-Fi is only $30 more then I don't see the problem with that. With the Audigy and the Z5500s my PC beats my old home stereo and rivals my newest Pioneer SX-1015TX THX surround system with Klipsch towers and 12" sub at lower volumes.

Maybe $600 for sound card and speakers sounds like too much money but I get every pennys worth of enjoyment out of it and I wouldn't hesitate to buy it all over again. Rock On! ;-)


Sean McPoland Aug 10, 2005, 12:51am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Creative Labs X-fi ups the ante, in price

everyone is bitchin' about the price, but NO one has actually heard the thing yet...

This discussion has taken on the mantle of "if it's pricey - it must not be worth it" - aka The bell-wire vrs expensive cable argument also on this site.

I for one will listen and either buy because it is good for audio, or ship my very expensive hifi system to where I am working now. Count the dollars!

I reckon everyone so far has taken this xFi out of context - this is no longer a piece of PC gaming audio stuff but a desire to get into the MEDIA market where people want to listen and hear quality sound from their "be-all-and-end-all" multimedia complex.

I expect to see these cards coming as standard in the near future in many 3rd party media systems to beat the DVD/TV/etc games.

The trouble is Creative don't know how to market in this arena - they are PC periferal manufacturers and simply market that way, PC games, computer (read mp3, wav etal) players, rather than as an AUDIOPHILE component.

I for one will listen before making judgement - as an audiophile should.

regards to all

PS I use SB 2ZS

Sean McPoland Aug 10, 2005, 12:57am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Creative Labs X-fi ups the ante, in price

<B>PS ... Does anyone know when it will be available</B>

Sean Costello Aug 10, 2005, 12:58am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Creative Labs X-fi ups the ante, in price
is a sound card really worth $100-$500??? i mean why not get surround sound headphones they soun alot better un less u have the speaker's volume up pretty high.

Story of My Life-
Xris Aug 10, 2005, 01:53am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Creative Labs X-fi ups the ante, in price
To me sound is just as important as graphics... if you have crappy sound, but great graphics, it's just a waste. People on here are so tight fisted when it comes to money. If any component in your computer costs under $150 (besides optical drive,) it's NOT the best. This card is for people who can afford it, and want the best sound to go with their graphics.

The really nice thing I found is the X-Fi cards handle all the audio which frees up CPU performance so it actually speeds up your computer during gaming. So not only do you get better sound, you get a performance enhancement. That sounds like a great deal to me.

If you're fine with your $30 sound card or onboard sound, and use little stereo speakers, NO this card is not for you. It's not designed for you. That's why Creative makes Value series cards for you. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that. Everyone chooses to invest their money differently, but don't go complaining when the best thing on the market's gonna cost more then you'd like to spend. The best cars in the world cost over a MILLION dollars. Are you gonna buy one? No most people are happy with their Chevy's or Fords. But company make things for people who want the absoute best.

P.S. I'd much rather spend $200 on a sound card than $1,000,000 on a car :-P

Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 @ 2.9Ghz
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Klipsch Promedia GMX 5.1
Gerritt Aug 10, 2005, 02:00am EDT Report Abuse
>> Encoding vs. Decoding
As has been mentioned by a couple of folks, some use thier sound interface to encode sound, not just play back pre-encoded game sounds.
If you mix, even at the enthusiest level, you'll find a great deal of gain in the SB AU2 over imbedded sound chips, and the new Creative offering is supposed to double the capabilities of the SB AU.
Using one of my systems for playback that has an onboard sound chipset I get a 10-15% frame rate detriment over the system that has the SB AU2 when playing the same benchmark.
I am using the SPDIF interface to my Sony 5.1 amp with 6 speakers connected, I also use the channel 1 output for a powered set of Atlec Lansing PC speakers. With the amp off or set to another input I can still get my computer sounds while still using another input on the amp. I also have two line ins used on the SB AU2 as well as a mic input (though my comp uses a USB mic and mic/headset).
I can get the same connectivity by buying two or three additional devices, if I'm using a onboard sound-chip, or use what I have in the add on card.
I've never paid more than $500 or less than $100 for a sound card, and given my druthers, I'd druther have a motherboard without sound, than one with.

Ad Astra Per Aspera
(A rough road leads to the Stars)
We all know what we know, and everyone else knows we are wrong.
System Specifications in BIO
Jonathan A Aug 10, 2005, 03:25am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Re: Creative Labs X-fi ups the ante, in price
I am planning on buying the X-Fi. I think the sound card is great. I really like the improvement in frame rates when playing games, the fact that you can rip songs directly to 24Bit 96KHz,EAX Advanced HD 5.0 and last the new CMSS 3D. I listen to music all the time so for me the sound card is worth the price.

AMD AM2 Dual Core 4600
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Leadtek 7600GT TDH
Creative X-Fi Extreme Music
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Michel Merlin Aug 10, 2005, 04:09am EDT Report Abuse
>> Measure Tests of CPU tolls by SB cards, Intel and Realtek chips?
Thanks to all for those interesting infos and views.

Creative did bring to the PC a huge improvement, a dozen years ago, with their early Sound Blaster cards. Now they are struggling to find another new thing... and find none.

The sound on PC seems pretty good now:

- the latest chips from Intel and Realtek included in most of the recent mother boards are now better than needed in regular systems, where they are never more a determining factor for the final quality of sound (this quality is often ignored simply because the speakers and connectors used are far below those chips);
- the speakers are nevertheless surprisingly good, some equal or even sometimes beat a set of good HiFi speakers.

The problems that remain IMO are mostly:

1) the CPU load, i.e. the amount of load the sound chip (or card) actually takes off the CPU (probably a small problem, however we still sometimes have cases where for instance a launch of sound+video will insert a small delay in some display or other task, so a complete set of precise tests would make things clearer);

2) the connectors' usability and reliability (it seems current connectors for sound in PCs were designed and chosen in an era when PC sound was poor; now they seem to deserve an improvement, in quality, reliability, convenience);

3) the reliability of the complete sound system integration (we still sometimes have cases where for instance a mouse move affects the sound; OSes "show" the sound performing, without checking/detecting the actual sound out of the speakers, which induces time losses from users; etc...).

Paris, Wed 10 Aug 2005 10:09:00 +0200

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