Get quality sound from X-Fi

By Koushik Saha on 8.3.08

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When the original X-Fi came out it was the first major new architectural change for Creative and for sound cards in years. It really was a great day for gamers and music lovers. The X-Fi offered so many improvements over the Audigy series, it wasn’t funny, new EAX, new Crystallizer, new driver model, new black PCB. I mean, I still laughed, but that was about the XRAM. There were also major improvements in the architecture too, including a nearly flawless sample-rate conversion engine, and seemingly limitless processing power. It blew the DAC’s off the Audigy series, hands down.

A case in point is today’s specimen, the X-Fi PCIe XtremeAudio. Creative showed this X-Fi at last years’ CES (that's 2006) sporting the PCI Express. The delays from then until now, about 12 months, were officially acknowledged as ’technical’ issues relating to the PCI Express bus itself.

And it’s their most inexpensive X-Fi.This X-Fi also has the same basic set of features that you’ll find in all other X-Fi’s, namely the 24-bit, 96KHz record and playback, the Crystalizer, 7.1 surround sound, and the CMSS3D. It just strikes me a bit odd that Creative would rev the APU and not make such a big deal about it. At least stick PCIe on their top of the line Fatal1ty boards?

Perhaps there’s something wrong with it? Well, don't let the skillfully androgynous chick on the box fool you. Let’s read on and find out what's really under the, er, hood.

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