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Creative X-fi Value or rip off?

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Dfour, Sep 22, 2005.

?
  1. Yes

    4 vote(s)
    15.4%
  2. No

    13 vote(s)
    50.0%
  3. dont know

    9 vote(s)
    34.6%
  1. Dfour

    Dfour
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    I was looking forward to getting a new xfi card especially the gaming card as it was the first sound card trully aimed at gaming :D

    Then I saw the price of it and balked :eek: Over £250!! :mad:

    I could get a powerful athlon or maybe a dual chip or a top range graphic card, both of which will make a marked difference to my gaming experience much more than a sound card.

    I will just buy a audigy 2 ZS oem or second hand from someone with deeper pockets than me.
     
  2. Rich-UK

    Rich-UK
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    It's new technology, you'll pay a premuim to have it early.

    I wouldn't have one at that price.
     
  3. DanH

    DanH
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    The cheapest X-Fi card at around £100 is the same as all the others, except it doesnt have on board RAM and you dont get a breakout box for it. Of the reviews ive read, the onboard RAM has no impact on games at the moment, although it "may" do in the future, at the moment its more helpfull for audio editing. Everything else is the same IIRC, including support for the latest versions of EAX etc, so unless you really need a breakout box, its well worth a look for gaming.
     
  4. HSC

    HSC
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    I am really interested in this too - but the fact you need a version with the breakout box (starting from £150) to get an S/PDIF output really annoys me....

    plus i hear a lot of reports about Spdif problems in the older cards as well - so no reason to belive this one is better....

    why cant hardware manufactures follow software examples and offer "trials" versions before you decide to buy....? (£££)
     
  5. Pbryanw

    Pbryanw
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    I thought the cheapest X-fi card had spdif out, only it was called FlexiJack which performs a 3-in-1 function - Digital Out / Line In / Microphone - via a 3.50 mm minijack. The function needed being configured through software :confused:
     
  6. cmspodwy

    cmspodwy
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    Hi all, I have purchased the X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS system for £180 from overclockers.co.uk but I haven't had to much time to fully test it yet for my games.
    During the setup I noticed that when going through analogue connection mode you can setup all sorts of surround options but through digital you only get 2.1 or headphones. I set up digital 2.1 anyway, installed and then used the system option to set to 5.1 mode. Thing is everytime I do a speaker test the rear speakers come through the front speakers. Looks like for me to have surround through digital (coax/optical and flexijack to miniDIN tried) I need to turn on Dolby Pro Logic on my amp which isn't ideal. If I pass a dolby digital signal through SP/DIF from a dvd (using powerdvd) then dolby digital works perfect.

    Just can't understand why creatives software won't use surround through a digital connection and have a feeling this will hurt my games. the only alternative appears to be to upgrade my surround (currently a cambridge soundworks DTT3500) to a newer modle which has anologue front, rear and sub inputs.

    Here are the responses I got from creative support:

    Take note the flexi jack on the X-Fi soundcard is different from the
    digital out jack of the Audigy2 ZS soundcard..

    If you connect speakers to your sound card using a digital cable
    (RCA/SPDIF or optical) then the software speaker test (analog) will only
    output from two speakers.The reason for this is that the speaker test
    signal is not in AC3 nor DTS format.
    The signal on a digital connection is either
    Optical SPDIF - which is either Stereo PCM signal or AC-3/DTS Bitstream
    RCA SPDIF - which is either Stereo PCM signal or AC-3/DTS Bitstream
    If you play AC3 (Dolby Digital) or DTS encoded signals, the amplifier
    decodes this and outputs it to all 6 speakers (5 satellites & subwoofer)
    discretely.
    When playing back stereo signals (such as Wav/CD Audio or MP3/WMA files)
    the amplifier may generate 5.1 output based on the incoming stereo PCM
    signal, provided Dolby Pro Logic decoding is available and activated.
    Therefore the speaker test should not be relied on when using RCA or
    Optical digital connections.
    This applies to all speaker systems equipped with RCA or Optical digital
    connections.


    and

    Digital signal travel through the tip of the cable..
    Usually it will always in stereo PCM form... It depend on the source of
    the signal...
    It will not output 5.1 signal if the source is a stereo signal unless
    you had done some upmixing....

    From the previous response *"Take note the flexi jack on the X-Fi
    soundcard
    is different from the digital out jack of the Audigy2 ZS soundcard."* -
    this is not true.

    Actually it is partially true, the flexi jack is not a 4pole mini-jack
    connector...
    Thus it will not work similiar to audigy2 ZS digital out which is able
    to fully utilize digital DIN capabilities...

    Though you may still connect to X-Fi soundcard, it will just act like
    normal connection eg. mini-jack to RCA cable...
    As long you have set the decoder to decode the signal properly and the
    soundcard to passthrough the signal, you should not have any problem
    playing the DVD movies..
     
  7. stlic

    stlic
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    cmspodwy it's well known that Creative do not produce a PCI card that can encode DolbyDigital from 5.1 analogue; commonly termed DDLive!. What this means is that the spdif output will give you surround when passing through a pure DD or DTS soundtrack from a DVD for example. With games you are limited to 2 channel PCM(or 2.1 as they would term it) through the spdif connection.

    Your right in that to get 5.1 in games you would need a analogue amplifier or speakers that had discrete analogue inputs. Creative actually produce an external DTS encoder now which outputs a DTS signal from discrete analogue inputs http://www.soundblaster.com/products/hometheaterconnect/. Not sure about any noticible lag although they say it's instant. Also kinda pointless to go from digital to analogue to digital when ideally it could all be done digitally.

    EDIT: As far as the budget X-Fi goes my understanding was that the Flexijack was limited to either/or. Meaning either you can use it as a mic/line input or spdif in/out. No personal experience and online reviews are mixed.
     
  8. cmspodwy

    cmspodwy
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    Stlic, thanks for the reply man.

    As I have the Fatal1ty card that comes with the coax/optical outputs shouldn't I be able to use that to send 5.1 audio from a game to each speaker?


    Can someone tell then why Creative would continue to pursue this three point analogue method of creating a digital output for games rather than just going through a coax/optical signal point connector? What are the benefits?
     
  9. russraff

    russraff
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    I think that the analogue outputs are only supported as Creative would like you to buy a set of their Gigaworks speakers, too. I seem to remember that you could not input digitally into these speakers?? Could be wrong, mind.

    Russell
     
  10. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    You are aware, I take it, that DD is a lossy compression method? If you compress a 5.1 signal to DD and then decompress it again, you end up with something that sounds considerably worse than it did to begin with. And that's before you start to worry about things like time-lag between on-screen action and the accompanying sound effect.

    Suppose you had the opportunity to take a CD track and play it through the sound card analogue outputs, or to convert the CD track into an MP3 file, and feed that out digitally, which would you prefer to do? Chances are that the original CD track on the sound card would sound better than the MP3 version on any kind of external player, no matter how good.

    The principle is the same.

    And you can't feed a 5.1-channel digital signal out with no compression, because S/PDIF doesn't have enough bandwidth to take it, and (for that reason) there is no established signal standard.

    It would potentially be possible to feed an uncompressed signal out via firewire or HDMI, but there are no receivers capable of decoding it, so why bother?
     

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