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X-Fi I/O Bay Titanium Now Available from Auzentech

Discussion in 'News' started by malware, Jun 21, 2009.

  1. hat

    hat Enthusiast

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    No, graphics aren't always distracting. I'd rather play BF2 with BF2 graphics than with Super Mario graphics, and with BF2 sound rather than Super Mario sound. However, I've played both Doom 3 and BF2 with EAX on and all it seems to do, at least in my opinion, is produce echoes. In BF2 it does almost nothing. The only time I remember actually hearing EAX is when I was in this 3-walled building in Wake Island and I heard some echoing when someone fired a gun. It's not about distractions, it's about a crappy implementation of an already crappy technology. Anyone remember playing BF2142 on snow maps (like Shuhia Taiba) with advanced lighting effects on? One word: GLARE. I assume it was using either Bloom or HDR, which is great, but poorly implemented in BF2142 on the snow maps.
     
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  2. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    Agreed - add to that list FEAR, FEAR 2, Thief: Deadly Shadows (or any of the Thief series) . . .


    when EAX is developed alongside the game itself, it adds a level of polish that just isn't capable when you slap EAX support on after-the-fact.




    Aureal started that whole mess, claiming that Creative were using technology that they owned . . .

    After the ensuing battles (which Aureal couldn't afford to pay out for), Creative simply purchase and acquired Aureal (includeing A3D). A3D, in Creative's hands, laid the foundation for EAX 1.0 and subsequently EAX 2.0. Everything beyond that point has been solely Creative's development.


    This is the blatantly ignorant type of opinion that drives me insane (no offense towards you Kain) . . .

    For starters, Creative makes decent quality sound cards - you have to remember, considering how vast their market is, it wouldn't benefit them to use uber-high quality PCB components. Can you imagine how expensive their mainstream cards would be if they used the best DACs, ADCs and OPAMPs available? It's not like ASUS or Auzen who can do such, because their market segment is so small.

    Comparitively, look at the difference in price between an Elite Pro, and the Fatal1ty cards . . . that's near a $100-$150 price difference . . . and the major difference between the cards themself is the PCB components. The EP uses much higher quality DACs, OPAMPs MOSFETs, VRMs, etc.

    So, they sacrfice a little quality to keep prices competitive - besides, the average user wouldn't notice the differences is actual quality anyhow; most users don't even have the equipment to hear the difference.


    Secondly - the APU/DSP arguement has no difference on actual sound quality . . . that only determines how much of a work load the card can handle . . . what does make a difference is the DACs, OPAMPs, capcitors, VRMs and other various PCB components that directly affect the output channels, the filtering and amplification.

    Comparitively, the music playback can also be limited to the actual compression codec itself . . . for example, a poor-quality .mp3 would sound better with lower quality PCB components, than the same track would sound with higher quality PCB components. The higher quality card would make the shortcomings of the compression much more prevailant . . . hence, why the other manufacturers target their cards at the audiphile and enthusiast segments . . . the users who prefer to run higher quality entertainment . . . not this ipod tripe.

    Where the X-Fis pull ahead, though, is in sheer performance . . . they can easily handle excessive workloads without breaking a sweat, and are fast as hell at processing, too . . . hence why the majority of the X-Fi lineup are targeted at gamers . . .


    As to surround implimentation . . . after hearing the soultions from a few other companies, nothing compares to CMSS-3D (sadly). Creative's audio positioning implimentation is superb . . . and again, the reason why is due to how many software voices the X-Fi APU can support . . . well over 60k, whereas the C-Media chipsets can't even touch half of that number. The more software voices available, the better the final processing and positioning will be.



    EAX is far more than just poorly implimented echoes . . . again, I stress the fact that in games where audio is poorly developed - that is how it comes across (hence the poor opinion most users have of EAX) . . .

    If you play a game where the audio has been developed properly, EAX adds ten-fold to the immersion levels, and it doesn't come across like a bunch of "echo" effects. But, the problem being, game developers overlook audio, or are too effin lazy to properly impliment it.

    Take, for example again, FEAR/2 . . . environments "sound" much closer to how you would expect them to . . . compared to Doom3 where EAX 4.0 was patched in after the fact - where many rooms just don't sound right.
     
  3. hat

    hat Enthusiast

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    In my eyes, Creative sucks because they screwed all the audigy users over in Vista. I've seen it myself when I was running vista with this Audigy 2. Suddenly I couldn't choose stereo surround in the Creative Control Panel anymore. When I installed the drivers modded by daniel_k, it magically reappeared. Then Creative put thier foot down on daniel_k for disrupting thier little scheme (which was trying to force audigy users to upgrade to x-fi).

    Now I realize that businesses exist to make money, but Creative royally screwed a lot of people over and pissed a lot of people off, espically when they killed off daniel_k's effort to help out the Audigy users.
     
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  4. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    dont forget many of the features that still dont work without modded drivers. some dont even get digital passthrough for SPDIF yet.
     
  5. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    although it was great what daniel_k was doing for the community - he screwed up by one, asking for donations to continue support and devlopment (in essence, asking for money for his work); and two, enabling features that were disabled for whatever reason for both Audigy and X-Fi cards.

    In regards to the X-Fi cards, there was no point - especially with the DDL/DDS support. As it stands, Creative were working on enabling those features anyhow . . . sometimes manufacturer's will disable feature with driver until they can finish fixing issues - it's easier than realsing a driver were something doesn't work right, then dealing with the ensuing support questions that arise. Keep in mind that audio hardware is some of the hardest hardware to configure properly - it's been a headache of a process for both manufacturer and user since the days of the Sound Blaster 2.1.

    In regards to the Audigy, however - I can't exactly blame Creative for disabling some features for the new OS.

    Considering that audio hardware stays in service lnger than any other piece of equipment, there's no other way to force users to upgrade than to simply disable features. C'mon - there are still people out ther using Live! cards, and don't intend to upgrade . . . they don't see the point as long as the card continues to function correctly, and this series is OVER 10 years old now . . . meanwhile, how many times has the average user upgraded their CPU, PSU, motherboard, GPU, DRAM, HDD and countless other pieces of equipment? 10 years ago, we were barely pushing 20-40GB HDDs, our CPUs were still running in MHz - GPUs can equipped with less than 128MB of RAM, were running on PCI slots, and the "GPU" as we know it was still in development.

    The Audigy lineup is almost 10 years old at this point, and (quite frankly) is out-dated. It's, IMHO, antique audio hardware . . . much like it would be if you were running an ATI RAGE Pro card.

    But, the average user doesn't see that point of the arguement . . . they've upgraded everything else to keep up with software and OS development, but continue to use ancient audio hardware . . . why? Because there hasn't been much in the way of audio development.

    Sure, new features have come out - software now supports multi-channel better than it did 10 years ago . . . APUs are blazing fast at handling numerous audio channels, calls and streams . . . DRAM support is capable on modern audio equipment (which can take some stress off the SYS itself) . . . but, we still don't have software that truly takes advantage of all these new features . . . developers don't care, and users don't care. Developers won't even consider implimentation if the user doesn't take note of the features, why waste the time?

    Simply put - I truly don't believe anyone running and audio card with a APU/DSP older than the CA201K or CMI8878 has ANY right to bitch and complain when features available on their cards are removed from the drivers on a NEW OS. Your card has lived a valiant life . . . it's time to retire it with honor like you have various other PC equipment.
     
  6. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    on the DDlive and such, no, creative werent. an auzentech X-fi card was released with it working, and people got curious why that card had features no creative card did - it was modded and found to be working, and working well on creative.

    What did they do? release a new card with it, and make you PAY for the software to activate it on the cards. just like they charged audigy users to get EAX, and so on.
     
  7. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    that may possibly be the case . . . but we can't be sure - we, the general public, have no idea wht was entailed with the Dolby licensing between Dolby, Creative and Auzentech. It's quite possible that Creative didn't have permission from Dolby to release these features for the early PCI bound X-Fi cards . . . whereas Auzentech had such permission.

    Simply because a manufacturer doesn't support 3rd party solutions, where one of their competitors who use their hardware do, doesn't mean said company is authorized to allow support.

    Take for example, ATI and PhysX . . . it's been proven the HD4000 series can support the API, but ATI doesn't exactly have permission to impliment it (although, they don't exactly want to, either, due to their involvement with Havok).
     
  8. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    licensing is possible. no one can argue that - but charging people for what essentially is drivers, is very bad practice and creative have done that more than once.

    the ATI and physX thing... personally i think that may have been a hoax. while a few screenshots were posted, when peopel came asking for more details nothing was given. there are posts there about updates "coming soon" and such, but nothing ever surfaced after that first report.
     
  9. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    but, technically . . . ALchemy wasn't a driver set . . . it was a software implimentation.

    Although, I do agree it was in VERY bad taste to charge Audigy/Vista users for ALchemy (hence why I was supportive of Audigy users gaining access for "free" - I had a legitimate link and the Audigy pack that I would give out to people occasionally) . . .

    IDK, I can see where they might have been using that funding for development, and the beginning push to get Audigy users into newer hardware (considering that EOS for Audigy was quickly approaching) . . . but I can't say for sure . . . either way, I still don't believe they should've been charged for it . . .

    Now, the Dolby licensing and software that users have to pay for . . . I can agree with that, as not everyone uses it, or has a need to, and the cost probably covers the licensing fees.

    True . . . I don't exactly recall all too well . . . I didn't pay much attention to the whole fiasco . . .
     
  10. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    The moment ALchemy became free, Creative offered to refund anyone who bought it.

    Creative's hardware is capable of more than what is there when it's made. Each time Creative comes up with something new in terms of features on the software side, rebranding the same hardware with an updated feature-set isn't really illegitimate. Real money went into developing those features, it holds the right to do what it wants, to profit from it. You paid for the 'older' sound card and its feature-set. Using modded drivers is no different from piracy. This said, I'm against Creative not delivering on the promised feature-set, and creating new SKUs to do that. The two don't exactly contradict each-other.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2009
  11. hat

    hat Enthusiast

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    And who's fault is that? I still have my Audigy 2 ZS... I can't see myself ever getting rid of it until I buy a motherboard with onboard sound that suprasses this in quality.
     
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  12. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    the realtek in my media PC is just as good as my audigy 4, better in vista and 7 since the softwares much improved (only thing missing is 5.1 upmixer for MP3's, but the modded X-fi MB software fixes that). Onboard audio is starting to catch up.
     
  13. 15th Warlock

    15th Warlock

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    Back to topic:

    Dunno if anyone asked this before, but to quote the press release:

    Does anyone know which specific Creative cards support this I/O Drive?

    Thanks :cool:
     
  14. hat

    hat Enthusiast

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    My old DFI LanParty UT 590SLI had this realtek audio card thing that came with it. I tried it and went straight back to my Audigy 2 ZS. I would try the onboard audio on this board but it's only got one speaker output and I have a 5.1 speaker set (which needs 3 outputs).
     
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  15. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    depends on one's definition of "quality"

    If we're looking simply at specs, and actual output quality and clarity, there has yet to be an onboard solution that comes anywhere near close to touching 90% of the Audigy lineup - today's modern cards are ages ahead of onboard solutions.

    Which means, that if you intend to keep the Audigy until onboard solutions can equal that card . . . you'll be waiting another 10 years.

    Hence, my point, that the average audio card stays in service years longer than any other hardware component . . . and if the manufacturers can't come up with ways to move users onto new hardware, where is most of their funding for development of new hardware, profit, paying their employees, marketing, etc. going to come from?

    Again, the majority of users simply think that as long as the audio card continues to play, they have no need for new hardware . . .

    If we had more software that continued to push for higher "baselines: of what's required, you'd see more people willing to upgrade on a regular basis - much like how more modern games help push users to upgrade their video cards, and keep the GPU manufacturers at work as well.

    But, we don't have anything like that in regards to audio - there has been an increasing trend towards "home entertainment" PCs, which has helped fuel the SNR battlefield, and the push to include HQ features such as Dolby, optical connections, quality PCB components . . . but it hasn't helped fuel the development of new and innovative audio products.

    As well, this stagnation of development has even taken it's toll on the HD-Audio competition . . . how many people realize that 32bit/192kHz DACs have been available for almost 3 years now, yet every new audio card to hit shelves is still pushing 24b/192kHz . . . as well, 10.1 channel native DACs have been availalbe, too and no one has jumped on those yet (although, there has been some movement towards 8.1).

    Where's the development of 256 hardware voices? We've been stuck at 128 for almost 10 years now . . . why no push here? Because software developers barely make use of the curretn 128 our modern hardware supports . . . again, no technological development, simply stagnation . . .



    The Titaniums . . .

    well, TBH, any 3rd gen X-Fi that actually has the Azalia/AC97 10-pin front panel header . . . this includes all the Titanium cards, as well as the newer Xtreme Audio (PCI and PCIe), and Xtreme Gamer cards, and I think the newest Elite Pro revision (although, I'm not 100% definite on this).

    I've heard as well that the next revision PCI Fatal1ty cards might . . . but I truly don't see Creative revising this PCB for the 4th time . . . not with the Titanitum Fatal1ty on the market.
     
  16. Scrizz

    Scrizz

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    that was a good read
     
  17. laszlo

    laszlo

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    a good read but a big waste of time... all camps has right and is similar to ati vs nvidia debates...nobody win
     
  18. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    Sorry Mussels, and no offense intended by this, but if your on-board in your HTPC sounds as good as your Audigy 4, you either have an absolutely terrible home theatre setup, are half deaf, don't know how to properly set up an audio system, are playing content with shitty compression/quality, have a poor ear for sound quality, or any mix of all of the above.

    Even my Audigy 2ZS blows ALL current on-board solutions out of the water in terms of audio quality, PERIOD. No exceptions whatsoever.
     
  19. Sihastru

    Sihastru

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    I can say the AD1200 (on Asus boards) sounds very well and also the ALC 888D (on my Gigabyte) sounds also ok when configured for 24bit/192KHz output (in the case of the Realtek I do get occasional clipping and clicks so they still have a little tweaking to do in the drivers). But I can only compare them to the poor man's Creative, the Live! 7.1 24bit card.

    I only listen in 2.1 configurations with my Altec Lansing ATP3 and my MDR-CD380 phones (mostly FLACs, some high bit rate MP3s). Don't confuse me with a snobby audiophile. I use computers. And don't confuse Creative sound cards with audiophile-grade equipment.

    But you know what, the Creative Live! 24bit 7.1 (rebranded as Audigy LS, then rebranded as X-Fi Extreme Music PCI) doesn't come close to my Cowon D2.

    Different people look for different things when it comes to audio quality. What sounds good for some, sounds terrible for others and vice-versa. Some look for low warm base at low volumes, some look for punchy not-defined base at high volumes. Some care mostly about mid-tones, others have a real sensitivity for the high-band. There's no way you can please all of them with a "one solution for all".

    Not to mention that in this area, everyone plays favorites. It's just like Intel vs. AMD. It doesn't matter how well something might sound, if it's not expensive and doesn't offer the OPAMPS from your favorite firm then it's rubbish. I've been on audiophile forums. It's funny over there.
     
  20. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    ADI solutions sound better than most . . . but in terms of actual speced quality are crap - the audio guide in my sig shows some testing I had performed with an ADI solution, and how it compares to real sound cards . . .


    Very true, audio quality is more subjective than visual IQ . . . but, as well, you can have the most 1337 audio card in the world, and it'll still sound like pure tripe when it's playing back through some $15 POS speakers.

    Another wonderfully true statement . . .

    Thankfully, around this board, the vast majority of us audiophiles are much more relaxed and open-minded . . . none of us are "gung-ho" for any specific brand or model, and usually are willing to recomend a brand to someone based more on their needs or what they'll be using it for, more-so than brand loyalty.

    We do still have the Creative bashers, though . . . and I've come to the conclusion a long time ago that usually their viewpoints are unfounded or blown out of proportion . . .

    thankfully, the Creative bashing is very minimal here at TPU - cause it truly just degrades a community, IMHO.
     
  21. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    Audio quality is not subjective at all. It's very objective. It's measurable in accuracy. Whether you like that sound or not is the only thing that is subjective. That's a personal preference however, and unrelated to output quality. That preference can generally be adjusted with various DSPs, shitty quality cannot.
     
  22. caleb

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    I will never buy anything from creative. A friend of mine bought a Zen 8GB that was about 200e. He broke the LCD screen in it so I contacted Creative RMA for him asking how much would a replacement screen cost.

    The reply was :
    Ok I understand that LCD damage could be out of repair>newdevice price equasion but this means that every product thats out of warranty period (or at least Zen is) getting damaged in any way is "damaged beyond repair" for creative.
     
  23. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    well, that's kinda what I had meant . . . we can spec the hardware and do software (and hardware) testing to determine the actual output quality . . . but that doesn't necessarily mean most users will "hear" that quality . . .



    So, just curious . . . how can you be against Creative for a response like that?

    Hardware warranties don't cover accidental damage - especially with LCD displays. You'll find even with LCD monitors, manufacturers don't cover user damage to the displays . . . only if there is a defect in the materials or hardware itself.

    So, when one manages to damage their product, you've technically voided the warranty - a manufacturer doesn't have to cover it.

    That's like, if you took a video card, for example, and jam a VGA connector into a DVI port, then get pissy with the manufacturer because they won't warranty it.
     
  24. mikek75

    mikek75 New Member

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    Yeah, but he didn't ask them to do it for free, he asked how much a replacement screen would cost. Many manufacturers have authorised service centres, and these days of us all being encouraged to be environmentally aware it makes sense to repair instead of replace an otherwise serviceable item.
     
  25. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    But why should a company have to be entitled to repair an item such as that? Remember that in the warranty agreements for all manufacturers, items that are covered under warranty will either be replaced or repair . . . at the manufacturer's discretion. Keep in mind as well that in today's age, 90% of all RMAed items are simply replaced . . . the companies very, very, very rarely actually perform repairs anymore.

    Besides, why should any company be obligated to repair an item that's no longer covered by warranty, even if the customer is willing to pay for the repair, when they're probably inundated with more RMAed items than they can reasonably handle?

    In regards to said LCD display - Creative doesn't manufacture the LCD, and I'm sure that their RMA department doesn't simply carry extras laying around. Again, the trend with most companies now is to replace, not repair . . .

    Now, it's quite possible one could pull the LCD from the unit, determine the P/N, then google it and see if you can find a replaceable unit (or something that would work) online . . .
     

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