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X-Fi Support Syndicate & Owner's Clubhouse

Discussion in 'techPowerUp! Club Forum' started by imperialreign, Sep 25, 2007.

  1. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    X-Fi Support Syndicate & Owner's Clubhouse

    This is an owner's club and support thread for owners of Creative's line of X-Fi desktop and notebook audio cards. This thread is intended for people to be able to try and resolve issues with any hardware (and possible software) problems they might be encountering with their X-Fi products, and general discussion regarding the X-Fi lineup of audio cards and 3rd party audio cards making use of the X-Fi audio processors.

    Please keep in mind that I am in no way trying to discourage anyone from buying a Creative X-Fi product!!! These truly are amazing sound cards, and you would honestly have to hear the difference to believe it. Plus, they are fairly priced, and readily available at any hardware outlet. Although it may seem that there are a lot of problems with these cards, the vast majority of users don't ever have any issues at all. There are just various quirks that one may possibly encounter, and I just wanted to try and bring as many issues and resolutions into one spot as possible because support information on these cards can be scarce.

    If you wish to join, just say so - I'll probably make up an ongoing member list.
    To join up, you must currently own (or have owned) a Creative X-Fi desktop or notebook audio card. Please state your X-Fi model or have it listed in you system specs when you ask for admittance.

    I've also made a fairly simple signature that you're more than willing to use, if you'd like. I might make a couple more later, I'm not all that sure, yet.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    PLEASE!! I'd like for this support thread to be fairly straightforward and easily accessible to not only TPU members, but for the general users just browsing the TPU forums. There are already way too many X-Fi related threads scattered across the internet that are stock full of tripe from either: a) the same question being asked over and over again, b) disgruntled users wanting to pitch a fit and complain about their product and lack of support, and c) thread-hijacks by users wanting to bash on either Creative or X-Fi owners . . . So - NO CRAP!! If you want to go bashing X-Fi owners, Creative's tech support (as difficult as they are to deal with), or just to whine and complain about your hardware with no real purpose or a genuine intent to find an answer - go register at another message board! It's difficult enough to find answers resolving hardware complaints without having to shovel through a sea of tripe.

    That being said, I will try to keep up a list of common and uncommon problems and their resolutions, along with posting up rare or odd problems and possible work arounds. Please, keep in mind that these audio cards are constantly evolving, and due to various differences between the audio cards, and individual user hardware and system configurations, any solution I may present to a certain issue may not fix your problem. I cannot give 100% guarantees with hardware resolutions concerning these audio cards, all I can do is present information that I and others have had success with. My intent is to provide a 'knowledge base' for help, in a manner where others can also be willing to help resolve issues if they can. I will update the list of resolutions as I come across them, too . . . I'm willing to try and help with software issues regarding Creative's software, but these issues can be even harder to fix for numerous reasons, and it is usually best to contact Creative's Technical Support regarding their software.

    I, nor any other member of this forum, shall be held liable for any damage done to, or any loss of warranty to, any of your hardware, X-Fi or otherwise, by following any posted solutions or advice in this thread!!! If you don't feel comfortable using any resolution or workaround to a problem you encounter, please seek the aide of a professional!

    Also, these lists are far from complete, and I will add to them as I have time, and as I run across other situations/solutions that aren't just a one time deal. If anyone would like to add something to the lists, or if you see something that needs to be corrected, please let me know (if you are offering a correction for the X-Fi audio card hardware, could you please provide a link to a reputable source for the information you provide).

    Foremost, to any aide that I can offer, there are a couple of major points that need to be emphisized:
    1. Make sure your motherboard's on-board audio is turned off, and the hardware drivers are removed (if possible)!!
    2. Make sure your Creative hardware drivers are as up to date as possible! If for some reason you can't use any updated drivers provided by Creative, just explain what the problem is - it's usually a hardware problem.
    3. Make sure your hardware drivers for the rest of your system are as up to date as possible! General hardware conflicts can arise with out of date drivers!

    The most common, re-occuring hardware complaints with the X-Fi's are usually resolved by one of the aforementioned items!!


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Update to thread: 03-11-09
    `added an image for the Auzentech X-Fi Home theater 7.1

    Update to thread: 07-18-08
    `added the Titanium series to the product list
    `added Auzentech cards to the product list
    `added some info on the new CA20K2 APU

    Update to thread: 05-12-08
    `edited some used terminology
    `added to the "Modding" section; cooling, front panel connectivity, PCB component upgrading, EMI/RFI shielding

    Update to thread: 04-02-08
    `added information describing the ring architecture
    `added diagram for ring architecture provided by btarunr
    `resized this update section so that it doesn't get out of hand!
    `reminded myself that I need to make some more updates this coming weekend!

    Update to thread: 30-01-08
    `added new siggie
    `concluded to add support for the Auzentech X-Fi Prelude 7.1 - I will add a section for that card soon

    Update to thread: 25-01-08
    `added description of ALcehmy driver operation by btarunr
    `added mention of 3rd party software for use with X-Fi remote by tigger69
    `anotated a possible issue with current beta drivers and UT3 by Batou1986

    Update to thread: 18-11-07
    `added audio quality section

    Update to thread: 10-11-07
    `added update section
    `added model section and model pics
    `added section dividers
    `adjusted section headlines


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



    The most current hardware drivers can be found at Creative's website - note that the Xtreme Audio cards use entirelly different driver packs than the rest of the X-Fi family. (Vista32 & Vista64 current version is 2.18.0008; XP32 & XP64 current version is 2.18.0008; XP MCE current version is *possibly* 2.18.0008 - see #13 below for further details concerning the update drivers and MCE):

    http://us.creative.com/support/downloads/


    ==================================================================

    Up-to-date driver version numbers:


    Windows XP / Vista drivers
    current XP version is: 2.18.0008
    *last driver update: December 17, 2008
    current Vista version is: 2.18.0008
    *last driver update: December 17, 2008


    Windows XP /Vista drivers for the X-Fi Titanium series -
    current XP version is 2.18.008
    current Vista version is 2.18.008


    Linux 32bit/64bit drivers
    current linux driver version is: 1.00
    *last driver update: November 6, 2008


    Linux 32bit/64bit drivers for the X-Fi Titanium series
    current linux driver version is: 1.00
    *last driver update: November 6, 2008


    X-Fi Xtreme Audio current driver number for both WIN XP and Vista: 1.3.02
    *last driver update: December 12, 2008

    ================================================================


    If your concern is related to sound playback with a game, please make sure you have the most current version of DirectX installed, and the most current version of OpenAL:

    DirectX version 9c - https://www.microsoft.com/downloads...38-db71-4c1b-bc6a-9b6652cd92a3&displaylang=en
    OpenAL 1.1 (version 2.0.3) - http://developer.creative.com/articles/article.asp?cat=1&sbcat=31&top=38&aid=46



    Attention Vista users: The X-Fi drivers for Windows Vista are still going through a lot of changes. New drivers are released for the Vista platform fairly regularly, so please try to keep up to date. Support for the Vista platform is continuing to improve, but I have no ability to aide in Vista related problems as I currently have no experience with this platform. Again, make sure your drivers are current. I will try to also include Vista related fixes here also. Hardware acceleration in Vista is disabled by the OS, although there are developmental drivers that attempt to work around this issue (these are constantly being updated, also):

    ALchemy software application (current version is 1.10.01) - http://www.soundblaster.com/alchemy/


    a very concise, to-the-point explanation of how the ALchemy software works around the hurdle of the OS Kernel to deliver multichannel support, provided by btarunr:



    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




    A Brief summary of X-Fi technologies and features:

    X-Fi audio processor:
    The X-Fi CA201K audio processor is manufactured on a 130nm process, is clocked at 400MHz and utilizes over 51 million transistors that are capable of producing over 10,000 MIPS (Million Instructions Per Second). In comparison, an AMD Athlon FX-57 is capable of producing 12,000 MIPS at 2.8GHz, and an Intel Pentium 4 Extreme Edition produces only 9,726 MIPS at 3.2GHz. The X-Fi audio processor features a SRC (Sample Rate Conversion) engine that is precise enough to be able to convert any audio resolution to any other audio resolution at near transparency with 136db SNR (Signal-to-Noise Ratio) THD+N (Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise) and digitally-matched recordings at rates from 44.1kHz to 96kHz. According to Creative's literature, the X-Fi audio processor is over 24 times more powerful than it's predecessor, the Audigy 2. For further reading regaring the capabilities of the X-Fi audio processor and how it's architecture works, visit: http://techreport.com/articles.x/8884


    The X-Fi CA20K2 audio processor appears to be designed off the same manufacturing process as the CA201K APU, with the only major notable change being that the CA20K2 is a native PCI-E processor . . . meaning it will not have to rely on a PCIE translation chip for BUS communications, which would severelly impact audio processing latencies. Little is known of this APU at the moment, more info will be added as it surfaces.



    CMSS-3D Virtual / CMSS-3D Headphone:
    Creates up to 8 virtual speakers in order to achieve a surround sound effect for gaming and entertainment purposes where surround sound speakers are not available. The X-Fi algorithms upmixes the source and places the sound in it's most natural position. Basically, the hardware can break down a 5.1 channel source, upmix it, and reproduce that source into a 2 channel feed in such a way that it still sounds like 5.1. The capability of the CMSS-3D technology is more noticeable with headsets and 2.1 audio, and becomes increasingly harder to notice as one move up to 7.1 speaker setups. For a slightly more in-depth description of how CMSS-3D works, visit: http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=177&type=expert&pid=6

    EAX 5.0 HD:
    Environmental Audio eXtensions v5.0 High Definition is an assortment of DSPs (Digital Signal Processing) audio presets that utilizes the audio card's hardware filters to produce highly realistic and immersive sound, enviornmental effects, improved audio positioning, and a improved cinematic sound in games. This feature is inteded to add to the realism and overall effect of gameplay. The EAX 5.0 HD standard brings even more features to the table than the 4.0 standard did, and allows for double the voice count over EAX 4.0. For further reading regarding the capabilities and features of the EAX 5.0 HD design, visit: http://soundblaster.com/eax/abouteax/

    X-RAM:
    *All Creative X-Fi cards have some amount of onboard memory. The amount of onboard memory varies based upon the card model and revision, with RAM allotments ranging from 2MB to 64MB. The audio processor needs a small amount of memory for storing the APU BIOS, buffering, sampling and playback, and the more memory, the more voices and audio files the APU can handle at a time. The upper-end X-Fi models, are advertised as having 64MB or X-RAM, which really only means that they have 64MB as compared to lower models that may only top out at 32MB.

    Found on the upper end cards, the X-RAM is 64MB of RAM native to the audio card, and dedicated soley for use by the X-Fi processor. In theory, the X-RAM would allow for improved gaming performance by unloading much of the audio memmory access from the system hardware and permitting the X-Fi to take over duties of moving audio files into and out of it's own onboard RAM. This would free up more space in the system RAM for use by the CPU, and transference of audio data would be minimized and audio files could also then be loaded and unloaded quicker by the audio processor. Although, only a handful of games currently support use of the X-RAM technology, and support by game developers has been slow to near non-existant. For further reading regarding how X-RAM works, visit: http://www.soundblaster.com/products/X-Fi/technology/x-ram/gamingXram.asp?page=3

    24bit Crystalizer:
    The 24bit Crystalizer is a processing innovation that is designed to enhance and restore lost information in the audio spectrum due to compression from an audio source, namely MP3s. The Crystalizer attempts to restore those sounds that are lost during compression to bring the MP3 audio sound back to or surpass it's original CDDA form. For gaming, the Crystalizer can bring not only a more crisp sound, but aslo enhance audio depth that can normally be lost through typical sound compression. Although the Crystalizer does, to some extent, do what it is advertised as being capable of, the actual validity of these claims has come under scrutiny. A rather interesting read regarding the Crystalizer technology, and what it's capabilities truly are, can be found here: http://www.digit-life.com/articles2/multimedia/creative-x-fi-part2.html

    Ring architecture:
    The X-Fi cards use an entirelly different architecture as compared to earlier Creative lineups and their competing cards. Whereas in a typical audio processing stream, components are arranged within a straight line. This type of architecture severelly limits both the number of audio voices that can be processed at a time, and also hampers the overall performance in regards to the amount of time it takes for that voice to be processed from source to playback. The X-Fi's make use of what Creative calls a "Ring BUS" architecture, where all processing components on the PCB BUS are arranged like that of a ring. Each component in the ring can pull the processed audio voice, manipulate it, and place it back into the ring for the next component to access. This design, in turn, allows for thousands of audio voices to be processed simultaneously, and to also be processed faster. If a component does not need to manipulate an audio voice, it never has to come into contact with the processed stream.

    btarunr has illustrated in a fairly easy to understand diagram how this architecture works:

    [​IMG]



    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




    Creative X-Fi Sound Blaster Models




    Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio PCI
    The Xtreme Audio is the cheapest of the X-Fi lineup as far as price in concerned. If you’re in the market for a simple audio adapter card, and music and videos is your thing, this would probably be the best choice. Not really recommended for serious gaming, considering this card is designed more for the home entertainment market, and lacks some of the gaming features and support that stand out on the other models. Features CMSS-3D, 24-bit Crystallizer.

    [​IMG]


    Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio PCI-Express
    This card offers the same features as the Xtreme Audio PCI, although it utilizes a PCI-E x1 interface. One of the few pieces of hardware on the market that make use of the PCI-E x1 slots so common on motherboards. This might be alright for mini-towers where space is a major concern, or anyone looking for a solution for a multi-GPU rig. Due to poor reviews, and potential problems with multi-GPU setups and mid-range motherboard chipsets, I honestly can’t recommend this card, yet.

    [​IMG]


    Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer PCI
    The Xtreme Gamer is targeted specifically at the gaming market, and also serves as a great card for video and audio playback, and audio “tweaking”. Not recommended if you’re looking for a card that can handle serious audio creation. This Xtreme Gamer features Creative’s CMSS-3D, support for EAX 5.0HD, and the 24-bit Crystallizer.

    [​IMG]


    Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Music PCI
    The Xtreme Music was targeted at audiophiles in general, and also has features catered towards the gaming enthusiast. This model was supposed to pick up where the Xtreme Gamer left off in the line-up, by offering better audio creation support. I believe this card, though, has been superceded by the X-Fi Platinum.

    [​IMG]


    Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum
    The X-Fi platinum is a package deal. It comes with the Xtreme Music PCI card, plus adds the X-Fi I/O Front Panel Drive and a X-Fi Remote Control. The Front Panel Drive utilizes a 5.25” drive bay, and allows for easy input and output jack access and adjustable volume control.

    [​IMG]


    Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer Fatal1ty Pro PCI
    The XGFP is the flagship of Creative’s line-up, boasting full-feature support in all 3 areas (gaming, entertainment, audio creation), and also bringing in 64MB of X-RAM, power indicator LEDs, I/O support, and more. This card is targeted at the audiophile, and those who are looking for the absolute best sound card solution. Until the Auzentechs were released, this was the definitive audio solution. Still capable of competing and surpassing the lower-end models offered by Auzentech, though, I personally recommend this card to anyone looking for the best solution possible, while still being on a budget.

    [​IMG]


    Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum Fatal1ty Champion
    This package includes the Xtreme Gamer Fatal1ty Pro PCI card, plus the I/O Front Panel Drive and remote.

    [​IMG]


    Sound Blaster X-Fi Elite Pro
    This package includes the flagship X-Fi card, plus the I/O Console and remote. The I/O console offers the same connect ability that the Front Panel Drive offers, but instead attaches to the back of the card and can be placed remotely. The I/O Console is targeted more at a home entertainment setup, in this respect. The Elite Pro sound card is the current highest audio playback quality card in the lineup, and is a completely different beast from the rest of the X-Fi models, right down to PCB components and component layout.

    [​IMG]



    Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional
    The most recent X-Fi branded card to enter the Sound Blaster line-up, the Titanium is a native PCIE x1 soundcard; being native PCIE, there is no additional audio processing latecny that would be introduced with a PCIE logic translation chip. The card boasts the same audio quality specifications as the Xtreme Gamer Fatal1ty cards, and improves upon that with the addition of an EMI shield. This card, though, drops support for the AUD_LINK to the X-Fi reciever from the PCI bracket, and instead adds optical (TOSLINK) support, as well as offering 5 analogue jacks instead of 4 (subwoofer is now a seperate channel). The Titanium is also the first X-Fi card that allows for Dolby encoding as well.

    [​IMG]



    Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional Champion
    This package option offers the X-Fi Titanium PCI-E x1 soundcard, and the new X-Fi Titanium Front Panel I/O bay drive. Of note, the new I/O bay drive will readily fit a 3.50" bay, and also includes an adapter to fit a 5.25" bay, allowing for better installation versatility as compared to the earlier X-Fi I/O bay drives. The new drive has seriously timmed down connectivity, though. The 3.50" drive itself offers headphone-out and microphone-in mini-jacks, a volume knob, and a mode selector knob (>correction?<); the 5.25" adapter adds two RCA line-outs to the drive.

    [​IMG]




    Non-Creative X-Fi equiped cards:



    Auzentech X-Fi Prelude 7.1
    Auzentech have made a name for themselves for selling extremelly high-quality audio cards that offer superior versatility and superior audio quality as well. Combined with excellent customer and technical service, Auzentech have cemented themselves within a niche in the audio card market. The Prelude is the first non-Creative owned audio card to carry Creative's hardware. The Prelude boasts the X-Fi CA201K APU, and brandishes the typical high-quality components that Auzentech have become known for. Amidst the upper-end DACs, ADC and OPAMPs, the Prelude even even boasts the ability for the user to swap OPAMPs as they see fit - giving the consumer a DIP socket instead of hard-soldering the OPAMPs to the PCB. These cards feature the audio processing performance that the X-Fi APU has become known for, and offer all the hardware features of Creative's cards. They also support Dolby decoding and encoding as well.

    [​IMG]



    Auzentech X-Fi Home Theater 7.1
    A new card still in the works from Auzentech, again featuring a X-Fi APU. The card will make use of a PCIEx1 slot (rumored to make use of the new CA20K2 native PCIE APU), and will offer HDMI 1.3 support. More information and an image will be added as they become available. This card is not yet on the market, scheduled for release early 2009.

    [​IMG]





    For owners who have the X-Fi remote found with the 5.25" bay front panel and the I/O Console, 3rd party software exists that offers better compatibility and functionality over Creative's bundled software:





    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




    Common Problems and possible resolutions



    Poor Audio Quality
    It goes without saying, but, if audio playback is poor quality, or not what you expected - keep in mind that your speaker setup has more to do with audio quality than the sound card does. You can have the best audio card in the world, but it can still sound like total butt running on a cheap set of lacklustre quality speakers. Same holds true for headsets. Some thoughts here:

    ~Built in monitor/keyboard speakers - are fine for browsing the net or dealing with anything else that only has poor quality encoded audio to begin with. But, if you intend to game or watch movies or anything else with good sound . . . you need to get a set of real speakers.

    ~Flat panel speakers - are alright, and even though the high end models can still sound very nice, they have a hard time producing very low tones and usually call for a subwoofer to produce any type of low tone at all. They're great if you care about having that sleek, professional look, but, in my own opionion - they still don't cut it when it comes to high audio quality.

    ~Cone speakers - everything from bookshelf speakers to satellite speakers, cone-based will give you the best audio quality possible. Being fully capable of rendering tones across the frequency range, there really is nothing comparable. Granted, a good setup will still require a subwoofer for that deep bass playback found in most movies and in modern music - but if keeping the neighbors awake with a subwoofer isn't your thing, cone speakers are still capable of enough bass to keep you happy. The biggest thing to look out for when choosing cone speakers, though, are the materials that are involved with their assembly. Cheap sets of cone speakers will still sound horrible, compared to high quality ones.

    If you have any questions concerning your audio playback, or how better to tell if your speakers really are the culprit of poor audio quality - either PM me or post a question in this thread.


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




    Snapping, Crackling, Popping
    This is the single most common problem with X-Fi cards, especially the early models. These sounds are various forms of audio clipping which occur when the X-FI sends a BUS data request to the slot controller, and that data request is not serviced in a timely manner. This in turn leads to gaps in the audio playback which can manifest itself in the form of snapping, crackling, popping, screeching, etc. This condition can also arise when the X-Fi's ability to access system memory is slowed down or interrupted. There are a few possible causes and quite a few different possible soultions to this issue:

    1.) nVidia nForce 4 chipsets, VGA adapters:
    These problems can possibly be cause by nVidia hardware present in the system, specifically, nForce 4 chipsets. Othertimes it can be cause by nVidia VGA adapters. This isn't to say that anyone who owns an nVidia VGA adapter or motherboard with an nForce 4 chipset will have these problems. If you own any such hardware and are experiencing problems; first, make sure your motherboards BIOS is as up-to-date as possible, and that any installed nVidia VGA BIOS is also up-to-date. It is possible that you have an early model X-Fi, and may want to inquire with Creative if they possess a solution for your card (meaning: if they can RMA it - the audio controllers on the later models don't seem to conflict with nVidia hardware as often). Aside from the above options, there aren't many supported solutions to for this condition, although one of the soultions listed below may help.

    2.) Pentium 4 processors:
    This is a somewhat uncommon problem, and I'm not sure why a Pentium 4 would cause this either, but I've run across a couple of complaints here and there that seem to justify this. It seems to be more of an issue with the lower end, slower clocked Pentium 4's and the P4 models that suport HyperThreading. Overclocking the CPU seems to resolve this issue. If you're not comfortable, or not willing to attempt to overclocking the CPU, check for motherboard updates first. Possibly turning off HyperThreading may help resolve the issue, also.

    3.) General hardare conflicts:
    Owners of high-end VGA adapters, high-end hard drives, and other high-end hardware may recieve this problem. If you think a high-end component installed in your system to be the cause, check for any motherboard BIOS updates for your system, any possible VGA BIOS updates, and check for any updated drivers for your hardware. If after updating any out-of-date hardware drivers you're still experiencing problems, other possible soultions are listed below.

    4.) Insufficient system memmory:
    Not enough RAM can also cause this problem, if you're currently only running 512KB of RAM, it would be a wise idea to go ahead and upgrade to at least 1GB of RAM anyhow. As always, check to make sure your motherboard BIOS and hardware drivers are up-to-date. If you're running 1GB or more, try closing out unecessary programs that may be running in the background, and any unecessary programs running in Windows taskbar. If the problem goes away, or doesn't happen as often as before, you might want to consider upgrading your system memmory.

    5.) Slow system memory:
    Installed RAM that is clocked too slow, or with too high of latencies can also be a cause. If hardware permits, install your RAM in Dual-Channel mode, as this allows for higher memory bandwidth and speed. Check to make sure your motherboards BIOS and hardware drivers are up-to-date. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can try to overclock your system memory some, lower the memory latencies, or increase the CPU BUS. It may be necessary to purchase new memory rated at a higher speed - especially if your current memory is running slower than the system BUS and cannot be clocked higher.

    6.) Insufficient audio processor cooling:
    Another possibility is that the X-Fi is becoming hot enough to start interfering with it’s ability to carry out commands. Again, make sure your motherboard BIOS and hardware drivers are up-to-date. You can estimate your audio processors temperature by hand while it’s in heavy use (when the problem is noticed). If you put your fingers on the audio processor and it feels very warm or hot to the touch, you’re probably in need of better cooling. If your X-Fi doesn’t have an installed heatsink, you can purchase a small northbridge cooler, and using thermal paste or thermal tape, install it onto the X-Fi processor. If your X-Fi came with a heatsink installed, you can attempt to lap the heatsink (although difficult to do as the factory heatsink is installed with thermal paste), or attempt to install a northbridge fan (also a bit difficult, but can be done).




    Other possible snapping, crackling, popping resolutions:

    7.) After updating the X-Fi drivers:
    If you experience audio clipping (or any other issue) after installing updated X-Fi drivers, this is usually a good sign that other hardware drivers are out-of-date, or your motherboard's BIOS is out-of-date, and that the X-Fi drivers were writting around certain hardware updates. Check for updates as necessary. If the problem still persists, it maybe due to other hardware issues. You can attempt some of the other resolutions I've posted here, but your best bet would probably be to contact Creative's Tech support first (in case there is an issue with the new drivers or otherwise).

    8.) In games:
    If audio clipping only happens in certain games, and not others, it's possible that the game is trying to load more audio samples than the audio processor can handle (especially possible if the game automatically detects audio hardware). Be sure you have the X-Fi processor set to "Game Mode" in the audio console, first. Also, check to make sure that your playback resolutions are set at 44.1kHz. If playback rates are already set at 44kHz, and if the game has an audio option menu, try adjusting the number of audio channels if possible. If this isn't possible, you might need to do some research on the game and determine if there are any command line audio options or not. If the game employs a "command console" where you can directly change the games behaviour (i.e. Doom3, Quake4), console commands might exist that would allow you change the games audio setup.

    9.) Adjusting the PCI slot clock speed:
    Some motherboards automatically set the PCI slot clock speed based upon the CPU clock speeds. This can lead to problems with certain hardware not functioning properly. If your motherboard BIOS supports adjusting the PCI clock frequencies, you should first set the clock at the PCI native 33.3MHz. If the problem still persists, you can attempt to increase the PCI clock speed. Be careful to not raise the PCI clock speed to high, as you could potentially damage your hardware. Also of note, if your BIOS does support changing the PCI clock, but does not list a clock speed for each individual PCI slot, and changes to the clock speed in BIOS will affect all installed PCI hardware. Be careful.

    10.) Adjusting the PCI latency:
    Some motherboards will automatically set the PCI slot latency timer for each piece of installed hardware. Raising the PCI latency timer for the X-Fi can resolve audio clipping issues. If your motherboard supports adjusting the PCI latency timing, try raising it in increments and re-checking to see if the problem goes away. Some motherboards support changing the latency of each individual slot, and others only offer an adjustment that affects all PCI slots. If you raise your latency timings too high, other PCI devices that require frequent access to the PCI BUS could potentially lose data and cause the system to become unstable. Be careful.

    11.) Manually setting the X-Fi IRQ:
    Be warned that changing a device IRQ to an incorrect or conflicting setting could lead to either the device not functioning properly in Windows, or lead to entire system instability. Considering newer hardware and how device resources are implemented and controlled in Windows XP, it’s rare to have an IRQ conflict between devices.
    If a hardware resource conflict arises after installing new hardware, make sure that the drivers for the new hardware are up to date, first. You can also try to un-install and then re-install the hardware drivers. You may also need to un-install the new hardware drivers, and the X-Fi drivers, and attempt a re-install from there. Yet another option is to un-install the new hardware drivers and the X-Fi drivers, then change what PCI slots they are installed into, then re-install the drivers.
    There are a couple of methods for going about changing a device’s interrupt request. To start with, you’ll need to actually see what IRQ’s are assigned to what devices in Windows, and see what IRQ’s are available. Go to Start>Settings>Control Panel>System, click on the ‘Hardware’ tab, and then click on the “Device Manager” button to open Windows Device Manager. In Device Manager, open the ‘View’ menu, and select “View Resources by Type”, and then expand the ‘Interrupt Request (IRQ)’ tree. Find the listing for your X-Fi, and make sure that it is the only device assigned to one specific IRQ. If so, any audio issues are 95% probably not because of the devices IRQ assignment. Although, it isn’t unusual for more than one device to be sharring an IRQ channel, certain devices (i.e. the X-Fi) function better when not sharring this resource.
    Note: If you can change the PCI slot IRQ in BIOS, and the changes aren’t reflected in Windows Device Manger, you may have to manually change the IRQ settings within Windows itself – you will have to be logged into Windows as an Administrator or Owner to do so.
    If there is another device sharring the same IRQ, or a potential conflict, or you just want to set it anyways, make sure the device is not currently in use. Right click on the device listing and open up ‘Properties’ then click on the ‘Resources’ tab. If possible, de-select the “Use Automatic Settings” checkbox, and then select the resource you want to change, the device IRQ (you may have to change the ‘Settings Based On:’ box to a different basic setting to make any changes), and click on the “Change Setting” button. In the new window that opens, use the scroll arrows to set the device IRQ and make sure you set it to a value not currently in use by another device (as in, a number either not listed in Device Manager, or one that is listed as ‘not currently in use’)!!
    If you can’t make any changes to the X-Fi IRQ resource, and the device IRQ is conflicting with another device, you can attempt to change the conflicting device instead. The idea is to try and free up the specific IRQ channel for only the X-Fi card.
    After changing the device IRQ, you MAY have to change various other resources (I/O Range, DMA, etc.) to enable the device to continue to function properly – I’m not going to get into the various wonders involved with correctly doing this and troubleshooting those changes, if you wish to experiment, feel free to . . . but heed the warning I posted at the beginning of this thread!
    If you don’t have access to changing the device(s) IRQ, there isn’t much further you can go with this . . . one option is to uninstall the devices from Windows, re-boot, and hope Windows allocates the IRQ channels a little better. You can swap the components from one PCI slot to the next. Your next option is to change the OS HAL from ACPI to Standard (NOT RECOMMENDED!), which will require a re-install of Windows, or just attempt to do a clean Windows install by itself. If you do re-install Windows, upon initial boot up, follow the information I posted about a clean install of Windows.

    12.) Hardware Acceleration disabled
    Disabling Hardware acceleration can also cause audio clipping in certain programs. Make sure your hardware drivers are up to date, and if you are encountering problems with a specific game, make sure the game is patched to the most current version. Also, ensure that you are running the most current version of DirectX and OpenAL. To the best of my knowledge, audio hardware acceleration is disabled in Windows Vista (could a Vista/X-Fi owner please verify this for me?). In Windows XP, verify that hardware acceleration is enabled by going to Start>Settings>Control Panel>Sounds and Audio Devices; under 'Speaker Settings,' click "Advanced," in the new window that pops up, click the 'Performance' tab, and make sure the hardware acceleration slider is all the way to the right. If for some reason, the slider keeps being set all the way back to the left, there may be a hardware conflict, see below. In some programs, full acceleration has been known to cause audio clipping also, you may need to move the slider to the left one notch, if that proves unsuccessful, try two. Very rarely will turning off audio acceleration cure an audio clipping concern. You may also need to attempt to lower the playback quality in the same 'Performance' tab, and verify that playback resolution is set to 44kHz within the X-Fi Audio Console.

    13.) Incorrect driver version for installed OS
    If you notice various audio clipping or other odd issues after installing the update driver from Creative's website, or after updates from Windows/Microsoft Update have been installed, and if you are currently running Windows Media Center Edition 2004/2005, there is a possibility that the most current driver version, 2.09.0007, will not function correctly, leading to various issues, including audio clipping, loss of EAX and hardware acceleration, non-functional CMSS-3D (either won't work at all, or will produce audio clipping), and possibly other issues. Note: it is possible to have this driver installed on a MCE OS without your knowledge, as it is offered through Windows/Microsoft Update. It is listed under the hardware section, and you may have to go to MS Update, uncheck it and hide it so that there is no chance that it will be installed. Your best bet would be to just stick with the audio drivers supplied on the instalation CD. If you did install the updated drivers, rolling back the drivers in Windows Device Manager won't necessarily fix the condition, either - it will call for a clean install of the X-Fi drivers, see below for the procedure. If I notice an update has been posted by Creative specifically for MCE, I will post it in this thread.


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



    No EAX, OpenAL, or hardware acceleration

    Some users may experience a lack of hardware accelaration with the X-Fi, which will also disable EAX and OpenAL compatibility on the card. Hardware acceleration can be verified by use of the DirectX Diagnostic tool (which is installed to the Windows/System/ folder, DxDiag.exe), or by going to Start>Settings>Control Panel>Sounds and Audio Devices - under 'Speaker Settings' click "advanced," click the 'Performance' tab, and verify the hardware acceleration slider is all the way to the right. To the best of my knowledge, Windows Vista does not support audio hardware accelration (could a Vista/X-Fi owner pleasy verify this for me?). First, make sure that your hardware drivers and motherboard BIOS are up to date. Also make sure that the most current version of DirectX and OpenAL are installed.

    1.) USB hardware conflict
    I still don't understand why this can be a cause of disabled hardware acceleration, I think it has something to do with the X-Fi's ability to interface with X-Fi USB devices, not 100% sure . . . In some instances, having a USB peripheral plugged in can disable the X-Fi's hardware acceleration capabilities, EAX functions, and/or OpenAL support. Certain products have been more well known at causing this condition, most specifically certain brands of gaming keyboards and optical mice. Certain brands of USB webcams can cause issues, also. Note, for this condition to occur, the device does not necessarilly have to be turned on, nor have drivers installed; just the fact of having the USB device plugged in can disable hardware acceleration. This is kind of a process of elimination if you suspect a USB device to be the cause (especially if the condition starts to occur after new USB hardware upgrades). First, remove all USB devices (if you're currently using a USB keyboard or mouse, you'll need to attach a PS2 or other non-USB peripheral) and boot the computer, then check if hardware acceleration is enabled and stays enabled. If so, power down, install one USB device, reboot and recheck. Keep repeating until you have no hardware acceleration after attaching a device. To fix this issue, first check if there are any updated drivers for your USB component. If you are currently up-to-date, you will need to remove the device drivers, and unplug the device. Then completely remove the X-Fi drivers {{{{remember to add how}}}}. Re-connect and re-install your USB device drivers, and then re-install the X-Fi drivers. If this doesn't fix the problem, unless you don't mind leaving the device unplugged when not in use, you may need to contact Creative's Tech Support for further assistance.

    2.)



    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



    Audio static or other anomolies
    If you experience what sounds like faint static, a whirring or whining type of noise that changes frequency and pitch, and isn't always loud enough to drown out the audio sample itself, it's possible that the X-Fi is picking up some form of electronic noise or radio noise, which for pure simplicity's sake I will refer to here as EMI.
    Certain components (and especially older ones) can generate electronic noise that highly sensitive audio equipment can pick up on and which will manifest itself as some form of white noise over audio playback.
    Also, some of the X-Fi audio clipping issues can sound very similar to EMI, if after attempting various soultions for the audio clipping issue without success, there could be an EMI issues instead.

    Possible internal sources:
    *A high powered, faulty or failing PSU - it's possible that a cheaply engineered and manufactured high-powered PSU can produce EMI. It's also possible for any PSU to produce EMI if it has become faulty or starting to fail. If possible, swap PSU's and if the noise is no longer present, you've found your culprit.
    *VGA adapters - some VGA adapters have been known to produce a small amount of EMI, most likely with cheaply built units, or high-powered ones. Try to install the X-Fi in a slot furthest away from your VGA adapter, if the noise either sounds noticeably reduced or goes away, the VGA adapter is to blame. Either replace the unit, or contact the hardware manufacturer for a possible RMA.
    *Wi-Fi adapters and routers - simply because of the very nature of their design. These devices operate by producing a certain RF signal which in and of itself is a form of EMI. These devices are more likely to potentially interfere with the X-Fi itself, or nearby speaker wire. Although the possibly of EMI is more prominent with cheaply made units, even reputable units could potentially cause problems. If you are using a PCI wireless adapter, attempt to install it and the X-Fi as far away from each other as possible. With speaker wire, either but shielded cable, or attempt to route wires away from these devices. If your Wi-Fi adapter makes use of an antenna and is attached to an expansion slot card by means of a cable, attempt to place the antenna as far away from the PC case as possible.
    *Other system hardware; CPU, motherboard components, DC brush motor fans, HDDs - although at the bottom of the list, that doesn't mean they are to be ignored. Certain hardware components can produce enough EMI to be noticeable. High-clocked CPUs due to their higher operating frequencies. Specific motherboard components, usually the Northbridge chipset or Southbridge chipset. DC brush operated fans, especially cheaper units - the brush design generates a magnetic field as the motor operates. For the most part, cheaply manufactured components tend to be more of a problem. Attempt to install the X-Fi into a slot furthest away from suspected components

    Outside EMI sources:
    *Appliances - most home appliances can generate significant EMI, microwaves, blenders, refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, dryers, dish washers, garbage disposals . . . specifically, any appliance that utilizes some form of high powered motor to operate. If your PC is relatively close to a suspected appliance, attempt to set the PC up else where. If the EMI goes away, then you know the appliance was to blame. Also, if an appliance is generating enough EMI to be picked up inside the case by the X-Fi, that EMI signal could potentially be interfering with other components.
    *Automobiles - why you would have a PC within a very short distance of a running automobile I couldn't imagine . . . but, newer automobiles generate massive amounts of EMI, especially motors that use some form of electronic fuel injection. The ignition coils under the hood of an automobile are capable of generating voltages anywhere between 10,000 - 80,000+ volts. These extreme operating voltages can generate an EMI signal that even the most impervious appliances could pick up on.
    *Neighboring sources - if you live next to a power plant, a transformer park, broadcasting tower, sewage pump station, etc. you could be picking up EMI from these utilities. Not all that much you can do here . . . maybe you can try petitioning your local city/county to relocate their public utilities . . . or you can move further away . . . maybe mod an old 3' refrigerator to ecase your PC, but that will present cooling concerns . . . unless the refrigerator still works :D

    Possible fixes for external EMI:
    *Shield the system by use of the case - In it's basic form, the PC case in itself will act as an EMI ground, but can only do so when fully enclosed. Make sure the side panels are installed.
    *By use of an antenna - this will look odd, though . . . go to an automotive junkyard or parts store, and find a vehicle antenna that is shielded (it will look like it has a wire wound around the antenna, usually under a black coating). Find a bolt or nut that fits the antenna's fastener from a hardware store, then drill a hole in the top of the case and install the antenna.
    *By use of shielded cable - if you don't want to bork your case's good looks with an antenna, buy some shielded cable from a local electronics store (shielded speaker cable is alright), then string the cable along the inside of the case. It works best if you can use one continuous length of cable, running along the corners of the case - from the top to the motherboard side panel to the front panel to the bottom, etc. You can use tape or whatever suits you to attach the cable to the case itself. At the very end of the cable, expose the wires from the insulation, and attach them to the case by use of an already installed case screw (loosen the screw, wrap the wire around it and tighten - only one end of the cable need be grounded).



    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Modding

    Keep in mind that any direct physical modification to the hardware that is intended to, or does, change or alter the way in which the hardware was initially designed to operate will completely void any warranties. That being said, proceede with any modifications to the card at your own risk.


    Cooling
    Considering the power that the CA20K1 APU is capable of, cooling should be a primary concern. Most newer revision X-Fi cards come with a heatsink atop the APU, which is a good start. If your X-Fi does not have a heatsink on the APU, I fully recommend installing one! Not only will you prolong the life of the APU and further extend the life of the capcitors, the card will process better, and should lead to a very slight increase in audio quality.

    For the APU, and decent chipset 40mmx40mm heatsink will do, preferably of the kind that uses thermal tape to affix it. There are no mounting holes near the APU for the kinds of heatsinks that use a "solid" mount. I also recommend using a copper heatsink over aluminum, as copper provides better EMI/RFI shielding qualities. Another decent recommendation, after making sure the heat sink is firmly attached, would be to install a 40mmx40mm fan as well.

    Other PCB components I recommend adding a heat sink to: the DAC, ADC, OPAMPs, DRAM modules, and mosfets

    For other PCB components, you can use mosfet style passive heat sinks (they're very tiny squares), and for the DRAM modules, you can use DRAM style passive heat sinks.


    Front Panel Connectivity

    Although not really modding, I thought I'd include it here. Unless you have a newer revision card which actually makes use of an AC97/Azalia style 10-pin terminal, you'll have to jump a couple of hurdles to have front panel support.

    For starters, the X-Fi does have a front panel out connector, but it's proprietary and doesn't interface easily with other connectors . . . plus, information as to what each individual pin on the terminal goes to has been scarce. Thankfully, the X-Fi makes use of the same connector and pinout as the older Auidgy cards do.

    The initial legwork has been already been taken care of by another user a long while back, and the information on how to add basic connectivity support for the Audigy cards can be found here: http://audigy2zshowto.blogspot.com/

    To make use of the proprietary connector on the X-Fi without having to do some extensive soldering/modding, you'll need to purchase the following components from Digi-Key:
    455-1127-1-ND - crimp style female wire terminals to fit the proprietary 10-pin connector
    WM2522-ND - 10-pin AC97/Azalia style terminal header(if you want to make an "adapter" style cable similar to the one in the link above)
    WM2515-ND - crimp style male wire terminals to fit the AC97/Azalia style terminal header (if you want to make an "adapter" style cable similar to the one in the link above)
    455-1151-ND - 10-pin proprietary style connector to fit the 10-pin header on the X-Fi


    This is the pinout legend for the 10-pin proprietary connector:

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

    1 - Analog ground
    2 - Left out
    3 - Audio backpanel mute (grounded with headphone jack plugged in - I think this is Left Return)
    4 - Right out
    5 - same as pin 3 (I think this is Right return)
    6 - Mic In from front panel
    7 - no pin
    8 - VREF Mic out (voltage reference for mic)
    9 - Mic In mute (ground when mic isn't plugged in, +12V with mic plugged in)
    10 - Audio Detect (ground when headphones plugged in, not normally used)


    As I mentioned, the X-Fi uses the same exact setup as the Audigy . . . but what if you want further HD support and connectivity? As best I can tell and have tested with my card, this setup will work:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The connector representing the terminal on the card is number from 1-10; I wrote the legend so that all one needs to do is remove the wire from your AC97/Azalia connector, and insert them into the new 10-pin connector in the order listed.

    As I've tested with my card, I have full HD support through the front panel, and the card will also mute rear output when a jack is inserted. The only capability that I don't seem to have, is that of the audio console changing speaker settings to "headphones" . . . I think this might only be supported with use of the X-Fi 5.25" bay front panel.


    EMI/RFI Shielding

    comming soon


    Capacitor, OPAMP and other PCB component upgrading

    comming soon



    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



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    Last edited: May 6, 2011
  2. tigger

    tigger I'm the only one

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    hello,i have a x-fi extreme music card.i'm running vista 32bit,and it seems fine really.at least there is somewere on here that i can post specifically if i do have problems tho'.so thanks for that.
  3. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    no prob, man - I'm more than willing to try and help out if something pops up :toast:
  4. tkpenalty New Member

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    did you type that yourself?
  5. mitsirfishi

    mitsirfishi New Member

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    was it a copy and paste job ? and just did a few little edits of bold ect ect.
  6. Random Murderer

    Random Murderer The Anti-Midas

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    thank you, imperial. i do not own an x-fi card, nor do i ever plan to own another creative product, but this 'service' you're providing is definitely worth a thanks.
  7. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    yeah, and I still have quite a bit more to go . . . it's still a bit of a work in progress.

    I typed it in Wordpad, then edited it here.
  8. malware New Member

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    Hi, I also use Creative X-Fi XtremeMusic retail, count me in the club.
    Also today I repaired my Creative T7900 remote control, I can upload pictures with the simple repair guide later. Creative T7900 is known for its remote problems and bass disappearance, I think I'm on the right way to find an easy solution to fix that.
    Tonight I'm going to repeat what I've done to my own speakers with another broken set...and if it works, I'll post the solution here.
  9. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    That would defi be awesome - it's the same remote that comes with the I/O Console, correct?
  10. malware New Member

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    Nope, I'm talking about this set and this wired remote:

    [​IMG]

    The problem is, that the second system I tried to repair had other issues which didn't occur while I was testing (strange)...so I'll reserve my final judgement till I'm sure where the problem is. My set works fine.

    If somebody has problems with the T7900 wired remote can contact me at any time.
  11. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    I see, sorry, I just assumed it was the I/O remote :eek:

    BTW, I've always been curious - how much better is the Creative 7.1 speaker set compared to some other similarly (and higher) priced setups? I've heard they're defi worth the money, and they easily stand up to their competition, but there are a ton of highly reputable companies offering 7.1 combos for the same price, if not a whole lot more.
  12. malware New Member

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    Don't know about other sets, but this particular model T7900 does not perform very well, but it's OK for daily movie/games use until you listen to music. Listening to music on this set is just not right...something's missing, although they have good bass.
    Talking about Creative S750 is another story...they sound great.
  13. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    Hmmm . . . big difference in peak wattage, there, too - between the 92W of the 7900 and 700W of the S750. I'd honestly imagine a night and day difference between the two based on those specs alone.

    Although, I'd really like to hear them for myself, but all the shops around here only carry the 5.1 Inspire systems, cause no walk in customer in their right mind is willing to spend $500+ on a speaker setup.

    I was just curious how they might stand up to Sony's products or Pioneer's. Even though Pioneer doesn't offer a 5.1 or 7.1 package, you can easily buy a couple sets of their bookshelf speakers pairs, the middle channel and a subwoofer that will be in the same price range as the S750. Honestly, between Sony and Pioneer, I find Pioneer's products to be clearer and offer a more dynamic range, plus a bit cheaper than Sony's. If you ever get a chance, take a listen to the sound quality of just 1 pair of Pioneer's bookshelf speakers sound :twitch:


    Oh, BTW anyone else reading this, I still plan on adding more to the main post - just been busy and lethargic the last couple of days . . .
  14. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    FP_Audio: HDA to AC97

    Hey.
    I've got an Xtreme Gamer card, this one has the front-panel audio header. However this is of the Intel Azalia HD Audio spec that Creative claims to be incompatible with standard AC97 front-panel headers. My chasis has an AC97 front-panel header. Is there a way I can mod to make my FP work?

    [​IMG]


    For your convenience, I'm sending the pin assignments of both HDA and AC97.

    1. For Intel Azalia HD (that's on my card)

    [​IMG]





    Thanks for this clubhouse, we needed it. :rockout:
  15. malware New Member

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  16. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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  17. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    I hadn't realized any of the X-Fi's were utilizing Azalia's pinout!

    Anyhow, just to make sure I understand you correctly . . . your case has connectors for either AC97 or HDA, correct?

    Your X-Fi uses an Azalia pinout (like the pinout diagram you pictured), not a straight 10-pin connector?

    Just wanting to make sure, as I didn't know that any of the X-Fi's were shipped with the 8-pin azalia pinout.

    If so . . . if your case has an AC97/HDA connector, and your X-Fi has an 8-pin Azalia pin configuration, Creative's claims are a big neg-a-tory:

    Intel High Definition Audio "Azalia"

    and the pinouts for AC97 and Azalia, which Intel claims are pin-compatible:

    Front Audio Panel pinouts

    so, therefore, you can plug an AC97 connector into an Azalia pinout, or plug an HDA (Azalia) connector in to an AC97 pinout and they should work. If not, you might have to do some wire swapping in the connector - just make sure to draw a diagram and label what color wires go to which slot before you remove any of them.
    btarunr says thanks.
  18. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks man, well the following cards use Azalia's pinouts:

    SB07xx - Xtreme Gamer PCI, Xtreme Audio PCI, Xtreme Audio PCIe

    Intel Azalia pinouts are identical to the HDA pin layout. My system-case has a AC97 pin-set and I want to mod this to work with my card's Azalia pin-set.

    Take a look at these pics:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2007
    imperialreign says thanks.
  19. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    those must be newer revision cards, the Xtreme Gamer's I've seen don't have the Azalia pinout. I guess that must be following on the heels of the OEM X-Fis Creative have been producing for Dell, Gateway, HP, etc.

    I also hadn't realized they've gone to production with a PCI-E interface, nice to see, though, another hardware component that will make use of those near-worthless x1 slots :)

    Alright, then, you can plug an AC97 connector into the Azalia HD pinout, they both use they same pin configuration. Some AC97 front panel connections will interface with the Azalia pinout 100% and have full capability, some won't.

    so, then, your case doesn't have a second connector for HDA? Just curious cause I'm running a Cooler Master Mystique, and the front panel harness has a connector for AC97, another for Azalia, and also every pin seperate for other configurations.

    But, yeah, even though the pinouts are labeled differently on Intel's page (the one I referenced), the harness wires themselves still go to the same components in the same manner. i.e. pin1 is MIC_IN_L, pin2 is AUD_GND, pin3 MIC_IN_R, pin4 AUD_GND/SENSE, pin5 R_OUT, pin6 R_RETURN, pin7 AUD_SENSE, pin8 KEY (no wire), pin9 L_OUT, pin10 L_RETURN

    now . . . if Creative decided to use the same pinout setup for the Azalia style connector that they've used with the proprietary 10-pin straight connector on the Fatal1ty and Platinums, that's an entirelly different configuration.

    If you haven't done so already, try plugging in the AC97 (if you do have one labeled Azalia or HD Audio use that one instead) connector that would normally go to the mobo into the X-Fi. If you don't have any functions with that connector, it's quite possible it's using a Creative setup which may have a different pin configuration. I might be able to figure that out, if it is . . .
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2007
  20. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    We're now in the same transition phase we were 13 years ago, of that between ISA and PCI busses. We'll see more cards soon. To make things tempting, Creative priced the PCIe X-Fi Xtreme Audio at an OEM price of $31 and Retail $39 ~ $45. But it doesn't have the XFi CA20K processing unit, but uses a Audigy core with bus-translation logic that translates PCIe to PCI for the core. So there really isn't a gain anywhere. Just that today's motherboards have more PCIe slots than PCI and so more people are dropping the idea of buying a sound-card and sticking to onboard audio, the el-cheapo Realteks, ADIs, CMIs etc. So this one way to woo them.

    Did you notice the optical out and Co-axial SPDIF outs on the PCIe card? First time for Creative to do that "on" a card without a dumb header.

    My case dates back to early 2005 when CoolerMaster didn't really make cases with HDA pins. I love that case as it always stood lucky for my lan-parties. Just upgraded the whole thing step by step. Older card was an Audigy ZS that broke due to a burnt capacitor somewhere. There're no service-centres for an Audigy here in India. So Xtreme Gamer it is. Does this forum cover Auzentech XFi Prelude as well? Becase that's going to be my next card......all solid-state capacitors and an AWESOME set of OPAMPs and Asaki-Kasei Japanese DACs.

    You must agree that Japanese analog components far exceed Taiwanese, quality-wise.

    Ready to drool?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    And ofcourse, do you see the Azalia header next to the CD/Aux_in ? :laugh:
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2008
  21. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    I'm still amazed that Creative has gone and put Azalia pinouts on the new cards - damn, I wish mine had one! Those pics are of the Auzenetech, right? I find it curious that the card is packing that much onboard firepower, but lacks the X-RAM module, esepcially considering that Creative haven't scrapped that idea yet.

    I completely agree tha Japanese components far excede the Tiawanese components, especially the capacitors. IIRC, the first gen X-Fi's had a problem with the capacitors literally blowing up after a few months. After they went to better caps, it wasn't a problem. If you want even better quality sound out of the card, you can replace all the caps with even higher end models - something I might cover when I do a "mod" section.

    I think Creative using the old Audigy APU is simply for first gen testing. Given enough time they'll start slapping the X-Fi APUs back on the cards, and prob up the performance of the card even more. Still, I'm glad to see someone is finding a use for those x1 slots - it seems ever mobo has at least one, positioned where it just is a waste of space (like, for instance, on my mobo, there's an x1 slot right above the primary x16 - it'll never be used). I dont ever really see Creative building on the x16 platform, but ya never know sometimes . . .

    Onboard audio is generally tripe. Realtek has been busted before for sub-par HD capabilities, and most ever onboard chipset suffers from noise interference, especially with the addition of a high-end GPU. Creative even has their own "X-Fi" chipset for certain manufacturers now, too - although, IMO, it can't be called X-Fi without the APU, y'know?

    I'm guessing so - I don't know as much about these cards, except for the fact that they're using the X-Fi APU and utilitize the same style memory ring hub as Creative's cards (due to the processing architecture of the X-Fi APU, they don't have much of a choice here); so, I figure the cards will probably still run into very similar problems that the Creative cards encounter, although, hopefully not as often or as severe.

    So, have you been able to get your front panel to work yet? If not, what exact Centurion model is it, I'll try to look up your cases front panel pins and see how they match up . . .
  22. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    No, the Auzentech XFi Prelude does have the 64 MiB X-RAM do you see those Micron Technology 256 Mb banks next to the CA 20K1?



    No they're not using the Audigy APU (EMU 10K1) in that PCIE version, it's the same chip they used in the Audigy SE cards, which is a host-signal-processing chipset, not an audio processor, it depends on the system's CPU to do its audio processing jobs. So since the chipset was designed for PCI, they just added a BTL (bus translation logic). Yeah, some mobos from MSI feature a "XFi Audio" well actually this is a gimmick. On your card, you will see a small square chip from Cirrus Logic, that's the DAC. Now this tiny chip draws its processing from the CA 20K1 processor. But, the chip itself is Intel HDA bus compatible, so it could work with the Intel southbridge chips' HDA bus, much like how those ALC850, ADI 1885 chips work. Now, this chip has no driver developed by Cirrus Logic and so depends on the Creative's driver and hence also comes with all the XFi dsps.


    Well, the XFi prelude at the outset, is a better card for audiophiles than gamers. Factoid: The XFi Xtreme Gamer line of cards perform better in games than the Elite Pro. Reason: too much circuitry increases latency. And in the same way, Xtreme Gamer Fatal1ty professional outperforms the XFi Prelude. But the audio quality of the Auzen's card far exceeds any card ever made by creative, thanks to the God-grade analog circuity. And coupled with the Auzentech X-Tension DIN card, this card has more capabilities than the external module of the Elite Pro. The XFi prelude has a 116 dB SNR, beyond the original XFi specs. None of the Blue-cards you see in the pics above have the XFi APUs. Creative claims than any product that supports the XFi Crystalizer and CMSS 3D be deemed an XFi product. Did you know, Creative makes an XFi noise-cancelling headphone called the Creative Aurvana XFi ?

    Yeah, I'm working out a mod based on the pinouts you gave me.

    ...and I'm looking fwd eagerly for your capacitor mod. Please do a capacitor mod for the Audigy ZS too, If I had a PCB map of the Audigy, I'd have replaced the burnt cap long back.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2007
  23. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    yeah, I noticed that. But, X-RAM is a different module on the cards, it's a 64MB chip - not the 256 Mb chips that all the cards have, those memory modules are to help out the buffers and filters more than anything else. The X-RAM itself is for onboard audio file storage should a game support it. I'll see if I can take the cover off the mem module on my card and snap a pic of it tomorrow . . .

    I will say, though, that most of the cards I've seen only have one 256 Mb chip (even my high-end Creative). Two of them buggars should really help the processor out and cut back on the card's BUS over-dependancy. By the looks of them, I really don't think they'd ever have any problems what so ever, as long as Creative supplies them with non-faulty drivers.

    so the "X-Fi" mobos are really just using the DAC? :laugh: The brilliance of marketing!

    I agree, Creative has gone full overboard with their marketing approach for the X-Fi's, which has left many people just broadsided by the equipments actual capabilities. The lower end cards are farily weak (except for the XG), and I've tended to recommend to people to either grab an XG, or if you're willing to spend the extra $80, an Xtreme Gamer Fatal1ty Pro (I think they just call it the Fatal1ty at this point). The XGFP is the head of the Creative line-up, and offers the best performance of the bunch, all the while packing 136db SNR and capable of handling up to 128 voices simultaneously - although, within Doom3 and Quake4, using the console, I've seen upwards of 160 seperate voice files loaded with no clipping.

    But, you can't get that same power with the XG, XM, or the XA, there's a major difference in card architecture. The next closest in Creative's lineup is the XG (which for some reason surprises a lot of people).

    But, I defi know the Auzens are much better cards, but they can be quite a bit pricey, and no one within this region where I live carries them. Again, part of the reason I recommend to people here to just grab an XGFP, $150 on the shelf, and audio is competitive with Auzens lower-end cards. Most people won't hear any difference past this anyhow with their hoards of mp3's and youtube streams . . .

    and defi on the caps mod - soon as I can get around to it and purchase all the caps I need to swap them all out - there's a friggin ton on my card.
  24. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    First off, 256 Mb is 32 MB. And every XFi Card that has the X-RAM tag comes with two of these banks including the Elite Pro.

    The Elite Pro and XG FP have different PCB layouts. and the Elite Pro has two memory banks, one on each side of the PCB. Here, take a look at this babe, an Elite Pro:

    [​IMG]

    And here's the back side:

    [​IMG]

    Do you notice a 256 Mb bank above the sticker?

    Now compare this PCB with that of your card, where both the banks sit beside the APU:

    [​IMG]

    And there's nothing on the back side.

    Yeah, you're right, Auzen cards cost an arm especially in a third-world nation like mine and I'm saving for one. Just love that card.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2007
  25. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    sorry bout that, you're right on the X-RAM - that's what I get for debating something while drinking heavily! :laugh: I had just gotten confused on it . . .

    Although, my card only has the one Micron chip right above the APU (sorry bout the poor image quality):

    [​IMG]

    there's nothing on the backside of the card at all. Y'know, makes me wonder . . . cause my card would have to have two of those chips to equal the advertised 64MB on the box - I think I'll have to pull the card out sometime today and look up the mem number on it. Eventhough Creative says the onboard DRAM is only used for file storage in games that support it, that memory is used heavily by the APU when buffering voice files . . .

    I tell ya it's hard to keep up with the new X-Fi revisions, seeing as how Creative tends to re-invent the PCB's and the lineup near about twice a year at this point.

    Oh, did you want me to add you to the member list here?

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