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X-Fi Support Syndicate & Owner's Clubhouse

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

  1. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Jeez...yours is SB046X rev 2U PCB. I really don't know if that single bank that your card has, is 512 Mb (64 MB). Yours looks to be MT. Only three vendors sell memory banks to CT today: MT (Micron Technology), Samsung, Hynix Hyundai. If there's something that looks like a mt (greek "mu" t) it has to be Micron Tech.

    Send me its string (whatever is printed on the chip) and I'll tell you if its the expected 512 Mb.

    On the back side of the PCB do you notice an unoccupied memory bank place-holder above the batch info sticker?

    Yeah, add me as a member. I can solve problems as well.

    The PCB your card has is exotic for the North American region, it's made by Creative's Singapore homebase for the Koren, Aussie and Japanese markets. Wonder how it got there. Decades later you could put it up in your living-room in a laminated shelf as an awesome show-piece. I did that that to my 1996 Creative Ensoniq ES1730 PCI card (all Japanese/American components, 0% Taiwan). :laugh:
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2007
  2. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    :laugh: I had an Ensoniq, too - still layin around here somewhere, along with my old SB cards. I've just about had the whole lineup: Sound Blaster 2.0, Sound Blaster Pro, Sound Blaster Pro 16, Sound Blaster AWE32 and a Sound Blaster Live! I've considered, every now and then, to clean 'em up really well and build a shadow box for them.

    (I also considered doing this for my 3DFx VooDoo3 3000 PCI)

    Done, and glad to have the help, too :toast:

    yeah, it's the Micron 512 - MT 48LC32M16A2 - 8x16x4; and no, there isn't any unused mem socket on the back of the card. The card is a completely different breed for the US market, even the Xtreme Audio card which has the same PCB dimensions and a similar look is different in architecture. The XGFP is built for pure audio firepower, it's just that the quality of some of the caps is sub-par (Jamicons, which have been known for going thermo nuclear on these cards). Granted, the XGFP can readily compete with Auzens lower end cards without too much of a hassel, but if one was to swap out the caps for higher quality components . . . :D
     
  3. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Right, the MT 48LC32M16A2 is a 512Mb bank.

    Here's how to find out, for the MT chips -- 48LCxMyA2 : x*y=z where z is the capacity in megabits z/8 = capacity in megabytes.

    So, for your chip, that'll be 32*16=512. 512/8 = 64.

    I need better capacitors badly since the place I live is very hot. The CA 20K1 is an absolute toaster, at full-load processing for EAX4 HD in Doom 3 for 30 minutes, the temp. for the APU goes upto 54 C. I'm working on a heatpipe mod once I buy the Auzen XFi prelude. This XG I'm using now will become my toy then, and on it, I can work out all my capacitor and heatpipe mods.
     
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  4. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    Thanks! I'll have to remember that seeing as how there's a ton of hardware that use MT components.

    I'm interested in hearing how the heat pipe mod works out for you, and what all is involved with doing that. If your card has a heatsink over the APU, you can attach a 40mm chipset fan . . . although, the fan is a bit larger than the heatsink itself. I'm still working on trying to remove the stock heatsink from the APU on mine - I think they used some form of thermal epoxy on it, as I just can't break it at all - rubbing alcohol and the use of an old credit card just can't loosen it, and I'm leary about using any stronger cleaner . . . acetone would destory the PCB, brakekleen could do so also . . . anyhow, once I get the buggar off, I plan on installing a 100% copper NSB cooler on it, and a 40m fan - I would just need to fashion some form of retention mechanism for the heatsink.

    If you're looking to replace your caps, this is a "guide" I ran across that I plan on somewhat following:

    x-fi cap replacement

    if nothing else, it at least names high quality components to use - there are so many various component manufacturers, y'know? But, I've done PCB repair before, so I'm not at all worried about damaging the card . . . not sure when I'll get to this, though . . . if nothing else, you should at least get the Jamicons off the card - especially if you live in a warm climate.
     
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  5. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    :eek: Dude! don't try to remove the heatsink off the PCB. That'll rip the chip off the board!!!
    The CA 20K1 is soldered to the PCB using its weak ball-grid-array and the the conductive material between the chip and the heatsink is NOT a paste or gel by nature, rather a ceramic-silicone polymer that acts like quick-setting cement between two surfaces and is hard and the ceramic component of it acts as the thermal conductor. This material is a strong adhesive. So never attempt to pluck it off the chip!!!!

    Here's what I have in plan: I'm using the same silicone-ceramic adhesive to fill each and every groove of the top side of the heatsink and using a mold made from match-boxes making a 12mm*12mm*4mm cuboid block in which during its semi-solid state, I'll dip two Al heatpipes, and keep it inside for the "cement" to set. After which the other end of the pipes will either go into a radiator the size of a deck of cards or I'll use a fusion block to connect a liquid cooler system. This trick will step-down the temp by upto 30 C. I'll make the radiator from the fins of one of our broken air-conditioner lying in the backyard. pipes come from Al suit hangers. And the thermal-cement come from Arctic Silver. And the whole assembly won't be suspended at the mercy of the chip's soldering with the PCB but I'm also working on a clip-clasp assembly that'll sling the thing onto the PCB like tiny bench-presses. I'll wire a pic once I make it, don't worry.
    :rockout:
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2007
  6. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    Yeah, I had noticed the APU didn't look all that wonderfully attached, wich is why I didn't dare even think about doing any prying to the hsink. The TIM has that distinctive greyish color of a form of epoxy or cement. Some can be defeated though, but this stuff can't. I was getting it soaked with some 90% rubbing alcohol, and then using an old credit card to 'saw' through the stuff, but it didn't do anything at all. Which is why I've about given up on it. Strong adhesive is an understatement. I have chemicals at work that will eat right through any epoxy - but they're meant for working on cars! That stuff would destroy a PCB.

    It woulda been nice to have a card without a heatsink, which woulda given me the option of installing whatever I want . . .

    yeah, I defi want to see that. I've got some other ideas for the stock heatsink seeing as how I've given up on removing it, I just got to think it over some more . . .
     
  7. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    No, thank God they put that heatsink. You already know that the first few batches of the XFi series didn't come with the heatsink and many cards from those batches had blown capacitors?
    You know, that increase in temperature increases resistivity for conductors but decreases resistivity for semiconductors, right?

    Now the CA 20K1 would soar to 57' c when doing multi-channel EAX HD processing in an ambient temperature of 20' c. And at 57 degrees, the conductor-part of the chip steps up resistance while the semiconductor part (internal micro-resistors, micro capacitors wheatstone/dhrystone bridges, etc) decrease resistance....which means the chip at that temperature becomes more "power-hungry". But all through the BGA, the PCB's wiring and the capacitors and clock-generators outside won't be able to meet the demand because their resistance just stepped up due to increase in temp. within a highly limited thermal envelope. So hence, many electrolytic caps "blow-up".....leak. Because more temperature = more power = clock-generator increasing capacitor discharge frequency = capacitors going bust eventually.

    So by adding the heatsink + TIM that steps up mfg cost by hardly a dollar, the CA 20K1 stays at a calculated lower temperature that'd keep other components safe enough.

    Sure, we've modders, enthusiasts and nerds leaking in TPU Forums but not every common-man who's a audiophile with a Xtreme Music or a musician with an Elite Pro or a wanna-be teen gamer with an Xtreme Gamer would know much about cooling a sound-card's chipset, had the cards come without a heatsink. They'd use it just the way they're meant to be used, like any ordinary electronics consumer. After all, who would've imagined a couple of years ago that a sound-card would have heating-issues far worse than some video-cards? And who would've thought they'd have a 10 fn thousand MIPS of raw power into a chip the size of a postage stamp?:laugh:
     
  8. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    yeah, it was the biggest problem with the older cards - and part of the reason why the older cards were more prone to audio clipping, too. I just meant that it'd be nice to be able to put a better cooler on it, y'know? The stock one is decent, and gets the job done, but I'd still prefer cooler. IDK, maybe with future revisions, they'll present a PCB that has chipset mounting holes like what is commonly used for a NSB or SSB cooler - either pushpins or a retention clip.

    To be honest - when I first got my card and opened the box, I was shocked to see a heatsink on the APU. It wasn't until I started researching the X-Fi APU that I realized just how powerful it really is. Hell, even at it's 400MHz clock, it can perform more MIPS than a low end Pentium4 at 2GHz.
     
  9. yzfboy Guest

    Hello their you may be able to help me, i'am running a asus p5k deluxe wifi board a E6850 3 gig o/c to 4 gig 2x ati 2900xt's i purcashed the sb820 pci-e soundcard mainly because the 2 2900's cover the pci slots and installing this card takes down the crossfire option so only 1 2900 is shown all i can think is its a IRQ problem but not having much luck solving it ,the on board sound is ok but get bad feedback and hissing with the mic installed which you dont get with the creative card and the sound is much better so would like to use it but also crossfire my 2 cards cheers
     
  10. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    just to be certain, xFire did work before installing the X-Fi, right?

    Have you tried re-installing ATI Catalyst after the X-Fi and driver's were installed? If not, you might want to go ahead and give that a shot - use the ATI Software removal utility (found under the Add/Remove Programs control panel), and then reboot. Once WIN boots back up, install whichever Catalyst drivers you're running, reboot, and see if Crossfire is available.
     
  11. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Buddy, your board has a P35 chipset. Now, the P35 chipset has a total of 20 PCI-Express lanes in all. So, when you install two video-cards, the PEG lanes are not negotiated as x8 , x8 between the two cards, it's the other way round, the primary card gets a full 16 lane-width and the second card is supposed to get 4 lanes, so that's x16, x4 and not x8, x8 for your cards. Now any PCI Express video-card requires a number of PCIe lanes that's the multiple of 2 as in x2, x4, x8, x16 only.

    So remember I said that P35 has 20 lanes in all? now with 16 lanes for the first video-card and one lane to your sound-card, three lanes remain and the second video-card will not function.

    Solution: Check your BIOS for PCIe lane negotiation options, which I doubt they exist for a P35 based board. Try removing the soundcard for the second vid-card to be detected.
     
  12. yzfboy Guest

    did that before and no difference crossfire worked before i installed the soundcard and when i removed it crossfire was back again ,my board as 2 pci-e slots for the soundcard and its same in both of them :(
     
  13. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    That's the point:

    You cannot have 2 video cards + the PCIe soundcard because out of the 20 available PCIe lanes from the P35:

    16 go to the primary graphics card
    1 goes to the sound card
    3 remain, and a second video card cannot function on three lanes, it's asymmetric and the device stays disabled.

    You can have 2 video cards OR 1 vid card and 1 snd card because:
    16 go to the first card and 4 go to the second
    OR
    16 go to the first card and 1 goes to the sound card.

    Single lane devices get their lanes negotiated before multi-lane devices.
     
  14. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    he's absolutely right, I shoulda checked your mobo specs first (I didn't even think of it :eek:).

    Exactly which P5K board do you have? ASUS P5K-E/WiFi or ASUS P5K Deluxe/WiFi?

    check for setup options in the BIOS, there might be PCIE options listed under "Jumperfree Configuration" or the "Chipset" menu - they might also be labeled as PEG controls. If there is an option titled 'PEG Port Force x1' . . . you could enabled that . . . it will force one of the x16 slots to x1 - not sure, but it might might force the primary slot to x1 . . . that might hurt your Crossfire performance significantly, though . . .
     
  15. tigger

    tigger I'm the only one

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    is there a way to get a coaxial digital out from the extreme music? i know the flexijack does digital out with the module.

    i did find this tho'

    [​IMG]
     
  16. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    I'll research it some - I think that you can run off the AUD_EXT pinout, but the S/PDIF pins follow the TTL interface, which is somthing like 5v/0v pulsed as compared to a coaxial connection which is .5v . . . so, I think you'd need to run a converter to correctly use it . . .


    Honestly, man . . . this would probably be your best bet:

    Creative Digital I/O Module



    Creative used to make a S/PDIF digital I/O TTL <=> Coaxial internal converter module, but it was only for the Live! and Audigy SE series . . . maybe at some point they'll offer one for the X-Fis.
     
  17. yzfboy Guest


    its a P5K deluxe/wifi i have stuck my audigy 2 in and thats fine but is covering my 2nd card quite alot ,i have put extra fans in to blow on the bottom card ,managed to stick the soundcard in a pci slot but the mic works fine now :ohwell:
     
  18. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    so . . . I'm a little confused . . . Do you currently have the X-Fi PCIE installed with your XTs?

    Is it working at all, or . . . ?
     
  19. yzfboy Guest


    lol not pci-e using my well old pci card got a spare audigy 2 zs so managed to sqeeze that in between the 1st and 2nd card but like i say because its a full card it blocks part of the intack fan of the 1st card so not ideal but all working that way ,
    could do with a smaller pci soundcard by this i mean shorter but i dont think creative do one :cry:or i could be wrong cheers kev
     
  20. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    well, if you've got enough room between the two GPUs for an Audigy, then you should easily have enough room for a X-Fi. Granted, it'll be a bit of a squeeze by anymeans, but if case airflow from the front is on-par, then it shouldn't be a problem. It's not like the back of the X-Fi card gets all that warm, anyhow. It's a shame not much else can be done to get all 3 PCIE components to work properly, but it's also not worth sacrificing a rather expensive VGA adapter for a soundcard . . .

    So, I guess you're going to return the X-Fi PCIE, then? Or did you order it online? I'm curious, though, how much are the PCIE versions running?
     
  21. Morgoth

    Morgoth

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    can i join? :)
     
  22. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    sure, no prob . . . I'll add ya to the list . . .

    sometime soon I really need to add more to the main post and organize it some more, too (I've just been a bit lazy recently) :p
     
  23. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    There's only one card in production from the X-Fi stable, and that's the Xtreme Audio PCI-Express. The lowest price from an online store is from Newegg, click here

    Many regard this as the worst sound-card from Creative till date.
     
  24. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    wow, that's cheaper than even the low end PCI cards.

    reviews have been that bad, huh? I haven't even had the time to research it at all over the last few weeks . . . somehow, though, it doesn't surprise me . . .
     
  25. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes. Infact Creative isn't entirely responsible for this, it's the direction in which the industry is moving which it to be blamed.

    While a common man like you and I would think of PCI Express as an advancement of the computer bus and that we have to make a shift to this bus, the biggest flaw with the PCI Express is that it greatly affects devices that hate electromagnetic-interference like sound-cards and video-capture devices.

    Reason: The PCI Express is a bi-directional bus, in which data moves in both directions per clock-cycle, and the clock-speed of the bus itself is high. The clock-generator is located inside the hub, usually the northbridge. Now, data moving in both directions causes 'collisions' of data streams much like how we had 'packet collisions' in our networks before CSMA-CD.

    Result: With 16 or more PCIe lanes going to a video-card, you can expect huge levels of EMI within the hub despite the PCIe itself being a 'non-shared' bus like the PCI.

    Impact: Devices sensitive to EMI like sound-cards and HDTV-capture cards experience loss of output quality.

    PCI must survive.
     

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