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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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    that was my first thought when I first saw the pics, and I based that purely on the size of the PCB alone . . . it's rather small for what they're claiming the card is capable of . . . but until we can see some picks without the shield, or someone here on the forum buys one and dismantles it


    like I mentioned in the other thread, though, considering this card is carrying the "Fatal1ty" moniker, I doubt it has a chipset.



    Aside from, as bta pointed out, this card would work well with crossfire/SLI setups that block a viable PCI slot; the only other thing this card could have over the PCI X-Fis is a better processing speed through lower latency thanks to the increased bandwidth of the PCIE BUS as compared to the PCI BUS.

    But, if it is stouting the APU, and dependant on how efficient the PCIE <-> PCI translation is, somewhat higher latency could easily negate any increased processing performance.



    I guess we must be patient on some reviews to crop up . . . :ohwell:
     
  2. Polaris573

    Polaris573 Senior Moderator

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  3. EarlZ New Member

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    Noob questions on alchemy

    1.)I know it restores the EAX effects under vista, but im wondering if plain hardware acceleration for audio is enabled even if i dont have alchemy

    2.)I see a new alchemy on creatives site, the version has no X-fi edition written on it but X-Fi is part of its compatibility list, is it safe to update to that version ?

    3.)Does alchemy modify some files in the game or what ?
     
  4. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    1) No, you still don't have hardware acceleration within Vista, the OS doesn't accomodate it directly. ALchemy, though, allows for use of hardware accelerated features, like EAX, by translating EAX calls to the OpenAL API, which can directly access your card.

    2) It should be - the new version is for both the Audigy series and the X-Fi series. The two cards are no longer seperate for ALchemy use. I doubt there are any bugs with the new software version because of this, and I haven't heard of any yet, either.

    3) No, ALchemy will not modify any of you game files - it's an application that will run in the background and intercepts the EAX calls within the game, and translates those audio calls to ones that the OpenAL API will understand.
     
  5. EarlZ New Member

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    For #3 i never noticed alchemy running on the background, i guess it becomes one of those system drivers/services that you cant normally see ?
     
  6. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    it might be, or it might be listed as a generic service.

    TBH, I'm not 100% sure, as I haven't used ALchemy yet . . . no need for it with XP.
     
  7. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    MSI X-Fi Xtreme Audio gets a makeover

    [​IMG]

    We've already seen this card feature with the MSI P7N Diamond and certain other models based on the NForce 700i series chipsets from MSI. Well, the newest revision of the card brings with it two core features.

    • EAX 4.0 HD
    • A new sporty EMI shield

    [​IMG]

    Existing users of this card (who got it as part of the P7N series boards) can use the latest drivers from MSI website to get EAX 4.0 HD functionality. You have to install this latest driver after you've installed the Consoles from the driver CD.

    This new card is bundled with all fresh stock and is available with the new K9N2 Diamond.
     
  8. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    interesting all these X-Fi stand offs we're seeing for motherboards now . . . although, that decal on that EMI shield is a little too fruity for my taste :wtf:



    Anyhow, just a quick update - trodas and I will be beginning on hard modding our cards, and they should both come out a bit different, but similar, based upon what all we intend to use our cards for - so, as I make progress, I will post that up, and he might write a guide to re-capping the cards as well (seeing as how he's done most of the leg work there).

    But, seeing as how mine hasn't been touched yet, I'm also going to post up RMAA test results in between each change and burn-in period, so we can see just how much of a change is taking place to the cards output capabilites. First up will be replacement of the OPAMPs, followed by removal of a large number of capacitors.

    I also have a newer, somewhat better DAC that I'm going to see what all it would take to swap out, and I'm still considering trying to get ahold of a newer ADC as well.

    Expect that I will post up the RMAA results of my un-modded card, as these results will serve as a baseline, and I will also compare those results to the testing results that Creative had made for these cards as "brand new" - so we can see just how much degradation has taken place in a little over a year and a half of heavy use.
     
  9. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    sorry for the double, but this is worthy of a seperate post; how my card currently rates out.

    First, here are the specs that Creative rated and tested the X-Fi Fatal1ty as a brand new unit:

    [​IMG]


    and here are the results of testing my card in it's current unmodified state, using the same exact method that Creative outlined in the RMAA 5.5 X-Fi series testing methodology .pdf from Creative:

    [​IMG]


    and we can see how much degredation has occured over the last year and a half since I had purchased the card (Jan 07). We now have a baseline for further modification - my goal is to see if we can't get the specs of this card back up and beyond what it was originally rated at, plus make use of components that won't degrade so quickly, even under the rigors of my system.
     
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  10. mullered07

    mullered07 New Member

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    ok have posted a thread in general software about this but no joy, maybe this is a better place :rolleyes: , does anyone know where to download the modded xfi drivers for vista from ?
     
  11. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    not really sure, man - I haven't really kept up with them

    trying to google them doens't turn up much, either . . . perhaps btarunr would know
     
  12. dwax

    dwax New Member

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    I have the Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic. still have the drivers from the disk installed. Is there any advantages to updating to the latest drivers? Not having any problems now just wondering what improvements or downsides would be on updating?

    Edit:
    I see they updated the drivers on 3-2008 anyone try these?
     
  13. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    I have the newest drivers installed, no issues so far

    typically, updating the drivers allows for better hardware and software compatibility - it's meant to help resolve issues with certain programs and hardware, and can even help improve how the hardware itself functions.


    I've noticed, though, that you're running WIN XP Media Center edition, correct? There is a possiblity that the new drivers might not work correctly if you install the any releases besides what is on the installation CD. If you install the newer drivers and notice odd playback, broken playback or no audio playback in some cases, you'll have to re-install the drivers from the CD.

    Just something to keep in mind if you do update and run into issues.
     
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  14. dwax

    dwax New Member

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    Thanks imperialreign Think I will stay with what I have. Yes I have WIN XP Media Center edition. Came with the PC. I figured maybe they added some goodies to the update, but prob no luck since they no longer make my version.
     
  15. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    s'all good - I used to run a version of MCE as well, but I couldn't get any driver updates to work, even when the download information listed Media Center edition 2004/2005 as supported OSes.

    Funny, too, as the drivers on the installation CD worked flawlessly :wtf:
     
  16. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Nice reading, Imp!

    I'll make myself an end-to-end cable and try out myself.
     
  17. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    that'll work if you can't buy a cable with two male jack ends.

    I believe the OPAMPs I installed last weekend should be fairly burnt in by now, I'm going to retest the card again tomorrow or Sun.

    I replaced the 4 OPAMPs with LM4562 units, and removed the 16 Jamicon capacitors in line of each output channel.

    I'm also going to run an test from the cards f/p out connector, and then I'll be replacing the 8 capacitors that filter these outputs and inputs - retest a week later.
     
  18. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    alright, done some more testing.

    I'll repost the last testing results to make comparison easier:

    [​IMG]



    and this is after replacing the 4 OPAMPs and removing the 16 Jamicons in the output channels:

    [​IMG]


    Of particular note, first, is the frequency response - especially in the 96khz tests. After modification, the range of response does not drop as far as before, but notice that the max hasn't changed. What this means for us, is that frequency changes in the output signal are now deviating less from the original signal as compared to before, as our max/min marks are now closer to 0.00db. Of note as well, in the 48khz tests the frequency response appears to have "shifted" lower, we now have a lower max, but min is now slightly greater than before.

    there has been no noteworthy change in noise level . . . which is interesing seeing as how we removed the "filters" between the DAC and the OPAMPs (filters being the 16 capacitors that were removed). I do not expect to see any change in dynamic range until I replace the DAC and/or ADC.

    But, of major importance, is distortion levels across the board have risen (kinda to be expected with having removed the output filters) . . . it is possible now that all the capacitor terminals have been jumped, that the lines could be picking some levels of EMI which could effect this - I might try a make shift shield to see if there's any improvement. Otherwise, installing some new (and better than OE) capacitors might be in order.


    -ED-

    I just added small copper heatsinks to the OPAMPs, the DAC, ADC and DRAM on the card, and the results of just this tiny mod (keeping in mind, that small copper heatsinks will act more as mini EMI shields, they will only aide with any cooling when the card is working at 100% for long periods of time - which in most cases is within a game):

    [​IMG][/IMG]




    no change in frequency response (didn't expect any), and negligible change in overall noise levels . . .

    but, of keen interest, there has been a slight drop in distortion levels - which further resounds my belief that these cards could seriously benefit from a good EMI shield.

    granted, we've only been looking at very, very small changes in tested specs so far . . .
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2008
    trodas says thanks.
  19. dark2099

    dark2099

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    Feel free to slap me around if this is a crap question, but I just put my SB X-Fi XtremeGamer Fatal1ty back in my PC (had it out for a while) and am running Vista x64, but there are no drivers for x64 listed on the website, so should I just use the Vista x86 drivers/
     
  20. Davidelmo New Member

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    New member to the clubhouse here.. my Auzen Prelude came 2 days ago.

    Still trying to figure everything out but so far, pretty good.
     
  21. department76

    department76 New Member

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    awesome. i think you'll come to love it as i do mine.
     
  22. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    her you go: Vista64 Fatal1ty drivers

    sometimes you gotta poke around with their selection menu, they keep changing stuff; usually it's under Sound Blaster> X-Fi> Fatal1ty series
     
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  23. dark2099

    dark2099

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    Another question, I noticed the power connector on the card that is similar to the power connector on floppy drives, do I need to connect this. Thanks by the way.
     
  24. department76

    department76 New Member

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    from my knowledge of electromagnetics, i am and EE student btw (not that i'm an expert lol): conductors (i.e. copper heatsinks) will only sink EMI if they are grounded, otherwise they will just build up the charge on the outside of the solid conductor itself. though that can stop a field from entering whatever is hiding under it, it really won't do the same thing unless it provides a path for the charge build up to flow to. so i tihnk those heatsinks will do no more than dissipate heat and not really provide any shielding unless additonal measures are taken.

    anyone correct me if i'm wrong.
     
  25. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    no - at least, I have yet to run across any instance where the additional power is needed. The connector allows for power to be passed through to the rear AUD_EXT connector, so the card can power the I/O drive (if you purchased one).

    you're 100% correct. In cases such as this, it won't completely avert EMI interference, but should help to somewhat diminish the effects, but not completely stop it. Now, if I were to take some copper braid, and connect all of the HS together, and then ground one end of the cable to the case, it would be a lot more effective.

    I was only simply trying to demonstrate that a small gain in clarity can be had, nothing major, as the results demonstrate. I'm working on trying to design an EMI shield for the card that will cover the front and back, but materials here are hard to come by, no one sells minimal amounts of copper, and copper here is expensive currently. Copper, also, is not the best material for a good EMI shield, but it's the closest we could probably come to. MuMetal would be most preferred, but very expensive. Nickel-plated copper or a copper/nickel alloy would be the ideal on a cost standpoint, but hard to find, and plating kits are expensive as well.

    Lead would be the best under all circumstances, but I don't think the PCB could withstand that kind of weight :laugh:
     
    dark2099 says thanks.

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