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creative sound cards...x-ram, really worth it?

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by kylelee08, May 31, 2008.

  1. kylelee08 New Member

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    need a new sound card for multiple reasons....extra gaming performance for one....are the sound cards with "x-ram" really worth the extra price?...or is it an extra 60 bucks for 1 fps..?
     
  2. theonetruewill New Member

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    If you want better gaming performance get a better graphics card. If you want better sound simply get a Xi-fi Gamer Xtreme Gamer and you'll be as happy as larry.
     
  3. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    I can't say it's an extra $60 for 1 FPS - there's a lot more the upper end cards are capable of . . .

    but, even the lowly Xtreme Gamer has a small amount of DRAM on board; typically a 2MB or 4MB module. The only cards that carry the advertised 64MB are the Fatal1ty and the Elite Pro.

    Some games can make full use of the alloted amount of DRAM available, and will load sound files to the soundcard itself, which means the card doesn't have to access the system BUS as often. But sadly, there are only a small handful of games with this kind of support.


    For the rest of the games on the market, the card will use the available DRAM for temporary storage of sounds being processed, and for temporary storage when the card can't access the SYS BUS. This doesn't really equate to any noticeable increase in performance, but it does equate to an ability to run more hardware and software voices (based upon a games limitations), and greatly reduces the chance of audio clipping.




    TBPH, if you're SYS is up to par - good CPU, good video card, good DRAM, etc - there really isn't much of a performance gain at all with the upper end X-Fi cards, nor is there much of an issue with a card needing to access the SYS. Is it worth the extra money for the higher end cards? Well, if all we're looking at is the onboard DRAM, then, no, it's not. But, if you would require your card to occasionally perform audio creation or manipulating audio files, plus having a card that is fully capable of excellent in-movie audio playback, on top of being a top gaming performer, then it's worth the consideration - at least even an Xtreme Music if you can still find one.

    Otherwise, if gaming is going to be your single biggest priority with the card, then an Xtreme Gamer is more than suitable for your needs.
     
  4. jonmcc33

    jonmcc33 New Member

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    No and nothing is really going to take advantage of Creative's stuff in the future either.
     
  5. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    <sigh> :shadedshu
     
  6. kylelee08 New Member

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    thank you..

    that is all i needed to know....while i was waiting for your responses...looked it up...only 4 games us the x-ram...and they are all 4 years old...
     
  7. jonmcc33

    jonmcc33 New Member

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    Did you get that from here?

    http://www.digit-life.com/articles2/multimedia/creative-x-fi-part3.html

    That's all I've seen too. Plus interesting note here: "Taking into account that EAX5/X-RAM SDK has been released only recently, we have some grounds for optimism – we may have more games soon. But as OpenAL is too slow to take roots among developers because of its differences from DirectSound, we can make a conclusion that the situation will not change much here."

    Of course this was all back in Feb of 2006 well before Vista. OpenAL is the standard now and EAX is just a software driven feature that is being left out of newer games. I wonder if ALchemy even supports X-Ram?
     
  8. kylelee08 New Member

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    all too difficult for me...

    i think i'm just gonna save a few bucks and order the standard x-fi gamer card
     
  9. silverlai3 New Member

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    Yeah... same thing with EAX5, you probably don't need your feet toes to count how many games supporting EAX 5 HD

    TBH, as a game developer here, I can share something with you:
    1. Every game designer is moving away from EAX or X-RAM: it's just so binded to single HW vendor, and all game developers just want everyone with minimum spec can have the same best gaming experience.
    2. Software DSP is much more flexible: everyone is using FMOD now, it's much easier and there are WAY more effects we can use than to choose from EAX or X-RAM effects
    3. Cross platform: there is no such thing as EAX on XBOX360, it just give me trouble when porting things from XBOX360 or PS3 to PC or viceversa...

    Ok, i'll stop here. Anyways, please just go get any X-FI with biggest possible ram, and kindly share with us how much performance increase you've got then. Thanks a lot. :laugh:
     
  10. kylelee08 New Member

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    well damn

    if everybody is moving away from those formats...is there another card type i should be looking into,,,??


    ...keeping in mind that i am not one who is rich emough to go buy every new peice of hardware that pops up.....monthly..
     
  11. silverlai3 New Member

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  12. wolf2009 Guest

    @
    silverlai3
    LOL


    what were trying to do ?
     
    10 Year Member at TPU
  13. jonmcc33

    jonmcc33 New Member

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    Depends on your budget. If you are comparing something that's the price of a Creative product with X-RAM then this is a good choice...

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829271001

    Same audio chipset but different manufacturer...

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829156001
     
  14. silverlai3 New Member

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    ????
     
  15. KBD New Member

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    Just pick up an Xtreme Gamer, nice card you won't be dissapointed. No need for the highend cards. It has Gaming, Audio Creation and Entertainment modes which is enough for an average gamer/user. I own this card and it was definately an improvement over my old SB Live! Value 5.1 card. Though i paid around $60 after rebate for this card last year, right now its going for $90 at egg, too much in my view. Shop around or wait for a rebate to come along. I heard Auzentech and Razer Barracuda are nice too, but you want to hear from someone who owns one of those.
     
  16. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    The Prelude still tops out, IMO - but you pay a bit more for the extra quality.



    So - how can anyone be moving away from X-RAM if no one really supported it to begin with? :wtf: TBH, although games don't support X-RAM, the card still makes use of it's available onboard; which is the one point everyone seems to ignore. The BUS hungry CA20K1 can utilitze the onboard ram for buffering and temporary storage when it can't access the PCI BUS. If you don't believe me, go pick up a OEM motherboard with a locked BIOS, install an Xtreme Gamer (which has, if you're lucky, at the most 4MB onboard), load up Doom3, enable EAX, and see how long you can go before you start experiencing audio clipping. Swap cards with a Fatal1ty (with 64MB onboard), and you'll notice you can game a lot longer before you start experiencing audio clipping, and it won't be to the same extent as with the XG.


    Another thought, which I've brought up in other threads - even if everyone is moving away from EAX to OpenAL support, you don't think that there are still very similar capabilities with OpenAL . . . considering that for the last few years Creative Labs have been the major host and developer of the API? Even more so considering that games that support direct OpenAL support (like Doom3, Quake4), will run at EAX 4HD capability if your audio hardware supports OpenAL . . .

    . . . funny, ain't that?
     
  17. silverlai3 New Member

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    Well.. the asnwer is simple: sometimes people in the game develop circle use EAX is merely for marketing or for money.

    We use DX10 because Nvidia will support us, and we use EAXHD or OpenAL because our sals or BD people had deal with Creative, or because we want to appeal to gamers who still believed in Creative....

    So it's not funny, it's just for marketing...:p

    FMOD and XAudio2 are easier options for us now...
     
  18. kylelee08 New Member

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    alittle upset....

    despite all the bad noise about it...i found an fatality version for only 100 bucks...so i got it....not used, brand spanking new....installed with driver disk....works fine...higher frames on doom3...nice card...............however, when i attempted to download the most recent drivers from creative's auto update feature, which it marked as a "critical" update to increase performance, it got about 75% through the upgrade and bam..blue screen, shut down....had to reboot in safe mode..
     
  19. KBD New Member

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    Wow, never happened with my card. What OS do you use, Vista?
     
  20. kylelee08 New Member

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    nope

    xp...

    kinda old sys though...abit is-10 mobo\pent 3ghz\2gig ddr\x800gto\xp sp2
     
  21. jonmcc33

    jonmcc33 New Member

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    Look at you trying to blame Vista for obvious driver problems. ;)
     
  22. KBD New Member

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    I'm not trying to blame Vista, rather i'm saying that Creative drivers suck, and probably more so for Vista.

    @kylelee08, dude, it looks like this is the new driver (Mar 08) for a lot of Creative X-FI cards. I just downloaded and going to install soon and I'm gonna see if i have the same problem. I suggest you don't use their Auto Update for this, just go to their site, d/l it, uninstall the old driver if neccesary, and install new. Also, see what they recomend to do in driver notes and what troubleshooting steps you can take. If it still doesn't work try the previos driver from Nov 06, i've been using for a year & didn't have a problem. Let us know how you make out.
     
  23. kylelee08 New Member

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    good call

    i'll try that out when i get off work..thanks
     
  24. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    yeah - follow KBD's advice. It's an OS thing, could happen on XP or Vista. The new driver package contains a firmware update, and the OS can muddle that up, doesn't matter who or what type of hardware it is.

    If you still have issues with the install, just use the driver package that predates Mar 08, there's no firmware update with that one, and there's not much difference in resolved issues between the two driver sets.
     
  25. jonmcc33

    jonmcc33 New Member

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    Okay, and Microsoft doesn't make drivers so Creative is all to blame. :D
     

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