Review

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro review

Creative has been a leader in the PC audio market for as long as I can remember. In fact, the first Sound Blaster card hit the market almost 20 years ago, which can be considered an eternity in "computer years".

During this time, Creative has launched about a dozen major soundcards, with their latest outgoing product being the Sound Blaster X-Fi series, which replaced the popular Audigy line a few years ago.

The X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro that we are testing today is Creative's latest offering in the series aimed at audio enthusiasts and especially gamers, making use of a slightly modified chip called EMU20K2 that adds native PCI Express support among a number of improvements and fixes over the previous generation of cards.

Link: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro @ TechSpot

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certainly none of you are aware that the crackling was a problem with the PCI cards (the bus got bottlenecked due to a poor design in the hardware).
These new cards are native PCIe and so far mine is working excellent at least under CoD4, DiRT, GRID, Hellgate, SupCom and a few more.

FWIW, M$ broke creative's sound interface in Vista and that created the driver support nightmare in vista. it's true that they are way behind schedule on offering a proper driver, but it's not completely their fault. M$ should have never broken DSound 3D.

Oh please, Creative had LOTS of time to create new and good drivers for Vista long before it was out. Even when Microsoft did a reset on the development of Vista, Creative had to know where they where going with the sound API.

As of today, their is still feature not available on Vista that you can have only on XP. But those same feature are working fine using Asus Xonar or Auzentech.

(gonchuki said @ #25)
certainly none of you are aware that the crackling was a problem with the PCI cards (the bus got bottlenecked due to a poor design in the hardware).
These new cards are native PCIe and so far mine is working excellent at least under CoD4, DiRT, GRID, Hellgate, SupCom and a few more.

FWIW, M$ broke creative's sound interface in Vista and that created the driver support nightmare in vista. it's true that they are way behind schedule on offering a proper driver, but it's not completely their fault. M$ should have never broken DSound 3D.

wow :redface:
you really dont have a clue what you're talking about.
are you not a bit embarassed?

I recently purchased one of these cards, upgrading from an Audigy 2. The card was installed 2 weeks ago in a machine running Vista x64 and as yet I have not experienced any problems with the sound crackling or popping.

That's great.

But does it still have the crackling and popping sound problem ?

My X-Fi Platinum is laying somewhere in my closet unused because of that problem. A problem Creative never corrected. In fact Creative blamed about everyone instead of actually working to correct it.

New drivers reduced the amount of crackling and popping experienced (which may lead to believe the problem is not hardware related) but the card is still not usuable since it still happens once every 10 or so secondes (with the first drivers it was once every secondes).

I will never buy a CReative product again.

I bought an Auzentech X-Fi Prelude to replace my Creative X-Fi Platinum and did not have any sound crackling and popping since then. Both cards use the same chipset ...

I heard there are no issues with crackling or popping with the PCIe version but I do not own this version and can't till I replace my board

well I guess the key thing here is using it in Vista which I a reluctant to move to (at least for now) maybe next rebuild

So... who else would you buy a decent soundcard from if not creative? Don't they pretty much make all of the cards availible?..

I'm never buying any of Creative products again and will never advise to. It's been nearly 2 years since the Windows Vista release and their cutomers are still wrestling with the drivers to work properly. And it turned out that they've been crippling the drivers purposedly.
I don't have an high-end creative product. Just an audigy value, which its what u hear function is not suppoted in vista. It's a very simple and basic feature for god's sake! Why would you they take that? And the software to use its features fully still not released on web. I was thinkin' that I was upgrading my hardware when I bought an X-Fi Extreme Audio, which I realized that it was just same hardware as audigy value but only had an extra crystalizer software. (It means nothing if it's software based!) I got a refund immediately.
Creative sucks! I hope Asus would advance its sound card business.

Creative never again;
The only way to communicate to that company is to not buy their product and vote with my wallet...
Sick of their unfinished/buggy X-Fi series and horrible, horrible drivers...

If you must have EAX 5.0 support, you'd be better off checking out the Auzentech Prelude.

Anyway, what the hell does a "pro" gamer know about sound anyway? Like some gamer's endorsement is going to make people buy it. Creative should ditch that loser.

I was under the impression that Auzentech Prelude driver where massively based on the Creative Driver & Software. If so, it would mean same bugs and same problem than a Creative X-Fi card....

(TruckWEB said @ #16.2)
I was under the impression that Auzentech Prelude driver where massively based on the Creative Driver & Software. If so, it would mean same bugs and same problem than a Creative X-Fi card....

I replaced my Creative X-Fi PLatinum by an Auzentech X-Fi prelude because of the crackling and popping sound problem. The drivers look the same but using the X-Fi Prelude i did not experience any of the problems i had with my X-Fi Platinum. I could be wrong but the drivers are based on Creative works but are modified by Auzentech.

Yep, same here after dealing with driver issues, crackling and what not with my X-Fi PCI card, I will not purchase another Creative card. It seems they have buggy drivers, it takes forever to get a driver update, and there is probably a fundamental hardware design issue with the X-Fi PCI cards which caused the crackling depending on how saturated your PCI bus got, or what address space it used. Besides my hearing can't really distinguish between my X-Fi and RealTek HD Audio so...

I considered this card, but the advantages for me over my XtremeGamer are minimal, plus I hate Creative :)

Seems to me like the 64Mb of XRAM as Creative have called it would be worth pretty much nothing.

I like asus but that D2X card is no where near as good as people have claimed, it's "ok" and probably better than most onboard sound but my x-fi gamer walks all over it without even trying.

I despise creative but they seem to have their monopoly secured quite well despite their endless problems.

The Xonars have better DACs and aren't mangling incoming sound through a cheap fixed rate (48KHz) resampler. Not to mention the DSP bull****ting the Audigy/X-Fi cards perform on the sound. Someone cue that silly X-Fi Crystallizer Xtreme Better Than Master diagram...

(Tom Servo said @ #9.1)
The Xonars have better DACs and aren't mangling incoming sound through a cheap fixed rate (48KHz) resampler. Not to mention the DSP bull****ting the Audigy/X-Fi cards perform on the sound. Someone cue that silly X-Fi Crystallizer Xtreme Better Than Master diagram...

While I do like the performance of my x-fi gamer there are some games that sound like pure garbage and no manner of tweaking will make them sound good, quake 4, BF2, BF2142 and CoD:UO all sound like ass but other games like unreal (all the unreal series fps games), Painkiller and PK overdose, CoD4, FEAR, HL2 all sound great.

I wish one card would make all games sound great with great 5.1 positioning but I guess that may never happen, if asus came out with an updated xonar with better driver support I would give them another go, one of the things that turned me off to the xonar was the drivers, the drivers that came with the card were the only ones that worked decent for me, all the updated versions would either break something or not work at all unfortunately.

I think if asus put more effort into their sound cards they would eventually be a viable competitor to creative, when nvidia came out with soundstorm a lot of people thought they would be a good competitor to creative but soundstorm disappeared for some reason, I hope asus doesn't give up because they are on the right track.

How do sound cards like these compare to the "Supreme FX II" that comes with an ASUS mobo? Should I just keep it or can I really find anything better?

Unless you're an audiophile and a Creative fanboy, you won't notice much of a difference between ASUS's Supreme FX line of audio riser cards and a Creative-brand add-in card.

If your a gamer you probably play your games wearing headphones, in which case 5.1 or 7.1 surround-sound and EAX won't get utilized, so why buy a sound card just to get official EAX support?

http://forums.guru3d.com/showthread.php?t=247268

(Airlink said @ #7.1)
Unless you're an audiophile and a Creative fanboy, you won't notice much of a difference between ASUS's Supreme FX line of audio riser cards and a Creative-brand add-in card.

If your a gamer you probably play your games wearing headphones, in which case 5.1 or 7.1 surround-sound and EAX won't get utilized, so why buy a sound card just to get official EAX support?

http://forums.guru3d.com/showthread.php?t=247268

Creative has been THE name in sound cards since I was very young. It's had to break away from something that's you've always known. I wouldn't call it "fanboyism", though.

(Airlink said @ #7.1)
Unless you're an audiophile and a Creative fanboy, you won't notice much of a difference between ASUS's Supreme FX line of audio riser cards and a Creative-brand add-in card.

If your a gamer you probably play your games wearing headphones, in which case 5.1 or 7.1 surround-sound and EAX won't get utilized, so why buy a sound card just to get official EAX support?

http://forums.guru3d.com/showthread.php?t=247268

That's not true at all, EAX isn't simply surround sound, EAX affects how each individual sound actually sounds. So for example, if an enemy is shooting from behind a wall, EAX makes it sound muffled and if it's in a corridor, you'll get echoing noises. THAT'S what EAX does (among other things). Plus, headphones are one of the best ways to utilise surround sound, even though there's only two speakers.

(Kushan said @ #7.3)

That's not true at all, EAX isn't simply surround sound, EAX affects how each individual sound actually sounds. So for example, if an enemy is shooting from behind a wall, EAX makes it sound muffled and if it's in a corridor, you'll get echoing noises. THAT'S what EAX does (among other things). Plus, headphones are one of the best ways to utilise surround sound, even though there's only two speakers.


You have no idea what you're talking about, do you?
Calling a set of headphones "surround sound" is like calling a cordless phone with caller ID display a "Wireless data device"
Headphones provide the best STEREO separation, but it's still only stereo. Stereo 2.0 instead of Surround-sound 5.1 or 7.1, OK? (Yes, you can actually get headphones that have more than two audio channels and more than one set of speakers in them, but that's generally not what people mean when they say 'headphones.")

As far as EAX goes, all EAX is is a set of DSP presets packaged with a spatial API. But you know what? Games sound better with EAX off: I don't mean you get better fps, I mean that things just sound better with it off. Quite frankly, I don't know why you would want to turn EAX on. I just use the Miles Sound System or the default DirectSound rendering and everything sounds better that way.

For all those who don't want a creative card (For whatever reason), I can't recommend the Asus Xonar range enough. They even support EAX 5.0 in VISTA better than creative does (it's not exactly EAX 5.0, but you'll be hard pushed to find a difference). I love my Xonar D2.

No more Creative for me... They don't seem to want to learn how to write drivers with the newer Windows driver model that work properly so I'll just stick with my on-board audio that sounds fine and doesn't crash my computer. That's probably why Apple chose to use Intel Azalea audio and ignore Creative Labs.

EDIT: The review even mentions they got a BSOD installing the software for it!

I also refuse to buy any Creative products because of the problems I have using my Audigy on Vista. I'm still using it over onboard though.

(ambiance said @ #4.1)
I also refuse to buy any Creative products because of the problems I have using my Audigy on Vista. I'm still using it over onboard though.

My X-FI Fatal1ty Pro would not work properly with Vista x64 no matter what I tried (beta and regular drivers), worked fine on XP Pro x86.

I am currently using my Realtek 8.1 Onboard.

(ambiance said @ #4.1)
I also refuse to buy any Creative products because of the problems I have using my Audigy on Vista. I'm still using it over onboard though.
I'm having no problems [now] with my Audigy in Vista. I have to admit, in the beginning it was a nightmare and then there was the whole having to pay for Alchemy to get back features I already paid for fiasco...but it's all good now, still I probably won't buy another one though :P

I'm sticking to onboard sound chips for now on, I only bought the Audigy to fix a problem with Half-Life 2 (and it didn't even work! ).

NOTE: I'm still using the Audigy in my old PC, that's running Vista x64 without a problem. However, my new PC is just going to stick with it's onboard sound chip, which is doing a fine job I have to say.

why would you buy this when you could get the asus xonar. from my experience it's much better, why anybody would buy a sound card from creative is beyond me.

i never got my asus audigy 4 to work with vista as in 5.1 but my asus card works great.