X-Fi Fatality FPS SoundBlaster review

Soundcards and Speakers 105 Page 4 of 16 Published by


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The Bundle & Software
The Creative cards offer the most in terms of "stuff" with their cards. The new X-Fi series received a complete software upgrade and of course supports the basics like Speaker Control, EAX, THX and finally an Equalizer. We'll show you some software goodness later on. Other then that, of course the new breakout box and the way cool remote control. We will talk about that in a bit as we of course will show you all of it in a photo-shoot.

  • Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS PCI Card
  • X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS I/O Drive
  • Quick Start Leaflet
  • Remote Control
  • 2x mini MIDI to standard MIDI adapter cables
  • 3.50 mm (1/8-inch) to 6.35 mm (1/4-inch) plug adapter
  • 2x Batteries (AA)
  • Screws for assembly
  • Installation and Applications CD containing:
    • Drivers for Windows® XP
    • Creative Software Suite
    • Doom 3 Sound Blaster EAX patch
    • User's Guide

Copyright 2005 - Guru3D.comThe X-Fi Fatality FPS bundle.

When we take a look at the card we immediately notice that the Firewire connection no longer is present on the card. Ah well, not a loss at all. Zooming in we see Creative is using a Cirrus Logic CS4382 8-channel DAC (D/A converter) for three of the four cards. The CS4382 is highly capable with a rated 114dB S/N ratio and support for 24-bit, 192 KHz digital audio.

Basic Requirements
  • Genuine Intel® Pentium® III 1 GHz, AMD® 1 GHz processor or faster
  • Intel, AMD or 100% compatible motherboard chipset
  • Microsoft® Windows® XP Service Pack 2 (SP2)
  • 256MB RAM
  • 600MB of free hard disk space
  • Available PCI 2.1 slot for the audio card
  • CD-ROM/CD-RW or CD/DVD-ROM required for software installation
  • Graphics card with DirectX® 9 and OpenGL® compliant 3D graphics accelerator

It's all about transistors.

Well not all, especially when it comes to soundcards, but the sheer amount of transistors on any silicon give it more function and capabilities. That transistor count versus the clockspeed defines your soundcard functionality. Anyway, developed under codename Zenith this is X-Fi. We finally are stepping away from that good ol' EMU10K audio processor that we all know and love from the Live! and Audigy series. Let's talk a little about the silicon arming all previous soundcards and their increased muscle power.

Sound card Raw Data Path MIPs Typical Processor MIPs Internal Audio Channels Overall Audio Sample Rate & Effects Processing MIPS vs Live! No. of Simultaneous Real-time Effects No. of Transistors
Sound Blaster Pro ?1 3+ - 0.0001x - 100K
AWE 32 (EMU8000) 67 200+ - 0.2x - 500K
Live! (10k1) 335 1,000+ 16
(to Effects Engine)
1x 1 2M
Audigy (10k2) 424 1,250+ 64
(to Effects Engine)
4x 4 4.6M
10340 30,000+ 4096
(to all Processing Elements)
67x 8 51.1M

Source Creative Labs X-Fi Whitepaper

To me it is remarkable to see that large transistor count compared to let's say the SoundBlaster Live! series which quite honestly is a lovely product. The new X-Fi silicon has almost 26 times more transistors. The untouchable Audigy series had 4.6 Million transistors on that silicon, right now we're looking at 11 times less transistors compared to the new X-Fi audio processor. The extra RAW calculation power is used for a number of things. The first being to improve the SRC (Sample Rate Conversion). One of the more known issues for all previous generation products was that internal conversion between 44.1 and 48 KHz, that conversion could actually be heard on Audigy 4 and lower products, it's a huge task. The X-Fi sound processor is compiling it's data at 48 kHz yet the up and down conversion is managed in such an advanced way that there basically is no loss of sound anymore. Small interesting fact, the 0.13 micron manufactured core clock of this card is 400 MHz!

You know, with the proper software and some cooling we could overclock it easily :)

Copyright 2005 - Guru3D.com
The Heart of the beast, the X-Fi sound processor.

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