The second mode is gaming mode. The second you select this option several parts of the audio circuitry will dis/enable itself. For example the number of simultaneous sounds being played back are being limited so that the CPU of your computer is used less and can focus on the more important task at hand, calculating geometry for the game. Of course here EAX can kick in also, absolutely lovely to see is that EAX 5 has been integrated into the new drivers for the X-Fi.
The gaming preset .. now that's cool looking driver software.
The third option of course is audio creation mode. Once enabled the card will make sure that you can record music at the best and highest possible quality available. Once enabled it's really something different and likely something that musicians can recognize far better then I can. Next to the automated DSP preset you'll get a control panel options in the form of a nice mixer with a really wide range of options. Organize your in and outputs, effects, a nice ASIO 2.0 mode that can be defined by you, the user. Yes you can preset your sampling frequency modes and yes, if you select 96 kHz the effects module will actually remain functional this time. Or how about 2ms latency? Absolutely lovely. Or hey, what about recording 2 channel sound into 8 channels recorded hmm?
I also noticed a new software function there called 3D MIDI. So if I explain this in its most simple form, take a midi instrument and place it into a certain 3D sound environment. So you can place the piano to the left right and a guitar to your rear left for example. This creates a really interesting experience, I played around with it for a while and now dear to shout it it out loud and proud... MIDI can be kewl!
The audio creation mode offers so many options that we could easily write 5 pages full of them. Even the cheapest model X-Fi card will provide all these options. Perhaps in our follow up review Brann can dig a little deeper into this one.