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Windows 7: Help choosing between Xonar DS vs X-Fi XtremeGamer


15 Dec 2010   #1

Windows 7 Professional
 
 
Help choosing between Xonar DS vs X-Fi XtremeGamer

I'm having a hard time choosing between the Asus Xonar D1 and Creative X-Fi xTremeGamer soundcard. I currently have Realtek's HD ALC892 on my motherboard and have Logitech Z4 2.1 speakers (I don't ever plan on going 5.1 maybe 4.1 with my monitors built in speakers for extra sound). I just want better audio than my onboard which was recently downgraded cause I upgraded my motherboard if that makes sense (use to have ALC889A better for 2.1 stereo, now have ALC892 not as good for 2.1 stereo but better for 5.1+ surround)? I'm only a casual gamer, so things like EAX and PhysX do not amuse me (although I have a GTX 460, best card in class for price, CuDA support for application, overclocking ability is little ridiculous) and I do not want to spend anymore than the cards listed below (onboard included). Here's my comparison:

Realtek HD ALC892:
Dolby True HD and DTS HD [Great for 5.1+ speaker setup]
100 SNR dB [NOT as good as previous ALC889A (104 SNR dB) for 2.1 Stereo]
Very good software customization suite
+ Very acceptable sound quality, great driver support, non bloat software, auto jack sensing, free with motherboard
- Does not support hardware acceleration (EAX/OpenAL)

Asus Xonar D1:
Dolby Digital [Great all around]
116 SNR dB [Really good for music, movies and games]
Great software customization suite
+ Great sound quality [Best of 3], non bloat software, gold plated connectors [Very high quality built] can be found for $30 used
- Bad driver support and community forum, half baked EAX/OpenAL emulation [Not done in hardware, has driver problems with some EAX/OpenAL games-remedy is to turn off], no auto jack sensing

Creative X-Fi XtemeGamer:
EAX/OpenAL Hardware Acceleration [Great for games that have support, reminds me of PhysX, not really needed but good to have to match my GTX 460]
109 SNR dB [Better than Realtek onboard ALC892 100 SNR dB]
Extreme customization software suite
+ Very good sound quality [especially with EAX/OpenAL games and X-Fi enhancement], good driver support, true hardware EAX/OpenAL no driver problems with games that have support, auto jack sensing
- Driver not so good for Windows 7, bloat driver/software suite, EAX/OpenAL is luxury and not needed [not supported for all games, hardly use in applications unlike CuDA for Folding @ Home], found for $45 used (2006 release date)


All thoughts are welcome.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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15 Dec 2010   #2

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

Support for EAX is nowadays generally 'obsolete'. Windows Vista and Windows 7 do not permit the functions used by EAX to work by default, and as a result - there are no games that utilize the tech anymore. If you play a lot of legacy games such as Battlefield 2 - you may benefit from it. But anything newer will not.

And in addition to creatives at times unreliable software - I'd be far more temped to go with the Xonar in this case.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Dec 2010   #3

Windows 7 Ult, Windows 8.1 Pro,
 
 

I have tried both the X-fi xtreme gamer and i'm currently using the Xonar D2. I'd take the Xonar anyday.

The Creative drivers are just too unstable for me, and I'm not the only one with that complaint, can't stand them.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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15 Dec 2010   #4

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1
 
 

I have the xtreme gamer and it has never worked for me on 7 - it worked on Vista 32-bit with 4GB RAM, but after I upgraded to Win 7 64-bit and 8GB RAM it hasn't worked - may be related to the RAM size or just my setup - I have not bothered doing any hardware diagnostics after spending hours reading posts and trying different drivers to no avail - I am putting the xTreme Gamer in the kids machine & getting myself the HT Omega Striker

I have heard good things about the Xonar series though
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Dec 2010   #5

Windows 7 Professional
 
 

@ Xale

From what I know, EAX has been replaced wit OpenAL and I find many games even newer ones automatically install OpenAL driver. If you talking of DirectSound/D3D, then yes Vista and Windows 7 replaced it with DirectX sound.

I also, have one more option which is the Creative X-Fi XtremeMusic which about matches the Xonar D1 in terms of sound quailty, has Dolby Digital Live/DTS Connect decoder like the Realtek onboard and has hardware acceleration EAX/OpenAL like the XtremeGamer but only thing is it's $65 brand new (shipped) and maybe $40 used if the dude agrees and replies to me. Keep in mind the XtremeMusic is the oldest card of the bunch (2005 release) and uses the same drivers as the XtremeGamer.

Edit: Sorry guys, this whole time I meant the Asus Xonar D1 PCI version of Xonar DX PCI-E...lol

My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Dec 2010   #6

Windows 7 Professional
 
 

Update:

Not to sure right now, but the way things are going I may end up with a Asus Xonar DX PCI-e but what I really want is the Xonar D1 PCI so I can use my one precious PCI-e slot for a USB 3.0/SATA-600 card. I'm not willing to pay an extra premium $20 for the Xonar D1 over the DX. Still waiting and deciding, not sure if I can live without USB 3.0. I use flash drives a lot and USB 2.0 has pretty pathetic transfer speeds, SATA-600 I can live without. Still waiting and deciding.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Dec 2010   #7

Windows 8.1 Professional x64
 
 

Have you looked at the Xonar DS? It's a PCI sound card as well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Dec 2010   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Nemix77 View Post

Realtek HD ALC892:
Dolby True HD and DTS HD [Great for 5.1+ speaker setup]
100 SNR dB [NOT as good as previous ALC889A (104 SNR dB) for 2.1 Stereo]
Very good software customization suite
+ Very acceptable sound quality, great driver support, non bloat software, auto jack sensing, free with motherboard
- Does not support hardware acceleration (EAX/OpenAL)

Asus Xonar D1:
- Bad driver support and community forum, half baked EAX/OpenAL emulation [Not done in hardware, has driver problems with some EAX/OpenAL games-remedy is to turn off], no auto jack sensing

Creative X-Fi XtemeGamer:

- Driver not so good for Windows 7, bloat driver/software suite, EAX/OpenAL is luxury and not needed [not supported for all games, hardly use in applications unlike CuDA for Folding @ Home], found for $45 used (2006 release date)


All thoughts are welcome.
I've had trouble with audio card drivers from both Creative and ASUS (Xonar DX 7.1). It's not a knock against those two companies.....it's just that those were the only two companies I tried. I was constantly plagued with BSOD's. I got fed up and went with onboard audio. I haven't had a BSOD since. If you can live with onboard audio, that would be my recommendation. Dealing with drivers and the hundreds of components interacting with Windows 7, you're bound to run into trouble. But sometimes people don't run into trouble, hopefully you'll be one of the lucky ones.
I vowed to never use an add-on audio card again. The BSOD's just weren't worth it. Excellent sound be damned.

Sorry for the ramble, but that's just my 2 cents.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Help choosing between Xonar DS vs X-Fi XtremeGamer




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