Computer: Toshiba Satellite P505-S8945, Windows 7 Home Premium x64, Intel Centrino Core2 Duo 2.0 GHz CPU, 6 GB SDRAM, Conexant Pebble HD Smart Audio
The Conexant Pebble HD Smart Audio onboard sound sucks, to put it politely, for anything other than basic music and videos. When I play UT2004, I run into intermittent stutters and popping. I understand that with onboard sound, the CPU is taxed when sound is generated, thus degrading gaming performance.
I have been looking at Creative's X-Fi sound card for laptops. My questions are: Is the X-Fi compatible with Windows 7 x64? Does it truly replace the onboard sound altogether? Would I need to disable onboard sound in my CMOS to use it? Would my laptop's built in speakers work with it, or would I need to purchase external speakers? And most importantly: would it offload the sound creation from my CPU to the card, thus giving better gaming performance than the onboard sound?