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Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Elite Pro Review - Page 1 of 9

INTRODUCTION

In my inaugural review at nV News, I'll be covering my brand-spankin' new Sound Blaster X-Fi Elite Pro soundcard. The X-Fi line of sound cards from Creative Labs line is based on a completely new core design. For additional information on the X-Fi, please visit Creative's web site. The X-Fi lineup is made up of four models - the XTREMEMUSIC, Platinum, Fatal1ty FPS and Elite Pro.

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Elite Pro

The XTREMEMUSIC, Platinum and Fatal1ty FPS have similar features such as 24-bit/96KHz sound at a 109dB Signal-to-Noise Ratio and EAX Advanced HD 5.0. The Platinum and Fatal1ty include a remote control and a front drive bay adapter. The Fatal1ty steps up once more with 64MB of X-RAM.

Sound Blaster X-Fi Specifications
X-Fi Models Comparison Chart

Sounds good, right? Well, the Elite Pro has everything the Fatal1ty does and goes over the top for the all-in. Featuring a 116dB Signal-to-Noise Ratio and better quality DACs than the other cards, as well as the 64MB X-RAM and external breakout box, the Elite Pro is a true audiophile and home studio musician's dream come true.

THE PACKAGE ARRIVES

The box is large and I expected the contents to be filled to the brim with packing material. But the size was justified as the breakout box is enormous. It's roughly the size of a Playstation 2 and like the PS2, it has an optional attachment to allow vertical positioning.

Elite Pro Packaging with Breakout Box
Elite Pro Package
Click Image to Enlarge

Two CDs were included. One CD contains drivers and related applications for Windows XP and the other has the lite versions of Cubase, Amplitude, and Wavelab. These programs provide music recording features when playing instruments, such as an electric guitar or keyboard, that are plugged into the breakout box. This was an important feature since I couldn't afford more expensive solutions that other soundcards offer. The bundle is powerful and has more features than I will ever use.

The following accessories are also included:

  • Remote Control
  • 2x Batteries (AA)
  • Rubber Foot (x4)
  • Vertical Stand
  • 3.50 mm (1/8-inch) to 6.35 mm (1/4-inch) plug adapter
  • Power Splitter Cable
  • Volume Control Cable (9-pin DIN)
  • AD_Link Cable
  • Quick Start Leaflet

Elite Pro Package Contents
Elite Pro Package Contents
Click Image to Enlarge

I was pleasantly surprised to see that batteries are included. How many times have you purchased an appliance with a remote control that did not include batteries? It's only a minor annoyance, that quickly turns into frustration after a search for batteries in the kitchen utility drawer comes up empty. Thank you, Creative.

WHAT'S TO COME...

My current soundcard is a Sound Blaster Live! 24-bit. I will be comparing game performance using F.E.A.R., FarCry, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and Quake 4 with the Live!, Realtek ALC850 onboard audio and the Elite Pro to provide a well-rounded look at what this product offers.

Next Page: Test System, Installation and Drivers

Last Updated on December 5, 2005


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