Originally Posted by AlphaWolf_HK
Er...not really. Effects functions are so computationally small that the hardware needed would be extremely inexpensive to design. Hell, try to add a reverb filter to a 10 second clip in soundforge, watch how long it takes for even the most complex reverb functions. A fraction of a second. Now imagine trying to do it with even smaller segments of audio, in lengths best measured in single miliseconds. Now imagine doing it with a processor that has sinusoidal functions built into the silicone which require even fewer clock cycles to perform than your CPU even. You could easily handle more simultaneous sound effects than EAX 5 even accepts on some pretty cheap hardware.
The main reason nobody else does this is because creative has essentially become a patent clearing house. Look what happened with aureal. Even though aureal won the lawsuit against creative, the legal costs drove them out of business. This is why nobody wants to challenge creatives patents. Look at the sh*t that John Carmack had to go through just to get D3 out the door because he was "stepping on" creatives patents. Creative is mostly just a patent clearing house these days.
It is better, namely because the latency is guaranteed to be lower if done in software.
Ok, I can agree with this- in regards to the reverb. But with accurate sound placement ( i.e. the surround we get from movies) I'm sure it'd be too taxing for any cheap processing unit you mentioned. Furthermore, the patent issue would be moot if the company had sufficient resources. Creative doesn't have a patent for every sound, and everything relating to sound, even though they seem to think they do.
But I do realise that nobody will realy compete with Creative simply cause of the head ache it'd be.