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Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro Sound Card review

Niall Magennis




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Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro Sound Card
  • Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro Sound Card
  • Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro Sound Card
  • Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro Sound Card
  • Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro Sound Card
  • Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro Sound Card
  • Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro Sound Card


Our Score:


Creative may now dominate the sound card market with even competitors like Auzentech using its technology, but thankfully the company still has its eye on innovation. While most sound cards are designed to be fitted in older, slower PCI slots, the Fatal1ty Pro uses the company's latest EMU20K2 chip which has been tweaked to add native PCI Express support. As a result it will happily sit in a x1, x4 or x16 PCI-E slot, meaning that it'll still be useable in the future, long after the slower PCI bus has gone the way of the dodo.

When you take the Fatal1ty Pro out of the box you'll notice that it looks quite different to your run-of-the-mill sound card. This is down to the large black shielding jacket that covers the main circuit board and helps shield it from other cards and noisy components inside your computer. The only other visual tweak is a small X-Fi logo which is backed by a white LED so it glows when your computer is turned on. Naturally, this serves no purpose other than to make you feel smug about owning a top-of-the-range card.

That said, the Fatal1ty Pro is not exactly overflowing with inputs and outputs. It supports 7.1 analogue output via four mini jack sockets, with the first doubling as a headphone jack. Sitting next to these you'll find the stereo microphone socket and the optical digital input and output ports. On the circuit board there's also a standard front-panel connector so if you computer's case has front-mounted headphone and mic jacks they can be hooked up to the card.

Creative has become known for its software bloat and this card is no different. On the install disc you'll find lots of unnecessary applications including Creative's iffy MediaSource manager. Bizarrely some of the essential stuff, like PowerDVD, has to be downloaded from the web and you also have to register the card online to unlock one of it's key features, the ability to encode a live surround sound stream into Dolby Digital.


December 8, 2008, 7:41 am

I am sorry what?!

Do you guys test drivers? Do you guys see how junk Creative drivers are?

I recall reading wonderful reviews on the famous Creative X-Fi XtremeMusic. Then after buying it, it doesn't like Vista, EAX doesn't work properly under Vista 32/64-bit. Features of the X-Fi on XP and Vista uses your own CPU not the sound card. Also it proudly doesn't support any new Intel motherboards chipset, as well as the nForce 4 and up, if you have these then at some point in time and all the time if you have SLI or Crossfire, the sound skip and pops.

Now this might seams like my sound card is broken, or that I don't know what I am talking about. So I invite you all to check out Creative support forum. It's pack with the above mentioned issues, and Creative have fun deleting these thread, just watch carefully.


December 8, 2008, 10:42 am

I'd like to see a comparison to the USB solutions Creative offers.


December 8, 2008, 12:36 pm

i'd hoped to see pics of the card sitting in a free slot on a pc. i'm interested to see how it goes in a pci express slot, really.


December 8, 2008, 2:06 pm


All we can really say is we tested the card on our systems and had no problems. Had we been aware of these issues we may have investigated them further ourselves but we weren't so the card was evaluated as it is when working properly.



Just like any other PCI-Express card.


December 8, 2008, 2:57 pm

@ ilovethemonkeyhead http://www.techspot.com/articl...

@ Bytes I have no problems and haven't had any problems for the last 3 years that I've had my PCI based X-Fi card. I've mostly used it with Intel chipsets and it works just fine under Vista 32-bit. I know that there are people having problems, but it doesn't apply to everyone and with the latest driver updates, it seems like Creative are starting to get things together, albeit a bit late. I'm not keen on all the bloat ware that they include, but I have no other complaints. The PCIe cards uses a new updated X-Fi chip and the PCIe bus should remove any of the DMA/sharing conflicts that you can get with PCI cards.


December 8, 2008, 3:24 pm

A quick question, did you try it with a set of headphones?, I've a 22 month old baby so I have to were cans during the night. If you did, was the surround sound stage say better than what you would get with say a 680i M/B? I also go the older X-Fi but never got round to installing on new rig, do you know if it would be worth the trouble?.


December 8, 2008, 4:16 pm

@ TheLostSwede

Creative have always provided a polished looking product off the shelf. It's when you dig a little deeper (i.e. used a product for longer than is available for a review) that you begin to realise there are bugs, problems, shortcomings, missing features and other faults. Creative's discussion forums are always flooded with people who have countless problems. Creative may appear to be "starting to get things together", but wait a few months. Promised updates and firmware upgrades will fail to materialise, downloading the latest drivers off their website will fail to work unless you have the original driver CD (boo-hoo if you've misplaced it!), threads will go missing on their support forums if you highlight their products shortomcings too much, and their tech support is so bad it's legendary.

Basically, if the product works out of the box, you should be fine. But if you encounter any problems, then don't expect it to be fixed.

I used to use Creative products for years until about 3 years ago thanks to reviews like this that would say they're great. I have only ever owned one Creative product that worked as advertised and was well supported after I bought it - it was the AWE32 back in 1997.


December 8, 2008, 4:25 pm

The X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro uses a newer X-Fi chip (EMU20K2) that has been tweaked to work on PCIE. It doesn't seem to suffer from the same issues that affected cards that used the older X-Fi chips (EMU20K1).


December 8, 2008, 7:01 pm

It's not very fair to compare the Xonar DX to the Titanium Fatal1ty, you should be comparing it to the normal X-fi Titanium which is around the same price.

When I bought my Titanium I was upgrading from an Audigy 2 so I'd experienced some of creative's problems firsthand (EAX messing up voice comms in UT2004 for example). However, the Xonar was from Asus who also have an awful software department and when I checked around that also had a fair number of problems reported (EAX not working in a lot of games for example).

I ended up going with the X-fi because it seemed like the best choice for gaming and so far I've not had any real problems. The driver off the CD did cause the occasional bluescreen but upgrading to the latest drivers fixed that completely.

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