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

Niall Magennis

By Niall Magennis



  • Recommended by TR
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro Sound Card


Our Score:


As with all the other X-Fi cards, the Fatal1ty Pro is switchable between three modes: games, entertainment and content creation. Not really switching modes as such; just controls in software where the card assigns the bulk of its processing power.

Entertainment mode turns on the card's support for Dolby Digital EX and DTS surround sound in movies. It also enables the Crystallizer and CMSS 3D effects. The former aims to pump a bit of life back into tracks that have become a tad flat after being compressed using formats like MP3 and WMA. It does a surprisingly good job and doesn't wear on your ears like some of the other audio exciters we've used on rival cards. The CMSS 3D, on the other hand, is designed to widen and thicken music and movie soundtracks. It works OK with headphones, but the results when its upmixing music to output over surround sound speakers can be a bit hit and miss.

The content creation mode turns on the card's ASIO (Audio Stream Input/Output) drivers, which allow you to individually address the outputs in programs such as Reason and Cubase. It also tweaks the hardware for low latency performance (so there's little or no lag between pressing play in your music app and hearing the results spew out of the card) with the card capable of an ASIO latency of just 2ms.

However, most people who buy this card will be purchasing it for its gaming prowess, so the gaming mode is where the action really lies. Luckily the Fatal1ty Pro continues Creative's tradition of excellent support for gaming surround sound formats. Naturally there's comprehensive support for the company's own EAX 5.0 HD format alongside OpenAL. The card also has 64MB of speedy X-Ram which can be used by compatible games (such as Quake 4, Battlefield 2 and Unreal Tournament 3) to pre-load sounds so that precious processor cycles aren't wasted shifting audio from your PC's memory to the card during game play.

The Fatal1ty also has another trump card to play when it comes to gaming. As well as being able to feed a set of surround sound speakers via its analogue outputs, it can also encode gaming surround sound on the fly into Dolby Digital Live and shoot it out of its digital audio output to a surround sound decoder. The advantage of this is that you can connect the card to a speaker setup using a single optical cable, rather than having to use lots of analogue ones and ending up with the inevitable bird's nest of wires.


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

@ 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.

comments powered by Disqus