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

Niall Magennis

By Niall Magennis

Reviewed:

Awards

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

Summary

Our Score:

8

So the Fatal1ty Pro's design and features are all well and good, but how does the card actually sound? In titles like Crysis and Bioshock the Fatal1ty Pro is a really mesmerising performer. It produces very precisely positioned surround sound effects that really add to the tension during game play. Shots reverberate around rooms in a realistic fashion and you can really hear the difference in echoes and reflections as you move between different rooms and structures.

We measured the card's noise level at 101.8db in RMAA

Using the loop back test in RightMark Audio Analyzer on an Acer Aspire M3200 desktop, we measured its noise level at 101.8db, which is excellent, so it's hardly surprising that it sounds wonderfully lively and natural for music and recording, while also doing an excellent job of positioning surround sound audio in film soundtracks. In fact, it's pretty difficult to find fault with the card at all and in terms of performance we'd say that it's the best out there for a dedicated gaming rig.

Of course, there is a downside and that's the price. You're paying a premium for the Fatal1ty Pro over cards like the Asus Xonar DX PCI-E, which can now be had for just £56. That said, although the Asus Xonar DX costs a lot less, its emulated EAX 5.0 support just doesn't compare to the realism and precision of the Fatal1ty Pro in games.

Verdict

There's no doubt that the Fatal1ty Pro is a top-class performer. Its support for EAX 5.0 HD and OpenAL is exemplary, as is its performance with music and film sound tracks. However, it is a tad expensive and has relatively limited connectivity which narrows its appeal somewhat. Still, if you're into gaming and want the best card on the market at the moment, then we can heartily recommend it.

Overall Score

8

Scores In Detail

  • Value 7
  • Features 8
  • Design 9

Bytes

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.

Robovski

December 8, 2008, 10:42 am

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

ilovethemonkeyhead

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.

Ed

December 8, 2008, 2:06 pm

@Bytes





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.





@ilovethemonkeyhead





?





Just like any other PCI-Express card.

TheLostSwede

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.

Keithe6e

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?.

nanite2000

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.

Niall

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).

Xiphias

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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