Creative releases three new X-Fi sound cards: - X-Fi Xtreme Audio, 69 € / $69
- X-Fi Xtreme Gamer, 99 € / $99
- X-Fi Xtreme Gamer Fatal1ty Pro, 149 € / $149
The Xtreme Audio is a relatively basic card but it supports the 24 bits Crystalizer and CMSS-3D functions. EAX 5.0 HD, ASIO or even SoundFont 24 bits aren't however in the list. In fact, Creative doesn't even speak of a sort of EAX support and we have to hope that the software supports at least the versions 1 and 2 to be at level with motherboards' integrated chips.
EAX 5 HD is supported by the Xtreme Gamer. The quality of its analog inputs is comparable to the other X-Fi (noise signal ratio superior to 109 dB and harmonic distortion of 0.004%). This isn't the case of the Xtreme Audio (108 dB and 0.006%) even if we have to point out that the figures announced are extremely close.
For both cards, there are 4 mini jacks inputs spread between lines and micro outputs according to your requirements. It is possible to have a numeric output (for stereo or AC-3 via the S/PDIF passtrough) by connecting a mini jack to RCA adaptor to one of the connectors.
If you add 50€, you will be able to acquire the Fatal1ty Pro which isn't only bigger and gilded: it features 64 MB of X-Ram. This memory improves sound management and games performances using OpenAL. ASIO is also present and since the card is physically similar to the other high end X-Fi, it is also possible to connect an internal or an external rack that you will have to buy separately.
To finish, we found the denominations chosen by Creative rather inappropriate. For example, the X-Fi Fatal1ty is a superior model to the X-Fi Xtreme Gamer Fatal1ty Pro since it is the same card with on top an internal rack and a remote control.