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Looking for a non-performance-killing PCI sound card?

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
As you can tell from my sig, I am on on-board now which sucks big time, it's both slowing down performance and doesn't work properly (very loud static noises and only works through one channel) thanks to the Xonar DG being a resource hog and about as useless as my on-board audio for gaming. I'm considering the card in the link below:

http://uk.store.creative.com/sound-b...r/1-15853.aspx

Basically I plan on replacing my DG with an Xtreme Gamer sound card, because from what I've read, it says the card itself processes any EAX sounds and does its own audio processing through hardware on the card. I already know that the Xonar cards are worthless at this, since the high end models have to emulate this for lower end EAX effects (than on X-FI cards, which have EAX 5.0, and Xonars only up to like EAX 3.0) through hardware (and do a crap job of it) and the low end models like my DG does this through software (therefore killing my frames). The price at this point, is irrelevant, and so are any extra features including any Dolby crap, sample rates and whatever else.

What I want to know is from someone who owns one of these or similar cards, does this card really post-process all of its audio through its own hardware on the card? From the looks of the system requirements of the card, it looks like it's already going to be way less of a resource hog compared to my piece of sh** DG (which has double the CPU requirements, needing a Pentium 4 at 1.8GHz compared to the Xtreme Gamer's requirement of a Pentium 3 at 1GHz). And is this the best PCI sound card Creative have?
    
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post #2 of 31
How much money are you willing to spend on this? Perhaps it would be better put toward a new CPU/mobo/ram, most motherboards these days have halfway decent sound quality, when I changed from onboard to sound card, the difference is there, but you really have to listen for it.

What I suggest you do is think long and hard about how much you're willing to spend on sound, and then go see what kind of used hardware that could get you. Unless you're a hardcore audiophile (and not a gamer), the money will be much better spent on other components.
    
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post #3 of 31
Your processor is bottle-necking your gaming more than any sound card or on-board will.
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post #4 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by angrysasquatch View Post
How much money are you willing to spend on this? Perhaps it would be better put toward a new CPU/mobo/ram, most motherboards these days have halfway decent sound quality, when I changed from onboard to sound card, the difference is there, but you really have to listen for it.

What I suggest you do is think long and hard about how much you're willing to spend on sound, and then go see what kind of used hardware that could get you. Unless you're a hardcore audiophile (and not a gamer), the money will be much better spent on other components.
The maximum I'm willing to spend on this is about £70. I have a lot of old games that freak out when:

1. Using multi-channel memory
2. Using multi-core processors
3. Using motherboards with newer chipsets

This is why it's priceless for me that this card does hardware acceleration on its own. Building a new rig will kill compatibility in quite a few of my favourite old games, so building a new system is not an option and won't be for a long time, especially since I'm waiting till the Bulldozer chips are out to be honest, and even then I'll be keeping this rig to re-visit my ol' games (from 2005 and earlier).

EDIT: also besides a better PSU, CPU cooler and case (and maybe some extra hard drives), there will be no more upgrades to this rig.
Edited by Am* - 3/3/11 at 7:26am
    
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post #5 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richenbals View Post
Your processor is bottle-necking your gaming more than any sound card or on-board will.
Yep, the only thing slowing down his perf. is his CPU. I agree.

The XtremeGamer is a decent card, but EAX is wayyy too old to care about. I would be hard pressed to name new-ish games that use EAX. Not since like, Baldur's Gate 2, lol. Edit: since older games are your taste, this may be right up your alley.
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post #6 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richenbals View Post
Your processor is bottle-necking your gaming more than any sound card or on-board will.
I've used this system for over 5 years, I think I know what's bottlenecking my gaming performance the most...The worst part is the stuttering I get when running on-board or the DG (framerates dip all the way to 5 or less FPS sometimes), with both disabled I get flawless framerates that never dip below about 20FPS, even in newer games like Crysis 2.
    
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post #7 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pursuinginsanity View Post
Yep, the only thing slowing down his perf. is his CPU. I agree.

The XtremeGamer is a decent card, but EAX is wayyy too old to care about. I would be hard pressed to name new-ish games that use EAX. Not since like, Baldur's Gate 2, lol. Edit: since older games are your taste, this may be right up your alley.
I don't care much about EAX, but a lot of games I have support it, (like the ancient Thief 1 for example). I know this card isn't gonna affect compatibility with my older games, most of them only supported Creative cards and on-board back then.
    
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post #8 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Am* View Post
The maximum I'm willing to spend on this is about £70. I have a lot of old games that freak out when:

1. Using multi-channel memory
2. Using multi-core processors
3. Using motherboards with newer chipsets

This is why it's priceless for me that this card does hardware acceleration on its own. Building a new rig will kill compatibility in quite a few of my favourite old games, so building a new system is not an option and won't be for a long time, especially since I'm waiting till the Bulldozer chips are out to be honest, and even then I'll be keeping this rig to re-visit my ol' games (from 2005 and earlier).

EDIT: also besides a better PSU, CPU cooler and case (and maybe some extra hard drives), there will be no more upgrades to this rig.
What games do you play? with the right compatibility patches, both my laptop and desktop will play everything I've ever thrown at them. Including the original Civilization and a little-known, no free-to-play game called "Net storm". Both of which are pretty old, by anyone's standards.
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post #9 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Korlus View Post
What games do you play? with the right compatibility patches, both my laptop and desktop will play everything I've ever thrown at them. Including the original Civilization and a little-known, no free-to-play game called "Net storm". Both of which are pretty old, by anyone's standards.
Too many to list. They're too old to get any patches, official or 3rd party. Some of these are so old, they do system info checks (I have to fool some of them into thinking I'm running a Voodoo or some other pre-historic graphics card, and the GTX 460 still plays nice surprisingly).
Edited by Am* - 3/3/11 at 7:39am
    
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post #10 of 31

Xonar D1. I almost flipped out of my chair when I saw the Xtreme Gamer for 80 pounds. Who in their right mind would ever pay for that. It's worth 30 American dollars. Which is like...15 pounds?


47 pounds.

You could almost get a D2 for the price of that silly Creative you've posted.

I know you had bad experience with the DG, but the D1 is a completely different card.

If you really must grab a Creative for who knows what reason, at least find it MUCH cheaper..


Like that (lol, it's more expensive than a D1, hilarious).
Edited by Simca - 3/3/11 at 7:42am
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