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X-Fi Xtreme: are any particular editons good or bad? Windows drivers post XP?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

EDIT: card is gone so the questions are moot, but thanks to Nameless for the quick history lesson below, it's much appreciated!


There is a small possibility that I could get an X-Fi xtreme for approx €30-€35, I need to find out which version it is, but I have questions anyway as I've actually no idea if these cards are worth having. I would install the card in an old system, uses I have in mind would be retro gaming, some music listening , and some TV watching.


Is there any driver support for Windows 7 & 8, even if only 3rd party drivers like DanielK's?


Is there good (or any) support in Linux?


Which versions have EAX 5.0?


Should any particular versions of the X-Fi Xtreme be avoided? are any particularly sought after?






Edited by IanM - 2/13/13 at 6:34am
post #2 of 4

XtremeAudio cards are a waste of money, as they're not true X-Fi cards due to not having the actual DSP. Thus, no EAX 5, no actual hardware sound acceleration, etc.


XtremeMusic and XtremeGamer variants, on the other hand, are decent cards for gaming, though the sound quality's a bit behind the likes of the Auzentech X-Fi cards and the Titanium HD. You could circumvent that with an S/PDIF DAC if you wanted to, though.


Linux support is pretty bare-bones, but at least the cards work in Linux these days. Many years ago, you had to jump through all kinds of hoops with compiling drivers and crap like that, but as of the last few years, your typical Ubuntu-based distro will recognize all of them from the get-go. Just don't expect much besides basic playback and recording.


I generally use Daniel_K's X-Fi Support Pack for all non-Titanium HD cards. Works like a charm, at least on Windows 7. I don't recall anything wrong with it on the Windows 8 Release Preview, but I have no intentions of downgrading to Win8 any time soon.


That said, if you have retrogaming on your mind and you're installing it into an older computer, why Win7/8? You'll probably have less issues with certain older games and drivers for older hardware in general running XP, even if Win7 is by far a better day-to-day usage OS.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thanks :) I was really hoping that you might answer as you really seem to know your X-Fi's (I also just bought a Titanium HD in preference to ZXR based on your discussion in your binaural thread - I wanted the HD also for some retro games but on a newer system, iirc you said that where supported the software effects aren't quite as good as the original hardware driven version, and that suits me fine as I buy most of my games on gog.com)


I don't have an XP licence, hence the question about drivers. I may be able to use an unused Windows 7 licence though as I might have one spare.


I'll see if I get a look at the card tomorrow and see which one it is, I'll definitely leave it if it's an xtremeaudio. It may even be one of the newer fatality cards with EMU20K2, I assume that's still a 'proper' X-Fi compared to the original EMU20K1s?


This whole idea is really spur of the moment to re use an old system that was otherwise destined to be dismantled and disposed of. If the available X-Fi card was already sold to someone else then I won't lose any sleep over it.



EDIT: this no longer matters because the card was sold, but useful info anyway. Thanks again.

Edited by IanM - 2/13/13 at 6:35am
post #4 of 4

The EMU20k2 is just the PCI-Express version of the X-Fi DSP/APU, while the EMU20k1 is the original PCI interface version. Can't go wrong with either one.


Also note that "EMU20k*" and "CA20k*" are used interchangeably.


While the card you were looking at got sold, it wouldn't hurt to look around eBay or other places if you're still in the market for one. If the sellers put up pictures, a dead giveaway for a proper PCI X-Fi card is that the DSP will be covered by a heatsink. This doesn't quite hold true for the PCIe models, but there are fewer of those to keep track of, making it easier to shop around.

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