View Poll Results: Do you want us to add Creative Xi-Fi on future boards?

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  • Hell Yeah!

    28 50.91%
  • sure, why not

    12 21.82%
  • dont care really... :P

    4 7.27%
  • nooOoOOOOooOo

    11 20.00%
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Thread: QuantumForce goes Creative Xi-Fi

  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yukon Trooper View Post
    The X-Fi logo would definitely sell you more boards, and it is still the better gaming chip, regardless of the lack of hardware acceleration. Hardware acceleration would be awesome, though. Perhaps the software solution for low-end and hardware acceleration for high-end? Wishful thinking?
    how do you mean? we only make high end boards so then we SHOULD offer hardware acceleration... the thing is that this would increase costs a LOT, and not all people will want this soundcard... so in this case it would make more sense to just bundle the board with a xifi soundcard...

    Quote Originally Posted by crazy1323 View Post
    Could this possibly be going in the X58 Quantum Force.....

    In all honesty, I think most people would prefer the extra PCIe X1 slot rather than a slot that would only accept a Foxconn card. Unless you meant a card that is software locked and not a specific slot.

    I personally do not mind buying an extra audio card. My theory has always been as follows:
    buy speakers from people who only make speakers
    buy Monitors from people who only make monitors ect..
    yeah, even if the card we make works on other boards, we couldnt really guarantee it does... and if its a foxconn only solution making it an expensive one isnt a good idea imo. having a real xifi solution with full hw acceleration for all the sound features is a lil bit of an investment, and then having that investment stuck to one board or one series of boards isnt that nice...

    not to mention again that quite some people dont really care or definately dont want this solution, which doesnt mean theyd boycott the board if we do use creative, but they sure dont want to pay a bonus for it...

    about buying hw only from a mfc who doesnt do anything else...
    im affraid this is almost impossible with hw nowadays, depends on how you define it though... there are large contract manufacturers like foxconn and palit and pcpartner etc who produce a huge percentage of todays hardware for all the different companies who then sell it as their own branded stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by naokaji View Post
    how about scrap onboard sound completly and bundle a regular pcie x1 sound card with the board?
    exactly!
    BUT, a sond card costs notably more than adding our own soundcard or onboard sound... notably! so then again it would mean 25$ more for the cheapest sound card with barely any improvements on sound quality or having even worse sound, or 50$+ more for an improvement in sound quality, BUT... how many people wana spend an extra 50$?

    Quote Originally Posted by negev View Post
    saaya, i guess it really depends on what you're trying to do. Are you trying to sell as many boards as possible (to anyone) or are you trying to make the ultimate xtreme enthusiast board?

    If you want to sell boards, X-Fi on the packaging will no doubt increase sales.

    If you want to create the ultimate enthusiast board, then get rid of onboard sound as all the extreme enthusiasts will get a card anyway.
    well said! that brings it all to the point... the goal is of course to achieve both...

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by saaya View Post
    how do you mean? we only make high end boards so then we SHOULD offer hardware acceleration... the thing is that this would increase costs a LOT, and not all people will want this soundcard... so in this case it would make more sense to just bundle the board with a xifi soundcard..
    Do you not have different tiers for the same platform, even though they are all high-end?

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  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yukon Trooper View Post
    Do you not have different tiers for the same platform, even though they are all high-end?
    so far we dont, but i think we should have different versions of the board.
    at least one full blown feature version and one cost reduced version with the basic features for those who dont care.

  4. #29
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    I see. A software X-Fi solution would still be fantastic, considering how powerful today's CPU's are. Very good marketing as well. As far as I know, you guys will be the first to implement such a solution, correct?

    Hardware would be killer, though. But I'll shut up about that now.

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  5. #30
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    I for one like the onboard sound solution removed, with a pci-e 1x card bundled in. I like the empty backplate look with only usb, nics, and esata ports. :p

  6. #31
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    not exactly related but is there any chance of a dedicated NIC with cash, it would lower pings and since its an enthusiast/gamer platform it would be great
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  7. #32
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    can you overclock it

    dont care really unless it helps overclocking
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  8. #33
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    hey Saaya,

    Instead of polling us to see whether we want the x-fi chip on a new board, why don't you poll everyone to see **what sound solution they use** (i.e. onboard or a card) and then you'll know what to do

    If everyone uses x-fi cards, then there's not much point in having any onboard sound..

    Also if you decide to bundle an x-fi with the board, you'll also need to make a non-bundled version as many people will already have x-fi's..
    Last edited by negev; 09-19-2008 at 12:49 AM.
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  9. #34
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    So the audio won't be a true X-fi. It will be a dumbed down X-fi using an old SBLive chip, much like Creative's X-fi Xtreme Audio(Over glorified Audigy???) So creative can call it an x-fi to sell more to unsuspecting people thinking they are in fact getting a X-fi. And now you want to follow in their steps and put an "X-fi" onboard to help sell it, when it doesn't really have a X-fi.

    I sure as hell wouldn't use it. I already have a X-fi, the real one.( I can has Dolby Digital Live!, EAX 5.0, etc) If you bundled a real one I would pull my existing X-fi out and use the one that came with the board. If you put in a cheap knockoff, I would leave it in its box, same place the card that came with my Blackops is. Much like any other enthusiast( You are selling these to enthusiasts right?) would. So why bother wasting money on a cheap, but slightly better audio solution? Put that money towards the board. Make it better.

    If you ain't first, your last!

    Update:
    Wow, SB Live!, EMU10K1 chip. You do realize this chip came out way back in 98 right? I have a SB Live! 5.1 in my closet somewhere. they then milked it with the Audigy series. If you are going to waste your time with this chip, at least make sure it is the EMU10K1 and not the EMU10K1X, which was a cut down version( I keep seeing this with Creative... ) or the SB Live 24-bit , which was a stripped down Audigy Value that didn't even have the EMU10K1 chip..
    Last edited by Broken; 09-19-2008 at 01:47 PM.
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    @Saaya: the audio quality of the Creative Emu-Chips does NOT, I repeat NOT depend on whether it is called Audigy, Live! or X-Fi. It does NOT depend on the Chip either, it depends on the DACs / ADCs which are NOT part of the chip.
    These digital/analog converters are what has been upgraded the most between the old Live! series and the current Audigy generation, and since they´ve reached an almost even quality among all cards produced these days by creative it is no wonder why a "cheap" card sounds as good as an "expensive" one with a completely different chip on it - their digital audio is processed by the same chips and then sent to your speakers.

    Don´t be fooled by creative, the real X-Fi chips are more expensive because they are more powerful, a completely new design from the old EMU-series (you can easily spot it, all new designs are BGA chips whereas the old ones are standard surface mounted), and they have MORE features than the audio series, not the other way around like they told you.

    BTW, all features can be enabled via software which has time and again been proven by hackers (i.e. Dolby Digital decoding works on every Audigy under Vista, as well as CMSS works on most Live! cards, as do EAX4&5 (in software ofcourse, like on an Extreme Audio) - the list goes on forever).

    If you just want good sound quality and do not care for accelerated audio - skip Creative altogether and turn elsewhere. For Enthusiast audio quality use good ADCs/DACs and you´re all set. Doesn´t matter what card is behind it, it just depends on the components used in the conversion of the signal and amplification stage.

    If you want to build a board for gamers, use a full-blown X-Fi chip or leave it out completely. There´s no other choice.

  11. #36
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    I discussed your comments and feedback with the team and we decided to go for the software solution!
    Our sonar card is pretty damn good, and there really isnt much sense in dropping it for an old creative chip that is about the same or inferior to our sonar card while costing a bunch more.

    now what does this software solution mean?
    • We will use the same add-in SONAR soundcard as on the blackops and avenger, its very low profile/short and will not occupy a pciE x1 slot!
    • We will use a slightly updated codec from realtek, the latest one, which supports more features (Dolby DTS etc) and is a tad more powerful.
    • We will offer you a driver that enables CMSS 3D, EAX 4.0 and other creative Xi-fi features
    • We will offer you a SONAR2 sound driver based on the realtek driver, for those of you who dont want to install a creative driver


    So basically nothing really changes, we will provide you guys with a better audio hardware solution, the Sonar2, and we will offer you an optional upgrade to get CMSS 3D, EAX 4.0 and other Creative XiFi features via a special driver. For free!

    This solution is a very nice compromise between added cost and added features imo, as the added costs are very small, the added features are entirely optional, and for those who want them, are very useful and appreciated

    what do you guys think?
    Last edited by saaya; 09-21-2008 at 12:28 AM.

  12. #37
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  13. #38
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    PS: the Sonar2 should work in ALL Foxconn QuantumForce and many Foxconn Digital Life Mainboards!
    SO you guys can even upgrade your BlackOps and Avenger Boards and get the more powerful Realtek Codec or even Creative XiFi features on there

  14. #39
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    sorry i took a while to reply to all of you guys, lots of work here...
    Quote Originally Posted by Yukon Trooper View Post
    I see. A software X-Fi solution would still be fantastic, considering how powerful today's CPU's are.
    yeah, thats what i think as well, and considering the low cost of such a software xifi solution there really isnt a down side to this

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruroni View Post
    I for one like the onboard sound solution removed, with a pci-e 1x card bundled in. I like the empty backplate look with only usb, nics, and esata ports. :p
    yeah, i know what you mean... me too, but there are a lot of people who want onboard sound cause its enough for them... and a bundled soundcard or no sound at all in the end mean for those people that our board will cost them a fair bit more than competing boards with onboard sound :/

    a bundled soundcard like the sonar, or the dfi karajan or the asus (forgot the name) are really low cost if you bundle them with every board... i cant post any detailled numbers here, but trust me, the money youd save if wed remove the sound all together would be so small its not really making a difference, but for those people who do want onboard sound it would be a relatively big loss.

    Quote Originally Posted by zanzabar View Post
    not exactly related but is there any chance of a dedicated NIC with cash, it would lower pings and since its an enthusiast/gamer platform it would be great
    you mean cache?
    mhhhh is that really usefull? how would it lower the ping?
    is there a NIC solution with cache?
    I was looking for a way to get better and faster NIC solutions since it really makes a difference when your gaming... but everybody only has the usual 1gbit NICs... some support teaming, thats the only special feature that i could find

    Quote Originally Posted by HDCHOPPER View Post
    can you overclock it

    dont care really unless it helps overclocking
    weeeeelll not really...
    but we dis-integrated the entire sound-circuit onto a seperate add in card, which reduces noise inside the pcb and helps overclocking. so by having an add in soundcard by itself its helping overclocking, or at least makes sure it doesnt stand in its way. plus we use the HDA bus and not pci or usb or pciE etc, hence audio should work fine even when overclocking to high speeds

    Quote Originally Posted by negev View Post
    hey Saaya,
    Instead of polling us to see whether we want the x-fi chip on a new board, why don't you poll everyone to see **what sound solution they use** (i.e. onboard or a card) and then you'll know what to do
    good point!, let me go and open one right away


    Quote Originally Posted by Broken View Post
    So the audio won't be a true X-fi. It will be a dumbed down X-fi using an old SBLive chip, much like Creative's X-fi Xtreme Audio(Over glorified Audigy???) So creative can call it an x-fi to sell more to unsuspecting people thinking they are in fact getting a X-fi. And now you want to follow in their steps and put an "X-fi" onboard to help sell it, when it doesn't really have a X-fi.
    Quote Originally Posted by Broken View Post
    If you ain't first, your last!
    hear hear... thats why i left cellshock and joined foxconn, there are engineers and employees from abit dfi msi asus and gigabyte here, and they really have the spirit to be the first in the oc segment

    Quote Originally Posted by hrahn View Post
    @Saaya: the audio quality of the Creative Emu-Chips does NOT, I repeat NOT depend on whether it is called Audigy, Live! or X-Fi. It does NOT depend on the Chip either, it depends on the DACs / ADCs which are NOT part of the chip.
    These digital/analog converters are what has been upgraded the most between the old Live! series and the current Audigy generation, and since they´ve reached an almost even quality among all cards produced these days by creative it is no wonder why a "cheap" card sounds as good as an "expensive" one with a completely different chip on it - their digital audio is processed by the same chips and then sent to your speakers.

    Don´t be fooled by creative, the real X-Fi chips are more expensive because they are more powerful, a completely new design from the old EMU-series (you can easily spot it, all new designs are BGA chips whereas the old ones are standard surface mounted), and they have MORE features than the audio series, not the other way around like they told you.

    BTW, all features can be enabled via software which has time and again been proven by hackers (i.e. Dolby Digital decoding works on every Audigy under Vista, as well as CMSS works on most Live! cards, as do EAX4&5 (in software ofcourse, like on an Extreme Audio) - the list goes on forever).

    If you just want good sound quality and do not care for accelerated audio - skip Creative altogether and turn elsewhere. For Enthusiast audio quality use good ADCs/DACs and you´re all set. Doesn´t matter what card is behind it, it just depends on the components used in the conversion of the signal and amplification stage.

    If you want to build a board for gamers, use a full-blown X-Fi chip or leave it out completely. There´s no other choice.
    wow, you sure seem to know about soundcards, thanks for the headsup!
    well how about the software solution then? im sure our hardware, the sonar cards, are pretty damn good and adding the xifi features is only a gain, not a loss... or would you disagree?
    since you seem to know a lot about audio in general, can you recommend me a website that could test and review our audio solution?
    Im really convinced its a very good piece of hardware and want it proven, OR, otherwise have an expert source to point out what needs to be improved to THEN ultimately have a very nice sound solution

  15. #40
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    Hi Saaya,
    I´m really "only" an audio enthusiast when it comes to PCs, but on a moderate budget. It all started really with a Roland LAPC1 card and then I got hooked by the technically advanced Gravis Ultrasound enjoying 16 hardware mixable stereo channels with zero cpu load while all Sound Blaster 16 owners drooled over their single stereo channel

    I do not know any audio review site atm I would really trust, I buy cards and evualuate them myself on the hardware I have (Microsoft Digital Sound System 80 to simulate a good pair of stereo desktop speakers, Plantronics 350 headset for the usual gaming tests, and a Technics SA-TX50 with two Visaton Vox 200 speakers for audio listening. For surround tests, an active woofer and a few Canton Plus XL are being hooked up to the Technics as well, sometimes I can get my hands on the Teufel Concept E Magnum of a friend (for surround gaming tests).
    It´s all not top-of-the-notch stuff, but usually two to three steps above the things the masses are using, and more than enough to find most sound quality problems that may arise (i.e. distortion, compression, humming, general clarity (the VOXes really made me hate some of my old CDs, since on them you can already hear the difference between a good and a bad recording).

    Testing sound cards in a studio and with proper equipment can give you raw numbers which are good for marketing, but it doesn´t say anything about the "feel" of the sound.
    P.ex. most people I know leave CMSS3D and the Crystalizer switched on on their X-Fi cards, though both greatly change the way a recording sounds, even going as far as to add audible distortion. But many people do at least prefer the pseudo fuller, richer sound CMSS3D delivers.


    So to cut it short: If you want the card reviewed well, just look for sites which have already in the past given favorable reviews to the likes of Asus Xonar or Via Envy-based offerings - their reviewers are potentially not too swayed in favor of Creative cards which are seen by many as a total must-have for gaming and therefore praised above anything else, despite their abysmal drivers and shady marketing practices.
    Search for a sites who do more than just "gaming" tests, who also do DVD playback and - most important - music tests, preferably also with classical music and Jazz. Pop music and Metal is too compressed these days, too tinny to really evaluate the quality of a good soundcard, or any sound output device for that matter. (not that I don´t like the music styles, I´m a metalhead at heart, but the recordings from the past 10 years are... lacking).

    If you want to try some good music yourselves, I recommend discs from Chesky records (www.chesky.com), they also had some audio test CDs, don´t know if they´re still offering them.

    I am sorry that I can´t give you any better advice, but to my knowledge, 100% of the audiophile magazine sector only features bought reviews and hypes completely non-working or overblown products in an attempt to cash on the unknowing wanna-be audiophile (have you ever seen how high the margins are in high-end cable manufacturing? If you´re low on cash, make some "innovative" new cables... you´ll be driving Porsches in no-time).
    De-magnetizing CDs, yeah, sure...
    Therefore, from the view of any pc hardware maufacturer, I can NOT recommend sending in your sound card to any sound-only-review-site, unless it has:
    - an rf shield which hides any potentially interesting chips and is not removable without breaking the card
    - high end bamboo capacitors made by tiny little japanese wizards in their huts along the coastline
    - gold plated everythings
    - at least 6,3mm headphone and microphone jacks, better yet a panel with symmetrical XLR outputs for every single channel. Even better, make the whole card external, with just a small internal board connecting to the PCIe bus for higher bandwith and clearer audio (all signals are being sent 4 times to insure the data is valid when it reaches the card, the card muxes the 3 best signals at any given time to create the perfect output signal)
    - if you have any amplification circuits on the card, use a battery to power them to remove any humming from the power supply.

    If you follow there rules,and put a price tag higher than 1000$ on it, a high score in any audio magazine will be guaranteed!

    If you want to make a good sound card which appeals both to gamers and music lovers, you seem to be on the right track.
    Please consider only using solid capacitors with very tight specs on this card.
    Considering the EAX software route, you seem to have found a great way of adding features without adding cost. Normally, I recommend doing everything in hardware (i am an efficiency junkie), but these days, with quad cores starting at just over 100€ a piece, I think it´s reasonable to offload some stuff onto the CPU.
    Last edited by hrahn; 09-22-2008 at 12:00 PM.

  16. #41
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    hrahn, thanks!

    well i do trust xbit in their sound reviews... and i read a nice review some months ago comparing some new version of the asus xonar with other sound cards, and they did both rightmark tests as well as subjective tests with 5 people iirc, and then added something like 3/5 preferred X and said it delivers a more clear sound etc etc. unfortunately i dont remember what site this review was on and havent been able to find it again :/

    i totally agree, even if your solution does well in the lab, it doesnt mean your customers will actually like it. while labs might complain about overblown and distorted base sounds, that might exactly be what the customers like...

    Anyways, thanks a lot for the suggestions, ill check if xbit or some other decent audio review site can check out how good of a job our engineers did

    and yes, when i worked for cellshock my office/lab building was right next to Oelbach, so i DO know how much money you can make with high end audio and video (HDMI) cables

    If you want to make a good sound card which appeals both to gamers and music lovers, you seem to be on the right track.
    Please consider only using solid capacitors with very tight specs on this card.
    Considering the EAX software route, you seem to have found a great way of adding features without adding cost. Normally, I recommend doing everything in hardware (i am an efficiency junkie), but these days, with quad cores starting at just over 100€ a piece, I think it´s reasonable to offload some stuff onto the CPU.
    thanks again
    and yes, looking at how many cores people have idling is just nuts, using 5% of one of those idle cores really wont hurt. and since the lkatest games still dont use all cores completely, we should only see a single fps or so lost due to the cpu spending some few cycles on the audio, probabaly not even that

    about the caps, all i know is that we use ultra low ESR caps... whatever that means :P

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