Creative Labs SoundBlaster X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
Creative Labs SoundBlaster X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS
  • Expert Rating

    4.50 / 5

Pros

  • Sounds incredible

Cons

  • Pricey

Bottom Line

Overall, the SoundBlaster X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS is an impressive piece of hardware that fulfils the key functions of a sound card better than any other consumer product. Hardcore gamers now face the difficult choice: a new graphics card, or an X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS?

Would you buy this?

While many of us appear content with our motherboard's on-board audio, integrated sound drains precious CPU cycles - especially during games using 3D effects. To fix this, Creative has released the SoundBlaster X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS, one of four new sound cards featuring the new X-Fi chipset.

With 51 million transistors and an architecture that has much in common with current graphics processors, the X-Fi chipset is way ahead of existing audio hardware. This means more simultaneous voices and real-time effects, but there's more to it than just games performance.

The X-Fi's flexible architecture allows it to allocate resources dynamically when you switch between Games, Home Entertainment and Audio Production modes. In Games, the card puts its efforts into providing 128-voice support and EAX 5 environmental audio, Home Entertainment mode focuses on surround setups and CD/MP3 enhancements, while Audio production Mode provides recording frequencies from 44.1-96kHz, low-latency and hardware effects processing.

For headphone and two-speaker setups, Creative's new CMSS-3D provides the best "simulated" 3-D audio that we've ever heard, and this feature can be applied to any stereo signal. For example, using this with audio CDs or MP3 files gives them a much wider soundstage (much like Dolby ProLogic II Music).

Another new audio process is the 24-bit Crystalizer, which re-samples audio at 24 bits for a higher dynamic range. However, this is like resizing and sharpening a digital picture - the actual image detail isn't improved. What you're hearing is the volume and attack of audio "transients" (like percussion or plucked strings) being increased, giving music a more "aggressive" feel.

The difference in price between this and the $299 X-Fi Xtreme Music is down to a combination of external and on-board hardware. The X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS comes with a breakout panel for all your audio connectors (though FireWire has been dropped) and a remote control. More importantly, the card has 64MB of XRAM for storing audio data - like a graphics card's texture buffer - which means better performance from games that have been written/patched to take advantage of it (like Battlefield 2 and UT2004).

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?