First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
Creative Labs SoundBlaster X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS
- Sounds incredible
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?
Price$ 699.00 (AUD)
Buy now (Selling at 5 stores)
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).
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GGG Evaluation Team
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
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