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Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1

An external X-Fi solution in tests.

September 9, 2008



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RightMark 3D Sound Diagnostics

Device: SB X-Fi Surround 5.1 (ksaud.sys)

Features:
DirectSound 2D Hardware: Yes
DirectSound 3D Hardware: Yes
EAX 1.0: Available
EAX 2.0: Available
EAX 3.0: Available
EAX 4.0: Available

EAX 5.0: N/A

Rates:
dwMinSecondarySampleRate 100
dwMaxSecondarySampleRate 192000

Free buffers stats:
dwFreeHw3DAllBuffers 64
dwFreeHw3DStaticBuffers 64
dwFreeHw3DStreamingBuffers 64
dwFreeHwMixingAllBuffers 64
dwFreeHwMixingStaticBuffers 64
dwFreeHwMixingStreamingBuffers 64

Max buffers stats:
dwMaxHwMixingAllBuffers 65
dwMaxHwMixingStaticBuffers 65
dwMaxHwMixingStreamingBuffers 65
dwMaxHw3DAllBuffers 65
dwMaxHw3DStaticBuffers 65
dwMaxHw3DStreamingBuffers 65

Misc stats:
dwFreeHwMemBytes 0
dwTotalHwMemBytes 0
dwMaxContigFreeHwMemBytes 0
dwUnlockTransferRateHwBuffers 0
dwPlayCpuOverheadSwBuffers 0

The device supports EAX up to 4.0 inclusively and has 64 hardware buffers.

RightMark Audio Analyzer 6.1.2 Tests


Test device SB X-Fi Surround 5.1
Sampling mode 24-bit, 44 kHz
Interface DirectSound
Test chain External loopback (line-out - line-in)
RMAA Version 6.1.2 PRO
   
   
20 Hz - 20 kHz filter ON
Normalize amplitude ON
Level change -0.5 dB / -0.4 dB
Mono mode OFF
Calibration signal, Hz 1000
Polarity inverted/inverted


Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB +0.10, -0.08 Very good
Noise level, dB (A) -96.1 Excellent
Dynamic range, dB (A) 95.9 Excellent
THD, % 0.0046 Very good
THD + Noise, dB (A) -82.7 Good
IMD + Noise, % 0.0077 Excellent
Stereo crosstalk, dB -96.1 Excellent
IMD at 10 kHz, % 0.0075 Excellent
General performance   Excellent

Detailed report.


Test device SB X-Fi Surround 5.1
Sampling mode 24-bit, 48 kHz
Interface DirectSound
Test chain External loopback (line-out - line-in)
RMAA Version 6.1.2 PRO
   
   
20 Hz - 20 kHz filter ON
Normalize amplitude ON
Level change 0.1 dB / 0.2 dB
Mono mode OFF
Calibration signal, Hz 1000
Polarity inverted/inverted


Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB +0.05, -0.03 Excellent
Noise level, dB (A) -96.5 Excellent
Dynamic range, dB (A) 92.4 Very good
THD, % 0.0031 Very good
THD + Noise, dB (A) -86.5 Good
IMD + Noise, % 0.0052 Excellent
Stereo crosstalk, dB -96.1 Excellent
IMD at 10 kHz, % 0.0051 Excellent
General performance   Excellent

Detailed report.

Our RMAA tests in the loopback mode confirm the rated specifications of the device.

Conclusions

Without a doubt, X-Fi Surround 5.1 is a mainstream solution designed for watching movies with 5.1-channel sound and listening to music with X-Fi effects. It is less suitable for gamers and audiophiles.

Note the pleasing bonus of EAX4.0 support in games using DirectSound and OpenAL, as well as the ALchemy technology that reanimates 3D sound in Windows Vista.


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Page 1: Design, specs, control panel

Page 2: Diagnostics, tests, conclusions



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