SBLive! X-Gamer Digital or Dump?
Nov 28, 2000
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Great Audio, Good Software, Surround Sound, EAX, Free Games.
Cons:It's Digital with a catch, Digital Mini-Jack with no Wire.
Sound Blaster Live X-Gamer, well this sounds pretty impressive right? Wrong. This is just another version of the Sound Blaster Live Value with a tiny adjustment. Whatís the adjustment you wonder, itís a digital input jack. Donít be confused like I was though, this input is not the standard version that you would get with a full blown SBLive! Itís a cheap Mini-jack substitute. Now I own a set of the Cambridge Four Point Surround 2000 speakers, which are digitally enabled. ( I reviewed them in the hardware/speaker section) These speakers are excellent, regardless of the digital input but however they are digital and thatís what they should be run as. Lucky for me I only bought the X-Gamer for another one of my machines, and I had a full blown SB Live! To keep those speakers humming brilliantly. The problem being with this mini-jack is there is no wire included in the box. Creative makes this wonderful new addition, and who can use it? Not to many. I hear that the new FPS2000 speakers are coming with the wire needed, but for the people with existing systems, that were maybe to tight for cash to buy a SBLive! With digital input there is a different path you must take. First off, if you are lucky enough to have a radio shack with this wire, then itís your lucky day. If you are unlucky as I am you must call Creative and they will be happy to ship one to you free of charge, the catch is it takes around a month. Ok enough sour grapes.
Recommend this product?
The card itself is a generic PCI card, it has a audio processor on it which is called the EMU10K1. This gives hardware acceleration to major game sound software calls, such as Environmental Audio and Direct Sound. It is indeed analog and digital for a cheap price, and comes with Live!Ware which is upgradeable drivers and software. The setup CD is pretty easy, do a custom install if you donít want to have all of their stuff, its nice to check it out once but if you reinstall I recommend you omit the things you donít use. It comes with a decent gaming bundle, Descent 3, Need for Speed 4: High Stakes, and Thief: The Dark Project. These are all excellent games a little aged but still great games.
Overall itís a great card since itís the SBLive! Family, and it is at a good price. However the digital addition is not a full blown one: hence the cheap price. Beware of the wiring, and you will be fine. It stacks up very well to any other card, and will be top of the game until they decide to make a new one.
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