Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 External USB sound card
Reviewed by: Shatteredzman
Manufacturer : Creative
Model: X-FI external
Specs: 5.1 surround sound
Manufacturer website: www.creative.com
Purchased at: www.newegg.com
Pros: Sounds great.
Waste of time. Does not work with centrafuse, crappy bundled software, hibernation issues. 2/10
I needed an external sound card since my carpc is a dellsx260 and only comes with a single audio out port. Little did I know what a nightmare I was walking into when I bought the card.
When I opened the box the card looked nice and was well designed. It has a tough outer case made out of some type of metal and is very sturdy. I thought I was in for a enjoyable experience but I was wrong. I popped in the driver CD and had to unclick 10+ programs I did not want to install. After getting the software installed I plugged in the sound card and it didnt work... So I reinstalled it with the card being plugged in and things started working. But something funny happened, I had plugged in the head unit to the card for an AM/FM radio using the Line In port and it always played what was comming from my radio. There was no setting to change this so I reinstalled while leaving it unplugged. After that centrafuse would only play it when I pressed the radio button so that was working fine.
After getting done reinstalling the software several times I started testing the audio capabilities of the card. The first problem I had was that there was hardly any bass. After messing with the settings for a bit I found a setting that for whatever reason increased the volume of my bass and everything sounded great. One good thing about this card is that when it worked it sounded GREAT!
Once I had everything setup I did some test runs and hibernated the computer, the sound card has a long delay when resuming from hibernation so I had to delay centrafuse from resuming before the sound card drivers... Things soon went down hill. Blue screen of death, Blue screen of death, Blue screen of death! This thing was crashing my computer every 5 minutes. I couldnt drive around the block without this thing crashing my computer. I figured it might be something with the computer so I tried the card with another computer that had a clean install of windows and the same thing happened. I downloaded the most recent drivers hoping to fix the issue but things just got worse. Now ontop of frequent crashes I had static in my audio and my cpu load was always at 100% causing lots of lag.
Overall I faught with this card for about 4 days before I RMA'd it. This card is junk, I dont know if its just a software issue but something isnt right about this card. I wish it would of worked because the sound quality was just amazing. I ended up buying a Creative Sound Blaster LIVE! 24-bit USB external sound card and it worked great with no problems so far but it does not sound as good as the X-FI.