Creative's New X-Fi Audio Processor@ 2005/05/10
There's been quite a bit of buzz surrounding Intel's HD Audio specification, which debuted with the 925/915 (Alderwood/Grantsdale) chipsets, and for baseline audio functionality, these solutions can be adequate. Some even have S/PDIF output so PC audio stays in the digital domain, and doesn't pick up noise from the motherboard. But for serious audio enthusiasts or home studio engineers, a dedicated sound card is the only way to go.
Creative's "EMU10K2.5" architecture that powers current-generation Audigy 2 ZS cards is a derivative of the original EMU10K1 audio processor found on the Sound Blaster Live, which debuted seven years ago. That's a long time to go between major architectural overhauls, but Creative is the only company left doing hardware audio acceleration. Even so, the company is pressing ahead with an aggressive new architecture called X-Fi, with which the company intends to deliver "Xtreme Fidelity." The X-Fi is poised to bring huge tracts of audio processing horsepower to the PC, delivering new levels of audio effects in games, and enabling very versatile digital audio workstations. Today, we'll take you through the inner workings of this new audio powerhouse, and show you how X-Fi could well reshape the PC audio landscape