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)
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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A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
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