Creative X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro Series
Get better audio from your PC
- Very good sound quality, plenty of filters and settings to play with, ASIO 2.0 support, good 3-D effects for headphone users
- Software takes a long time to install
This card shines for gaming and entertainment, and it's also a good entry point for anyone who wants to start making music on their PC.
Price$ 279.95 (AUD)
PC audio is often taken for granted. Because pretty much every motherboard has an audio chip built-in, most of us don't need to think about what type of sound card we need. However, for keen gamers who rely on sound effects to avoid getting killed, as well as for music connoisseurs who want to hear every frequency with great clarity, a well-rounded sound card is a must.
Creative's X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty is one of those well-rounded cards. It's a PCi Express x1-based card with support for up to eight speakers, and it has optical input and output ports. It's geared more towards gamers — it's the official sound card for the Gaming Championship Series — but it's also got some great features for everyday music playback. It's not cheap, however. At $279.95, it's about the same price as a decent graphics card. However, if you're a gamer then you're already used to spending much more than that on your graphics, so this card should just be the next product in your cutting list for a new system or upgrade.
It really is a great card that can be used effectively for gaming, and also for making music. Its sound quality compared to a high-end motherboard's Realtek High Definition audio codec, for example, is noticeable. You get a lot more warmth in the way the music is portrayed and better flexibility in the filters and volume levels you can employ. One of the card's filters is X-Fi Crystalizer, which is meant to make MP3s sound better and give them more of a dynamic sound. We found that it increased treble and made music sound a lot brighter overall.
Different modes that affect the overall sound of your audio can also be selected, depending on what you're doing. These modes include game, entertainment and audio creation. We found that entertainment mode made music sound hollow, whereas game mode provided a much warmer atmosphere. Audio creation mode offered sound in between these hollow and warm characteristics, and was our preferred mode.
In audio creation mode, you can also use the card's bit-matched playback feature. This ensures that music is played back at the original sample rate it was mastered at. So if you put in a CD, it will play it back at 44.1KHz, instead of up-converting it to 48KHz, for example. With this setting enabled, you'll get the best possible audio quality; music sounds much brighter and better defined.
Conveniently, these modes can be managed automatically, so that if you start a game, game mode will be activated, but once you exit it will go back to audio creation mode.
The card also has a normaliser feature, which gets rid of dramatic volume changes in music, but this isn't a setting we'd recommend using when listening to albums. It becomes more useful if you're playing a lot of old and new songs in the same playlist, which may have vastly different volume levels. But even so, the volume in the quiet areas of tracks will be increased and the volume in the loudest parts of the track will be decreased to maintain the volume level.
Music recorded in analog mode using the card's line input is captured clearly, without any distortion and without any latency issues. If you use a physical audio mixer with your PC (to record live mixes to your PC, for example), you won't notice any lag when you switch from one input on the mixer, to another. The card also has support for ASIO 2.0 programs, for more advanced music creation. There is a vast bank of sounds supplied with the card, including typical piano, guitar and drum samples.
For gaming, the X-Fi supports EAX 5.0, as well as 3-D positional audio through headphones. The latter feature works surprisingly well when you wear headphones for gaming; it'll come in useful for those late night sessions where you don't want to disturb your neighbours. Overall system performance will also benefit from the use of this card, as it will perform all the processing of gaming sounds itself, rather than letting the CPU handle them.
The only drawback of this card is the amount of time it takes to install all its software, which then also requires activation. Apart from that, this card shines for gaming and entertainment, and it's also a good entry point for anyone who wants to start making music on their PC.
Join the newsletter!
LiTMUS LAB Dakota Side Table
Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar
Apple Watch Series 6
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (4th Gen)
Toys for Boys
Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones
Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System
Sony Playstation 5
Bose SoundLink Revolve Bluetooth Speaker
Theragun PRO Percussive Therapy Device
ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14
WD_BLACK™ SN850 NVMe™ SSD
Garmin vívofit® jr. 2
Fender Fullerton Ukele
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch
MSI Modern 14
Lego Mindstorms Robot Inventor
Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush
Fujiflim Instax Square SQ1
Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player
Kindle Paperwhite eReader (10th Gen)
SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String
Dickie Toy Remote Control Mega Crane Set
MSI GE66 Dragonshield Limited Edition
Get your hands on the WD 1TB My Passport Go SSD. Now drop resistant up to 2 Meters.
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo Watch review: A masterclass in imitation
- 2 Google Pixel 5 Review: Soft Reboot
- 3 Google Pixel 4a review: The Goldilocks Google phone
- 4 Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G review: Wrong Number
- 5 LG NANO99 NanoCell 8K TV review: Prestige at a price
Latest News Articles
- Razer's Basilisk x Hyperspeed is 40% off through Amazon
- Logitech dials up great sound and a handy mouse
- New products round-up: Belkin, Bose and Logitech
- Intel launches 11th-gen Tiger Lake CPUs and premium laptop Evo brand
- Razer downsize their optomechanical Huntsman gaming keyboard
PCW Evaluation Team
Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
- iPhone 12 Pro review: The iPhone that’s future proof
- Google Pixel 5 Review: Soft Reboot
- Oppo Watch review: A masterclass in imitation
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?