Soundblaster X-Fi XtremeMusic

Article Index

CPU Utilization

Rightmark's 3DSound test measures CPU load depending on the DirectSound device mode. The program synthetically emulates the main cycle of a typical ingame sound engine while also performing standard DirectSound diagnostics checks for supported EAX versions.

Rightmark 3DSound 2.1
More Audio Analysis

Intel HD Audio                Creative X-Fi
8 Buffers

16 Buffers

24 Buffers

32 Buffers

60 Buffers

Glancing at the plots above, we find that each audio solution is extremely efficient with a minimal impact on CPU usage regardless of how many buffers were used. However, in the end there is an undeniable advantage for the X-Fi XtremeMusic especially considering the fact that the Intel solution cannot support the 60 Buffer test. The scores for the Intel High Definition audio solution show that integrated solutions have come a long way. However, there is no denying that the power of the X-Fi chipset provides dominant performance.

CPU Utilization with Doom 3 - Single Player

Doom 3
id Software's games have long been pushing the limits of 3D graphics. Quake, Quake 2, and Quake 3 were all instrumental in the success of 3D accelerators on the PC. Now, many years later, with virtually every new desktop computer shipping with some sort of 3D accelerator, id is at it again with the visually stunning Doom 3. Like most of id's previous titles, Doom 3 is an OpenGL game that uses extremely high-detailed textures and a ton of dynamic lighting and shadows. We ran this batch of Doom 3 single player benchmarks using a standard timedemo with the game set to its "Low-Quality" mode, at resolutions of 800x600 without anti-aliasing enabled. "Surround" mode was enabled for all benchmarks with EAX enabled and then disabled when possible to determine any impact that feature had upon performance.


Looking at the results, we see that there is no profound performance advantage for the X-Fi XtremeMusic compared to the Integrated Intel High Definition solution. Unfortunately, those gaming with the integrated Intel High Definition audio will have to live without the enhancements EAX brings to this game as it obviously does not support it. Looking at the results, we're pleasantly surprised to find that these enhancements come with a negligible performance hit. Given the audible enhancements, this is certainly a setting worth enabling. Perhaps the pricier versions equipped with 64MB of X-Ram might have more luck in providing a performance differential between the discrete and integrated solutions. Overall, it appears that each solution does an admirable job in minimizing CPU usage, though the X-Fi seems the more lucrative choice thanks to its EAX support.

Tags:  music, X-Fi, sound, Xtreme, XT, eme

Related content