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The Creative X-Fi Scandal
The Creative X-Fi Scandal Published by Regeneration and RingWraith on May 2nd, 2006

Back in the summer of 05', Creative announced about a new revolutionary X-Fi audio processor that was supposed to change how our games sound. They said it would be a very powerful audio processor with a 51 million transistor chip. They also introduced many new features and claimed that it would be a breakthrough in multimedia audio. After Creative released their new X-Fi lineup many users complained about the following issues:

* Popping and crackling noises.
* Incompatibilities with nForce3/4 based motherboards.
* Blue screen of death.
* Hard lockups and strange behavior.

The media around the world already covered it and revealed all these issues many months ago. Creative even confirmed some of these issues. Today after many months, we did a little research to find out what has happened since then. We found out that only a few manufacturers have released BIOS updates to solve some of these issues. Creative has made a mysterious firmware upgrade that cannot be found on their website, and some users claimed it killed their card. According to users in their forums, most of the effected consumers are STILL having issues with the X-Fi series. Just look at how many results you get when you search for "X-Fi issues" in google.

Most Sound Blaster users are already familiar with the lack of software updates from Creative. I remember it personally when I used to own an SB Live! And it seems that Creative is continuing to go down this road. The last official software update from creative came in November 05'. Yes you heard it right, the last update came SIX MONTHS AGO and that's after many websites and magazines critized Creative for these issues.

Creative is a big company with an even bigger budget. How come they never tested their own products in many combinations of systems before they released it? What kind of professionalism is that? How could a "respected" company release broken products to the market? nForce4 is currently one of the most popular chipsets on the AMD market and Creative is dealing with audio for many years! Why are they not releasing software updates every 1-3 months? What kind of software dept. do they have there?

That shows us how much they care. Their customers are spending hundreds of dollars for their products and they rarely do anything to solve these kinds of critical issues. We're talking about hundreds and even thousands of complaining users, not ten users. Today we tested a Creative X-Fi XtremeMusic on an ASUS A8N-SLI with the latest software/BIOS updates and we encountered crackling noise issues and somehow our Operating System locked up when we tried to reboot.

Why is Creative not doing much to solve these issues? Because they don't have to! They have a lot of deals with game developers which keep optimizing their software for Creative products due to the lack of competitors. Creative became a monopoly because people wanted to use EAX and thought that using onboard audio took too much CPU time.

Creative users have been complaining for almost 6-7 months and they are not doing much to help them. It's time to do something about it. This has passed every red line and is far from "acceptable". Unfortunately, Creative will keep walking down their road, even after million of articles like this. If we want to teach them a lesson for selling broken products we will have to stop purchasing their products and if you ask me, they deserve it because of their horrible treatment to their customers. There are many alternatives out there like: Realtek, Auzentech and many others. The only thing you will have to give up is EAX 3/4/5 support. Just for the record, Realtek is releasing software update almost every three weeks. If Creative will start to lose customers drastically, trust me, they will have to compete with the other companies and release software updates and fix their bugs.

We expect a lot more from a company that has been in the audio industry for many years and considered as a "leader". What has the world come to when you purchase a "broken" product for hundreds of dollars and the manufacturer doesn't give a crap.


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