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Creative Sound Blaster Z review

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Harlequin 11th February 2013, 08:01 Quote
and in 18 months time , creative will abadnon the product leaving it with crappy drivers and no support *cough* X-FI*cough*
tonyd223 11th February 2013, 08:27 Quote
agreed - my x-fi is in a box, not in my pc...
Guinevere 11th February 2013, 09:30 Quote
If only Creative weren't totally and utterly abysmal when it comes to long term support*

Their attitude to software sucks. Their methods to distribute software sucks. Their software sucks.

Advice: Never buy anything from Creative.

* Long Term Support = Creative's definition is "Anything over five minutes old is a legacy product"
XXAOSICXX 11th February 2013, 10:38 Quote
I'd love to see some evidence which shows that dedicated sound cards come with more stable drivers.

My Creative piece-of-s**t X-FI card was utterly abysmal and I constantly had to bounce back and forth between different driver versions to get games to work without horrendous clicks, pops and latency problems.

My Asus Xonar didn't last too long either, requiring me to run beta drivers in a 64-bit environment and, again, the need to go from one driver version to the next depending on which game I was playing (Battlefield 2 especially had problems with the Xonar).

Since then I've ditched the dedicated cards and settled for the lowly on-board audio chip (Realtek) on my Asus motherboard..and guess what...no switching drivers, no cracks, pops, glitches or latency.

Creative make piss poor products and always have done. I would question whether or not this review (and this reviewer) actually used the SB-Z card in any meaningful fashion, because it seems that the pretty red housin and the completely pointless EQ-effects in the bloat-ware the card comes with are enough to warrant a high score and a recommendation.

I'll never, ever buy from Creative (Labs) again.
rollo 11th February 2013, 10:57 Quote
Think the price point is too high for most to consider.

Asus sound card is £20-£30 less and has long term support from the company. Most creative products support does not last more than 18months.
hoochy 11th February 2013, 11:10 Quote
I recently bought one of these to replace the on board audio from my motherboard. This was my first dedicated sound card and I have not been dissapointed. I have used them with both my creative T20 speakers and AKG headphones.

I'm a little concerned now at the above comments regarding creatives driver support etc. but I have had no issues this far. I would recommend the card - it also comes with a dedicated mic - to enthusiasts but make your own mind up about creative support.
Guinevere 11th February 2013, 11:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by hoochy
I I would recommend the card - it also comes with a dedicated mic - to enthusiasts but make your own mind up about creative support.

Of course you'd recommend it, it's a fresh purchase so you've got that 'Shiny Toy!' glint to your eyes and more importantly you've never been through the agro of having a 'not brand new' creative card become a dreadful time wasting piece of badly supported crap because Creative can't (or won't) write decent drivers and keep those drivers up to date.
impar 11th February 2013, 11:28 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by hoochy
I recently bought one of these to replace the on board audio from my motherboard. This was my first dedicated sound card and I have not been dissapointed.
Wait some years. You will then understand the comments posted above.
Harlequin 11th February 2013, 11:31 Quote
16/06/10>16/02/11>25/01/13

same driver , same patch notes , only certified for different OS , no changes or updates or fixes


thats for the X-FI
Jimbob 11th February 2013, 11:38 Quote
After getting stung buying an X-Fi (which sits in it's box) I'd never buy anything from them again even ifit was £20.
sotu1 11th February 2013, 12:12 Quote
Looks gorgeous though.
hoochy 11th February 2013, 13:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinevere
Of course you'd recommend it, it's a fresh purchase so you've got that 'Shiny Toy!' glint to your eyes and more importantly you've never been through the agro of having a 'not brand new' creative card become a dreadful time wasting piece of badly supported crap because Creative can't (or won't) write decent drivers and keep those drivers up to date.

This may be true but I personally have enjoyed it thus far. If in time I feel it is causing problems, then lesson learnt. Shame this review was not out (and the following comments above) prior to me buying as it now feels like I have bought a dud. Oh well.
Pete J 11th February 2013, 13:04 Quote
Yup, another here who finds Creative a shoddy company. I recently found that my soundcard stopped working because of the automatically installed latest software.

Whenever I get around to building a new rig (at least a couple of years!) I'll be using an Asus card instead.
Harlequin 11th February 2013, 13:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by hoochy
This may be true but I personally have enjoyed it thus far. If in time I feel it is causing problems, then lesson learnt. Shame this review was not out (and the following comments above) prior to me buying as it now feels like I have bought a dud. Oh well.

the card will be fine , and in fact there are some really good thrid party drivers - but thats it , they are third party drivers PAX drivers which add teh feature set back in - but why do users have to search for working drivers , when creative themselves should be doing this!
Woodspoon 11th February 2013, 13:28 Quote
Wow, I must be in the minority, I've got an X-fi and I like it admittedly getting, installing, updating or anything to do with the drivers or software is a real pain, but once in and set up the card's good.

Not convinced as to why this card needs a red metal shroud with a window on to the chip, seems a bit pointless.
hoochy 11th February 2013, 13:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harlequin
the card will be fine , and in fact there are some really good thrid party drivers - but thats it , they are third party drivers PAX drivers which add teh feature set back in - but why do users have to search for working drivers , when creative themselves should be doing this!

This is good to know. Would there be a benefit of me swapping to 3rd party drivers now or sticking with the creative ones until I (seem I inevitably will) run into problems?
Andy Mc 11th February 2013, 13:41 Quote
I stopped caring about Creative products after the original Audigy. Their windows driver support went downhill and Linux support became non-existent.
Deders 11th February 2013, 13:59 Quote
Not that I like Creative's business practices or support but my X-FI is still going strong, not had driver problems for a good few years now.
stupido 11th February 2013, 14:36 Quote
My XtreameGamer is also OK, whether in Win (8 now, Vista before) or Linux (latest Kubuntu)...

and yes, there is a very noticeable difference on my Roccat Kave between on-board (Realtek ALC889A) and (cheap) XtreameGamer... (this for the people saying that there is no difference between on-board and dedicated sound card ;)
B1GBUD 11th February 2013, 14:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deders
Not that I like Creative's business practices or support but my X-FI is still going strong, not had driver problems for a good few years now.

I gather you didn't try the Windows 8 consumer preview? because I did and X-FI support was completely lacking. I gather not much has changed now with Windows 8 support?
phuzz 11th February 2013, 15:06 Quote
Wait a minute, if that's supposed to be an EM shield, why does is have a bloody great windows in it?
Deders 11th February 2013, 15:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by B1GBUD
I gather you didn't try the Windows 8 consumer preview? because I did and X-FI support was completely lacking. I gather not much has changed now with Windows 8 support?

Not tried windows 8 yet, drivers and software is always ropey after a new OS release. Will probably wait until I have a suitable device for Windows 8, it doesn't seem like a Desktop OS to me. Anyway I believe the latest X-FI Drivers do add windows 8 support.

Back to the card on review, I'd be interested to know if there is any difference in sound quality or performance with the 3D sounds being processed on chip.
Harlequin 11th February 2013, 15:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by B1GBUD
I gather you didn't try the Windows 8 consumer preview? because I did and X-FI support was completely lacking. I gather not much has changed now with Windows 8 support?


http://support.creative.com/downloads/welcome.aspx?nDriverType=1#type_1

theres your win8 driver - same as win7 and vista , just now whql for win8.

nothing changed in 3 years.
POMLORE 11th February 2013, 15:47 Quote
Have gone from the X-FI Xtreame Gamer Fatality Pro which in my view was a good card for many years to new Z Card.
I must say so far I like the new card, no problems so far and now can have 5.1 speakers and headset plugged in at the same time, just swap inputs with control pannel which is a big improvement on the old card
B1GBUD 11th February 2013, 16:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harlequin
Quote:
Originally Posted by B1GBUD
I gather you didn't try the Windows 8 consumer preview? because I did and X-FI support was completely lacking. I gather not much has changed now with Windows 8 support?


http://support.creative.com/downloads/welcome.aspx?nDriverType=1#type_1

theres your win8 driver - same as win7 and vista , just now whql for win8.

nothing changed in 3 years.

Thanks for that Harlequin, I know it didn't work when I tried the Win8 CP, but I'm sticking with Windows 7 for the foreseeable future.
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