Pros Crisp highs, clear deep lows, awesome EAX effects, outstanding surround sound, $129 board is all you need
Cons No X-Ram, other models overpriced for the same core product.
Summary I used my Asus P4C800-E integrated 5.1 digital soundcard and thought it had great sound. I waited for the X-fi and bought it at Best Buy the other day. Installation was a breeze. The software package is great. Then I played my MP3s, and let me tell you, the sound that came out of my speakers was unbelievable. I never thought my Logitech 5.1 speakers could sound so clear and crisp. All the instruments in the music were rendered precisely. This soundcard made me realize that my speakers are actually pretty good, and the sound quality was strictly related to the soundcard. The games, especially new titles, will play smoother, and sound awesome. The card has three modes including one for gaming, entertainment, and music creation.
If you love to listen to music, watch movies, and play games. The $129 x-fi card will blow you away. This will probably be one of the best investments you made for your pc.
Pros makes even your worst mp3's sound unreal
Cons I had to wait three week for it to come in
Summary I have had this card for a week and it has been the best upgrade to my computer yet. It makes my worst sounding mp3's sound great. I would recommend this card to anyone that like to listen to music. Installation is easy and creative had one driver update that I installed after I loaded everything. I have had no problems with there software and I am running XP media Ed. Believe the hype and buy it!!
Pros The highest quality sound available
Cons None in my opinion
Summary Sound blaster has done it again, they made a better product than the Audigy (1&2) series.
I have this card hooked up to an Altec-Lansing GT-5051 speakers and its just amazing. So crisp, bass is nice and smooth.
I am extremely saisfied with this card and would highly recommened it to any PC user.
Pros Incredible improvement in sound quality
Cons Drivers and software add on to Windows startup
Summary I consider myself an audio enthusiast and bit the dust and upgraded from my Audigy 2 to the Creative X-Fi Xtreme Music when I noticed my local Best Buy clearing those out and replacing them with the cheaper (and inferior) X-Fi Xtreme AUDIO card.
After disabling all the audio enhancments (CMSS-3D, SVM, Crystallizer) all I can say is WOW! On pristine source material, CD's, lossless audio, DVD-A I noticed a HUGE improvement in sound over the Audigy 2 with my Klipsch Promedia 5.1 Ultras. The sound is much fuller, the bass has better definition and midrange has better detail. My computer system now sounds that much closer to my reference JBL/Yamaha/Denon home theater setup.
To be fair, the audio enhancement may improve sound on less than ideal audio sources and computer speakers but they only served to muddy or disorient the sound on my setup.
Highly recommended. HUGE improvement over the Audigy 2 (which in itself killed integrated audio) Would be nice if the drivers/software took up a smaller footprint in Windows XP but just a minor quibble. Snap these up while you still can.
Pros Sounded amazing (when it worked).
Cons Dreaded pop/crackles, Creative support hasn't fixed the problem 6 months later.
Summary I purchased mine at the beginning of September; towards the end of October, it started developing dreadful popping/crackling noises. RMA'ed it, the new one did the exact same thing.
After searching Google, I found others having the same problem. A post on Creative's own forum has nearly 1300 messages on this subject. http://forums.creative.com/creativelabs/board/message?board.id=soundblaster&message.id=31426. Six months later and still no fix.
Stay away from this junk that Creative refuses to fix. I made recordings of the crackle/pops at http://www.digitaldynamo.net/x-fi.
Also, this link http://forums.creative.com/creativelabs/search?submitted=true&type=message&q=cracks%2C+pops&logic=AND&page_size=50&fuzzy=false&prefix=false&refine=false&sort_by=date does a search for "cracks, pops" across the whole forum. You'll see that similar problems have existed with their sound cards back since 2004.
Lawsuits will be coming soon.