X-Fi Zone
X-Fi Models

Discover the SoundBlaster X-Fi models. What are the differences, what do the models have in common.

X-RAM Explained

What does X-RAM really do? Read about the extra 64MB onboard RAM on the SoundBlaster X-Fi.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

ALchemy X-Fi Edition

If you already switched to Windows Vista or plan to you should definitely look into Creative's ALchemy. Since Microsoft announced they will be dropping the Hardware Abstraction Layer which was responsible for EAX effects in games Creative has been working on a way to restore them. ALchemy is an application which indeed does restore 3D audio and EAX effects in Windows Vista.

The audio changes in Windows Vista do not affect OpenAL however. For audio cards that feature 'native' OpenAL support, such as the SB X-Fi series of cards, there is no need to worry! Games that enable support for OpenAL will continue to run just as they do on Windows XP - with hardware accelerated audio and effects.

Although OpenAL has arguably replaced DirectSound3D, particularly in many modern PC Games (e.g. Battlefield 2142, Doom3, Quake 4, Prey, etc.), there are hundreds of older PC games that support DirectSound3D and EAX technology. All of these games will sound empty and lifeless on Vista. As most DS3D games only enable 3D Audio and EAX if a hardware accelerator is present, most of these games will be reduced to a stereo output.

ALchemy is not a hardware driver. You still need proper X-Fi Vista drivers for your soundcard installed before installing ALchemy. For now it only works with the Soundblaster X-Fi series.

To find out more about Creative's ALchemy visit their homepage or download it straight away from Creatives downloads page.