X-Fi Driver Only Supports 64-bit Linux
Phoronix: X-Fi Driver Only Supports 64-bit Linux
Creative Labs' X-Fi Linux driver is now available for download. We talked about the beta driver yesterday, and this morning the official announcement is coming out of Creative Labs.
One of the reasons I never took the plunge and bought an X-Fi was the lack of Linux support, now this... I don't know, I don't think I'll even consider one until I see some feedback on this... What about an article putting the driver in a test drive against an Audigy2ZS with ALSA and see how both fair?
I was thinking about what methodology would be good for such a test, as testing sound gear is not as "easy" as testing video.
The tests should include (IMO) the following:
- Sample rate comparison
- Sound quality comparison (obviously, but that requires high end audio gear... headphones may be OK, but for surround and stuff that might prove to be difficult to conduct).
- recording quality. Some cards deform the waveform when recording even the simplest of tunes.
- Multichannel comparison, full duplex playback, playback of several sound sources and recording at the same time [such a test could be using TeamSpeak and playing some tunes plus recording something and firing a game, put that quad-core system to good use!
- Multichannel recording, recording from digital inputs as well as analogue, at the same time. Mixing with something like Ardour or the like.
- Gaming and "hardware acceleration" of OpenAL, as well as an EAX test on both cards. There's a tool that allows EMU10K1 hardware to use EAX and compile EAX presets (will have to look it up)... Done, it is ld10k1 part of the alsa-tools package, might be needed to be built from source.
- CPU utilization of the driver in either OSS or ALSA mode (good test might be either or both Quake 4 and Doom 3 with either sound system, and compare performance delta in, say, four runs for each sound system and record the fastest run of either).
- CPU utilization on those apps that *might* support OpenAL HW acceleration, compared to the software renderer on EMU10K1 and/or other, generic cards.
Will think of more tests
Last edited by Thetargos; 09-24-2007 at 02:11 PM.
Too little too late. If I want a cheap and usable sound card, I'll go with the one integrated on my motherboard. If I want something really good, there's M-Audio, and possibly the Razer soundcard soon.
Now, if Creative opened their drivers, I'd take them seriously, but knowing the quality of their Windows drivers (where they do make a serious effort), I'm afraid to imagine what this must be like.
How much longer will they be stuck in the 90s?
Ah, does it also come with the bloatware that the Windows drivers come with?
whatever. ac97 rules the market, and hardly anyone needs such a sophisticated (and overpriced too) sound card.
also, a sound card with binary drivers? it just doesn't sit with me.
My Audigy 2 ZS from Creative rocks and I will not give it away for some more years. It sounds absolutely fantastic under Linux using the open source emu10k1 driver. If the X-Fi+1 will be open sourced again, I consider buying it.
Btw.: the best german game magazine has just tested the Razer Baracuda, Creative X-Fi and ASUS Xonar. The X-Fi is best, the ASUS Xonar is not as good as the X-Fi in games thanks to the closed EAX, but excellent in other tests and the Razer Baracuda was not only the worst in all tests, it also was the most expensive one.
Binary blobs ? No way !
I'm a creative customer from the beginning, since I owned a real Sound Blaster (the first one, that started all).
I always bought Creative products as they are great stuff. I hear the difference of sound quality between my integrated chipset and my latest Sound Blaster.
But, how good can their product be, there is nothing to convince me of buying something if there is no Linux support.
The rule is clear and simple : no Linux support, no business.
I don't consider that a binary driver, released 2 years after a product lineup and only for 64 bits is a Linux support. It's rather a joke that takes customers for dummies.
Almost that now ATI has released their gfx specs, I don't see the purpose of still making binaries for drivers.
So, sorry, I'll keep my Emu10K or let my sound chip do the job if I have no more PCI ports to plug my Emu10K in my next mobo, as I won't buy any hardware that has not a decent Linux support, with open-source driver...
I really don't understand Creative, as their markets shares should probably decrease on sound cards. They are closing themselves a complete part of the market by non-supporting Linux correctly knowing that Linux people would certainly go for a Sound Blaster if there only was an open source driver.
Now, Linux is big enough not to be forgotten by manufacturers. This is crazy imo.
I think I've come across that review too, and of course the Creative stuff would come out on top, simply because the intention for most Creative cards are to give good sound while requiring the least amount of CPU time.
Originally Posted by d2kx
Most poeple who buy the Razer and other alternative high-end sound cards are actually after sound quality over CPU utilization. They're after good ADC and DACs so that they can both have good quality sound coming out of headphoens, and possibly be able to record well from external sources. Most gamers won't particularly care how good the SNR or whatever specs the audiophiles care about; as long as the sound is not distorted, sounds good, and they can still have good frame rates, the gamers will usually be ok with it.
I thought the original Sound Blaster Live was pretty good, only to find out that the backplate wasn't grounded properly, and the card was fried in an incident (and I've seen others who have testify to the same thing). I was using a Hercules Fortissimo II/III and Digifire, and frankly, I found the A3D in the Fortissimo sounded better than EAX 1.0 at the time, and had decent support in Linux using open source drivers - other than being unable to choose the headphone port. I've seen move back to Audigy2ZS, but I couldn't say I'm particularly a fan of Creative. They even release manuals exclusively in .chm files...
Even though I mostly agree with you here, in terms of following those manufacturers that are Linux friendly, I must confess that I tend to recommend Sound Blaster products, especially those based on the EMU10K* architecture, simply due to the awesome support from the Open Source drivers these cards have. Even though features like 24-bit audio and 96KHz sampling are not supported for the Audigy 2's; and that features likes Dolby Digital hardware decoding and DTS and what not are not even implementable, these cards DO offer a level of performance for audio applications in Linux rarely seen with any other IHV products. In fact none other has the level of supported features. Granted M-Audio does excellent cards, one key factor puts me personally off those: Lack of hardware mxing, since as you said it yourself, I'd rather have my CPU doing some more demanding tasks than mixing audio streams with softmix.
Originally Posted by calyth
Good point, and which makes me want to think what the heck's going on with the hardware mixing for non-EMU10k* chips. Had it not been the mixing problem (and actually having headphone outputs amplified), I would've stuck with my Digifire.