Creative Technology, a maker of digital media players and various multimedia devices, showcased its first audio card for modern PCI Express bus at the Consumer Electronics Show 2007. Specs of the product are unclear, but it is remarkable that Creative is finally paying attention to the bus that has been afloat for nearly three years now.
Images of Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio for PCI Express x1 bus, which have been published by several web-sites, reveal that the card carries one relatively small X-Fi chip, an unknown audio codec, the lack of onboard memory buffer, relatively small number of capacitors, the absence of MIDI port and the presence of S/P DIF connectors and five analog connectors to attack 7.1-channel audio system.
Creative Labs X-Fi Xtreme Audio. Image by PC Watch web-site.
Typically Creative Labs’ Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio audio card does not use dedicated SDRAM buffer, unlike more advanced X-Fi boards, so does the Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio for PCI Express; however, due to higher bandwidth PCI Express can provide, the new X-Fi Xtreme Audio may gain some benefits of an additional memory buffer onboard.
Even though end-users may require “good-old” PCI, original system manufacturers may wish to have PCI Express x1 flavour, as PCI bus is hardly used nowadays, whereas PCI Express is present across all the core-logic sets shipping today.
Currently no information regarding pricing and availability exists. Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio for PCI bus has recommended retail price of $129.