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Creative Sound Blaster Z PCIe 116dB SNR Gaming Sound Card with 600ohm Headphone Amp and Beamforming Microphone
  • PCI Express x1 5.1 Channels
  • TOSLink Optical Input and Output
  • Sound Core3D Processor
  • Beamforming Microphone
  • $119.99
  • $99.99
  • Save: $20.00 (17%)
  • Free Shipping (restrictions apply)

4 out of 5 eggs Awesome card, slight problem with optical out 04/04/2014

This review is from: Creative Sound Blaster Z PCIe 116dB SNR Gaming Sound Card with 600ohm Headphone Amp and Beamforming Microphone

Pros:

- sounds fantastic
- 116db SNR is great on analog Logitech 5.1 system
- easy as could be to setup and get to working
- card is hooked up to 5.1 set of speakers. Sound comes out of the speaker that it should come out, clear and crisp

Cons:

- Card can encode all sound (including games) to DTS or Dolby Digital Live using the optical out. Hook an optical cable up to a home theater and you should get great sound. Good thing is it sounds fantastic. Bad thing is there is a very noticeable amount of latency. Optical out is worthless for me. Luckily I have the option of using the analog 5.1 on my system. It worked like a charm. If it hadn't been for this issue, I would have given this card 5 eggs and said it was the best value for the menu. Instead, this holds the card back from being the best. I checked the internet, I'm not the only one complaining about this issue so it isn't my system.
- The red LED is ridiculously bright. Users with a clear side window on their case who put their system on the desk next to their monitor will be permanently blinded.
- Scout Mode sounds artificial and is just a gimmick. Waste of time implementing this in my opinion and should not be a major selling point for the card.

Other Thoughts:

I would like to pat Creative on the back for a bit. Creative's drivers have historically been horrible to bad when it came to installation and setup. I have Windows 8.1. The driver CD doesn't include win8.1 drivers. So, I downloaded the drivers from Creative's website. One download included all software and the drivers. Installed the drivers and everything worked like a charm the first time. No fuss. The way it should be. Additionally, the system app tray for the card doesn't have to be running all the time. Make and set your changes. Then you can close it. The card always uses those changes. Closing the app frees up memory and CPU time. Nice. Very nice Creative. Keep it up.

I have a Asus Xonar DSX. I gave my system to a family member. I bought this card for my new system. I kept this one; the sound quality seems fuller and the drivers/app seem more stable. The Asus card utility led to system stability problems depending on options set.

Good job creative!!

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  • Chris S.
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week


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