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Creative Sound Blaster Z PCIe 116dB SNR Gaming Sound Card with 600ohm Headphone Amp and Beamforming Microphone
  • Verified Owner
  • neweggOwned For: 1 day to 1 week

5 out of 5 eggs I realize now I have been fooled by on board audio for years! 03/12/2016

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

Pros: Exceptional sound clarity, excellent software package.
See notes...

Cons: Some warmth from the card, the LED's on the card are fairly bright.
Some Windows quick keys for switching from speakers to headphones would be a nice plus.

Other Thoughts: I wasn't sure how much difference I would see from a sound card after using on board audio for years. The last card I had was a Sound Blaster Live! years ago. I read a lot of reviews about this card and it seemed all were positive so I bought one.

I am glad I did, I do PC gaming and listen to a fair bit of music. My gaming experience has been excellent; I now hear sounds I have never heard before. The software with the card allows for a lot of tweaking and makes any audio experience more enjoyable. The EQ in the software allows for significant sound adjustment and there are extra adjustments for bass and 5.1 setups also.

As for those who complain about the LED brightness, they are somewhat justified. The red LED's are bright and if you have a case sitting on your desk with a acrylic side window(like I do), you will notice it for the first bit but you get used to it.

I currently have an old Cambridge Sound Works DTT 2500 setup for my speakers. I mostly use it in stereo mode since my PC area does not allow for convenient placement of 5.1. It still works great but I'm getting a set of Polk RTi4's to see if I can further improve my audio. I'm also using TurtleBeach Z60 headphones. They usually connect through USB but I now connect them directly to the card and it improves a lot. The scout option in the software while gaming is excellent, I can hear enemies coming before they know I'm there.

When connecting a headset, make sure the volume for headsets is down to about 5%. That's where I have it now and the volume is comfortable, any more and it gets uncomfortably loud. I use Skype with my headset and I have noticed a vast improvement there also. The beamforce mic does a good job considering it sits out in the open near my speakers. Just fine tune the angle of the mic sensitivity in the softwere and turn down the gain to get rid of feedback.

I also realize how most people forget how great audio can sound. With audio streaming, mp4, mp3, youtube, etc. Most of us don't get the full audio experience anymore. This helps that area a lot. I get more fuller music playback now then I ever did before(even with the use of mp3's). Here's the current rig:

I5 6600k skylake
Asus z170-p D3
16GB DDR3
AMD R9 280
Creative Soundblaster PCI-E Z

Buy the card and enjoy a better audio experience!

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SAMSUNG 850 EVO 2.5
  • Verified Owner
  • neweggOwned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: Fast and very light weight

Cons: No mounting hardware is included, luckily I got the drive for $89 when on sale but Samsung should really include the bracket for mounting the SSD.

Other Thoughts: Excellent speed and very small form factor.

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ASUS Z170-P D3 LGA 1151 Intel Z170 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
  • Verified Owner
  • neweggOwned For: 1 week to 1 month

4 out of 5 eggs Excellent motherboard....after a BIOS update 01/13/2016

This review is from: ASUS Z170-P D3 LGA 1151 Intel Z170 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Pros: PCI-E 3.0, runs DDR3 for an 1151 socket. BIOS layout is decent. Layout of board hardware is good.

Cons: Initially, Windows 7 could not detect speakers plugged into the audio jack, and it would not display one of the hard drives in Windows explorer. Also, it appeared the BIOS would not always save all changes I made....this lead to the solid state drive being left in a RAID mode instead of ACHI. The original BIOS was 0407, once I updated to 0509 everything worked exactly as it should with no issues.

It would have been nice to have optical audio out jack but oh well.....

Other Thoughts: Once this board was updated everything ran very well, the LED light track on the board; which can be configured in the BIOS for "OFF/ON/beat with music" is ok but a dull yellow color, not really great and only runs a short distance of the board. I leave it off.

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Anonymous's Profile

Display Name: Anonymous

Date Joined: 12/01/09

  • Reviews: 26
  • Helpfulness: 7
  • First Review: 04/10/11
  • Last Review: 03/12/16
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