Soundblaster XtremeAudio PCI-Express
Hardware InstallationFortunately, sound doesn't take up a whole giant bunch of bandwidth. This means we really don't need any connections faster than good old PCI, but this card comes in the PCI- Express x1 variety. The x1 connection is roughly the same speed as a PCI Slot, and it's compatible with PCI-Express x4, x8, an x16. You can plug the card into any PCI-Express slot you have and it will work.
Before we begin installation, let's look at the card's minimum system requirements.
- Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista, Microsoft Windows XP (Professional x64 Edition, Service Pack 2 or Media Center Edition)
- Processor: Intel Pentium 4 1.6 GHz, AMD Athlon XP 2000+ processor or equivalent
- Expansion Slot: Available PCI-Express slot (1x, 4x or 16x)
- RAM: 256MB RAM (512MB RAM for Windows Vista)
- Hard Drive: 600MB of free hard disk space
- Optical Drive: CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive
- Sound: Headphones or amplified speakers (available separately)
- Network: Internet connection to download PowerDVD software
Linux is not officially supported, but Creative did deliver a beta Linux driver a few months ago. We will be looking at compatibility with this close-source driver later in this article.
After take the side off our computer case, we looked for an empty PCI-Express slot. On this particular motherboard, we had two x1 slots and a single x16 slot. The x16 slot is being used by our videocard, so we opted to try one of the x1 ports.
As you can see above, the card fits in below the videocard without much hassle. We opted not to install it above the videocard so we could look at how the high levels of heat from the card would affect the XtremeAudio, if at all.
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