There’s still some confusion around the Sound Blaster X-Fi card. Looking at comments on the blog and e-mails that I’m getting, the confusion tends to be centered around the distinction between what’s handled via hardware or software. Before explaining that, want to call out three core points:
The purpose of point #1 is to clarify that we’re not delivering limited functionality at the hardware level. This means like the retail version, through hardware, we support features like EAX (enhanced game audio for games written to support it); the 24-bit crystalizer (a processor that delivers improved audio quality from a variety of sources) and CMSS 3-D (which is a processor that emulates surround sound, for 2-channel environments or headphones).
Regarding points #2 and 3: Dolby Digital and DTS are sound decoders for movies. Even on the retail version of the card, both of these are done through a software codec ultimately licensed through Dolby or DTS. The Dolby Digital 5.1 software codec we use on all XPS 700 systems is licensed through Sonic, whereas the retail X-Fi solution is licensed through Creative. From a customer standpoint, if you have a 5.1 speaker set and a DVD movie that supports Dolby Digital (very common these days), you simply insert the DVD into the drive and play the movie. We don’t support DTS (which is supported through software on the retail card with Creative’s software codecs), not because of any hardware limitation, but only because we don’t install a software codec for DTS. Does this mean that your system won’t support DTS at all? No. If you have DTS-encoded movies and want to hear them that way, you can purchase a DVD player utility that features DTS capability.
I wasn’t able to finalize some specifics on the NVIDIA 7950 graphics card update. My apologies for making you wait. More details to follow next week.
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D.L. Your comments are right on the mark, and thanks for the feedback. On the multi-channel audio side, Dell supports DVD-Audio playback. Also, as you mention, more of today's games are also incorporating multi-channel technology.
My apologies for the oversight.
Seems rather obvious that you have refused to answer this question twice in this blog - while answering the other questions.
Would you please explain what the (D) means as it is shown on the XPS 700 order/configuration pages in the following context: "XtremeMusic (D)"?
Lionel: if YOU don't know, how do you expect the customer to know what it means? There are no footnotes to explain it.
Since it applies to the Sound Blaster SW audio control panel (which is called "XtremeMusic" - I know what it means - DEFEATURED - that's why it doens't have the reatil functionality of DD5.1 and DTS included.
Question is, will you admit it? I don't think so. How about that Dell Code of Conduct that is posted on the corporate website? C'mon, you can be honest with us customers, it won't hurt you to do it.