Of all the sound cards on the market, Creative has some of the most popular ones on the market today. The Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD is a perfect example of what this company can produce. There are dozens of user reviews on the company's site, and the vast majority of them are very positive. Although this isn't the best card on the market, it focuses most of its power on home audio and does a very good job. This card is ideal for those who are looking to get better sound then the standard on-board audio but don't want the high price tag attached to most sound cards.
The X-Fi series cards all sit at an output SNR (signal-to-noise ratio) of about 109 dB. The Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD stands apart from the standard and sits at about 115 dB. The higher the ratio, the higher the quality and clearer the sound; with that in mind, the slightly higher SNR on this sound card is a welcome addition.
The 0.006 percent total harmonic distortion is much higher than higher-end cards and is one of the few things we would like to see improved. The frequency response, on the other hand, is 10 Hz to 46 kHz @ 96 kHz. This card doesn't have swappable op-amps unfortunately, so there is no upgrading. Once again, this is a great card to make the initial jump from onboard sound to dedicated sound. Swapping out op-amps and physically upgrading a sound card is more for audio enthusiasts who want to push their cards even further and know what they are doing.
The set of input and output ports on the Titanium HD is ideal for those who want quick access to specialized audio. The back of the card contains two pairs of stereo phone ports; one is an output, while the other can serve as an analogue input or be changed over to an optical S/PDIF input and output. You will also find a dedicated headphone output and microphone input if you use a nice gaming headset. These additions make it possible to set up a decent surround sound system or to keep the audio to yourself with a gaming headset.
The features for this sound card are not very impressive but offer the necessary features for basic audio improvements. The card supports 7.1-channel sound output and utilizes a PCI connector. We were pleased to see that it supports WDM and has ASIO 2.0 to support your own-recorded creations. However, the lack of features does bring this card down a few notches.
The Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD doesn't have much in the way of extras like karaoke and other musical features, but it has a nice set of API support. For 3D audio positioning, Creative gave us both OpenAL and CMSS-3D. For enhanced audio, specifically for gaming, the company has support for the latest EAX version 5.0 HD. Those three APIs will really enhance the audio portion of your gaming experience. For music and other media, the card has support for both DTS and Dolby Digital EX.
If you're looking for a decent upgrade from onboard to dedicated sound that enhances your audio experience, especially for gaming, the Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD may be exactly what you're looking for. It has the majority of the popular gaming APIs such as OpenAL for 3D audio positioning and EAX v5.0 HD for enhanced sounds and effects. For just a little extra money, you'll have the advantage of hearing where your enemy is and what he's up to, which leaves the rest up to your own skill.