Gaming and Conclusion
It goes without saying that the Xmod isn't aimed at gamers. RightMark 3DSound does little to alter this perception:
Device: Creative Xmod (usbaudio.sys)
Features: Device has not enough hardware 2D buffers Device has not enough hardware 3D buffers EAX 1.0: N/A EAX 2.0: N/A EAX 3.0: N/A EAX 4.0: N/A EAX 5.0: N/A
Rates: dwMinSecondarySampleRate 100 dwMaxSecondarySampleRate 200000
Free buffers stats: dwFreeHw3DAllBuffers 0 dwFreeHw3DStaticBuffers 0 dwFreeHw3DStreamingBuffers 0 dwFreeHwMixingAllBuffers 0 dwFreeHwMixingStaticBuffers 0 dwFreeHwMixingStreamingBuffers 0
Max buffers stats: dwMaxHwMixingAllBuffers 0 dwMaxHwMixingStaticBuffers 0 dwMaxHwMixingStreamingBuffers 0 dwMaxHw3DAllBuffers 0 dwMaxHw3DStaticBuffers 0 dwMaxHw3DStreamingBuffers 0
Misc stats: dwFreeHwMemBytes 0 dwTotalHwMemBytes 0 dwMaxContigFreeHwMemBytes 0 dwUnlockTransferRateHwBuffers 0 dwPlayCpuOverheadSwBuffers 0
Clearly you'd be far better served by alternate solution if laptop gaming is a concern (in which case the Audigy 2 ZS Notebook would be a better choice).
The Xmod is a fine device delivering just what it promises to. Its installation is incredibly simple, audio quality is very good, and the X-Fi features can be customised to your own preference. It isn't suitable for gaming however, nor is standalone operation particularly usable given the necessity for it to be plugged in at all times.
Hopefully in future Creative will further expand on what the Xmod currently offers; X-Fi technology integration into Creative portable media players and switching to lithium ion batteries.
You may also want to know that Creative recently launched a new external device called the Xmod Wireless. Building upon the Xmod basics, the new wireless device claims to improve your audio output just like the original does, but adds wireless broadcasting using a small receiver so you can transmit your music to other audio equipment in your home. Sounds real good indeed however note that the Xmod Wireless is not meant to compete or replace the original Xmod which sells for $70, compare that to the $200 you will need to spend for the Wireless version.
- Good audio quality
- Incredibly easy installation
- Simple to use controls
- CMSS-3D enhances sound stage
- Poor gaming support
- USB AC adapter not included
- Limited standalone functionality