Using a laptop gives you a level of freedom and convenience you simply can't get from a huge desktop PC. But in many respects notebooks lag far behind their desktop counterparts - processors are slower, graphics chips are older and sound cards are frequently dire. Well, when it comes to the sound card, Creative can help you out with its SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio Notebook.

The Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio Notebook theoretically takes the technology that powered Creative's esteemed X-Fi series to fame in the desktop world and adds it to your laptop. In fact, the Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio Notebook shares few core components with the X-Fi PCI cards, but it's a simple upgrade that adds sparkling sound to your notebook.

The Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio Notebook comes in the form of an ExpressCard/54 slot - slip this into your laptop, load up the drivers and you're away. Unless you want to connect 5.1 or 7.1 speakers (rather than 2.0/2.1 speakers or headphones), in which case you'll have to spend another £27 on Creative's Speaker Docking Module.

The Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio Notebook adds spice to games and music with its 24bit audio. The Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio Notebook supports a 96KHz SPDIF out, but only if you use Windows XP - Vista users, annoyingly, will be forced to make do with 48KHz for the time being.


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