We had a bit of time before out next meeting, so we stopped at the Creative Labs booth that was right next to 3dfx. With Creative's recent announcement of a "unified" driver with Glide support for their 3D Blaster TNT, it's a miracle that no fights broke out ;) Regardless, Creative had a number of interesting items to show off.
Of course there were video cards everywhere, from Savage 4 to Ultra TNT2. The first thing we asked was the clock speed of the Creative's TNT2 cards. Both the standard and Ultra TNT2 will be clocked at the NVIDIA recommended speeds of 125/150 and 150/183 (core/memory). Overclocking, however, will be supported with a small utility and even encouraged to a certain extent. They make claims of a special "heat dissipating PCB" among others.
Creative's Savage 4 also looks to be a relatively standard Savage 4 product. In the Creative tradition, these cards are all named such that the chipset is quite clear, such as 3D Blaster Ultra TNT2. Not too original, but it certainly makes things a lot less confusing. As with the previous generation of cards, Creative is focussed on bring the best value to the market with extremely competitive pricing.
Creative did have a couple of new things that had never been shown before. Their portable MP3 player, the Nomad, was by far the most prominent. Creative has improved over Diamond's Rio with a smaller design that features rechargeable batteries and a built in FM tuner. The Nomad can also be used as a digital voice recorder or a small hard drive. It uses a docking cradle (click here for a picture), similar to many PDA's, that allows the transfer of songs while simultaneously charging the batteries. All control buttons (click here for a picture) are on the side of the Nomad for easy one hand operation. Like the Rio, the Nomad uses a parallel port interface. How long will it take for everyone to start using USB?
They were also showing off their new Live Works 2.0 software for the Sound Blaster Live!. The core is available for download from the Creative Labs website, but to get the full software suite, you'll have to send in $10 to cover shipping for a CD containing all the goods. There have been a number of changes in Live Works 2.0, including new EAX capabilities. We'll take a look at Live Works 2.0 shortly and include comparisons with A3D 2.0 cards.