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Aenygma
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Exclamation Please Help - 01-30-2014, 11:33 | posts: 69

Preface:
Not an audiophile, but know what I like

I just finished a new build and picked up a Soundblaster Z to replace a Soundblaster X-Fi Titanium Fatality Pro.
I had been happy with the X-Fi, but since this was a new build, and the X-Fi is 4 years old, and they had a sale, I went with the newer Z.

-I use iTunes as my music player.
-SoundBlaster Z is connected to Logitech z5500 5.1 speaker system.


Issue:
The problem I am having is I want my music to play from my surround speakers as well as the fronts, and I can’t see a way to do this with the Z, without having horrible echo, and a weird effect of the sound/instruments at times seeming to fade in and out.

It would seem odd that a much newer card would not be able to do what the older card could. I really want my music to play through the 4 main speakers as it used to (X-Fi played it this way for music, used all 5 for movies).

Any help would be appreciated.


*Edit*
Removed line that was not needed.

Last edited by Aenygma; 01-30-2014 at 17:46.
   
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TirolokoRD
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Default 01-30-2014, 13:46 | posts: 1,816 | Location: Dominican Republic

If you use optical, the decoding is being made by the z5500, and the DAC on those is considerable lower than the one in the Z, you just spend money on it, use analog and see how it goes.
   
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Tacoboy
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Default 01-30-2014, 17:07 | posts: 281 | Location: Calif.

.
-The Z is connected via optical to Logitech Z5500 5.1 speaker system. (I may go analog but I don’t see that as the current issue).

Chances are the SB-Z's CS4398 DAC chip is better then the DAC chip inside the Z5500, so going analog should improve audio quality.
   
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applejack
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Default 01-30-2014, 22:43 | posts: 406 | Location: Israel

I have the Z5500 connected to both digital and analog, but only use analog as the Z's DAC is clearly the better one.

lack of stereo surround is a real shame. best you can achieve via the Z's control panel is to disable/uncheck center when using SBX Surround.
for real stereo surround in music you can use foobar2k with channel mixer plugin set to copy mode.
also the Z5500 has a stereo surround feature of its own, so you could just enable that.
   
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Aenygma
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Unhappy 01-31-2014, 00:30 | posts: 69

Applejack, thank you for confirming what I have been finding out since last night. In researching the issue I found numerous other people complaining about the lack of this feature.

I have to say I am stunned that it is missing this simple feature. As I look around my home we have 4 surround sound systems and all of them let one listen to their music from all four speakers.

I did up the "surround" on the z5500's already, but while it did work, I was still getting horrible echo. The z5500's would not do surround for me unless I ticked surround on in Creative CP, and that would turn on SBZ, and I think that is what is causing the echo.

I am pretty sure I will be putting the X-Fi Titanium Fatality Professional back in. It worked fine, and did not need for me to have to try workarounds.

Perhaps, their next line of cards will be the ones for me.

Last edited by Aenygma; 01-31-2014 at 19:31. Reason: fixed a typo
   
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applejack
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Default 02-04-2014, 02:28 | posts: 406 | Location: Israel

heads up, Youtube Stereo-Surround upmix is possible! (apparently for quite some time now)

http://www.svp-team.com/wiki/SVPtube

I'm currently having it stream to MPC-HC, upmixing with AC3Filter using a custom mixer matrix.
although you could use MPC-HC built-in mixer to simply mirror channels, I recommend using AC3Filter (or at least ffdshow audio decoder) as it let you adjust much more.

AC3Filter is very good for upmixing in general and works with many players. you can also use it with winamp via the WinampMatrixMixer plugin which is based on it (say, in case you aren't satisfied with foobar2k + channel mixer plugin).

Last edited by applejack; 02-05-2014 at 01:16.
   
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TirolokoRD
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Default 02-04-2014, 05:50 | posts: 1,816 | Location: Dominican Republic

Well....the SB Z came today.....gotta say.....know I feel the power!....Ohhh jeezus!
   
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Mr_ALLroy
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Default 02-05-2014, 23:20 | posts: 1,756 | Location: Calgary Canada®

I've been having problems with my PC automatically going into sleep mode. I found out it was because of my SBZ. I found a solution and wanted to share it. Sorry if this has already been posted.

Sound Blaster Z preventing sleep Saturday 16th February 2013 Since installing my Creative SoundBlaster Z, I've noticed that my computer won't go into sleep automatically.

This seems to be caused by using Dolby Digital Live (DDL) or DTS Connect. Both these technologies work by taking the audio going to the driver and encoding it into a surround sound digital stream for a receiver. It's constantly running, so there is always a stream open. Windows interprets this as there is music playing, so doesn't allow the system to sleep.

There is a workaround though, which applies to all Creative Sound cards.

Using a privileged command prompt, you can use the powercfg command: powercfg -requests will show what is currently blocking any sleeping. You'll see the sound card listed here, for example, mine isSYSTEM:
[DRIVER] Sound Blaster Z (HDAUDIOFUNC_01&VEN_1102&DEV_0011&SUBSYS_11020023& REV_10095&25018f92&0&0101)
An audio stream is currently in use.To ignore this driver, you can use the following command:powercfg -requestsoverride DRIVER "Sound Blaster Z" SYSTEM.
Your system should now be able to sleep peacefully!

I rebooted my system after running that command and it finally works. Hope this helps someone.

Last edited by Mr_ALLroy; 02-05-2014 at 23:23.
   
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r9800pro
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Default 02-26-2014, 23:46 | posts: 19 | Location: Egypt

I've got the SBZ today as an "upgrade" to my X-Fi Titanium PCIe card which is still working fine. I am still wondering why the hell did I upgrade while I am still using a 14 years old Creative SoundWorks DTT3500 Digital speakers lol

Anyway, the sound is a little better and I lost 2 channels (7.1 down to 5.1) and Tone control (Treble and Bass)

I don't like my bass to be that high and no matter what I do with EQ or sound properties, I still can't get the nice level of bass that I get with my X-Fi when I turn down bass tone control to -12db. Is there any tweak to get tone control back ?
   
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kakarot
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Default 02-27-2014, 16:00 | posts: 739 | Location: USA

Hey guys, anyone run into the card working fine without drivers but get no sound once they install the drivers? The card works great on 8.1 but on 7 I get no sound once I install the drivers. Tried messing with every setting possible and everything looks perfect install-wise
   
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r9800pro
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Default 02-28-2014, 02:10 | posts: 19 | Location: Egypt

Quote:
Originally Posted by kakarot View Post
Hey guys, anyone run into the card working fine without drivers but get no sound once they install the drivers? The card works great on 8.1 but on 7 I get no sound once I install the drivers. Tried messing with every setting possible and everything looks perfect install-wise
I am running the card just fine with drivers on Windows 7 64bit. Maybe you can try drivers from the installation CD if you got yours from Creative site or vice versa.

Here is my experience so far:

I've had X-Fi Titanium PCIe for a few years and been very happy with it. Recently I decided to upgrade although I knew I may not hear a huge difference because of my 14 years old Cambridge Soundworks DTT3500 Digital speakers.

I received the new Sound Blaster Z yesterday and I couldn't hear much of a difference indeed BUT I found out that it was a DOWNGRADE rather than an upgrade and here is why:

1-Only 5.1 analog output vs 7.1 on the X-Fi (I knew about it but thought audio quality upgrade would compensate)

2-No Bass/Treble Tone control: This was critical for me because I always set Bass to 0%, Subwoofer Level to 100%, Bass Redirection Enabled and Crossover frequency to 80Hz and I can't get the same levels with the SB Z using the EQ. Its bass is either too low or too high. Why would Creative do that is beyond me !

3-No Stereo Xpand. SBX Pro Studio sucks for music

4-No EAX effects. Yeah, Creative, the creator of EAX that spent many years convincing us of how awesome it is suddenly says it is not good and ditch it.
I don't use EAX effects with my speakers but always use it with my Roccat Kave 5.1 headphones to get a better channel separation and sound stage.

5-No different modes for Entertainment, Games and Audio Creation: maybe it is not needed anymore but still it was nice to find so many features.


I would like to hear some suggestions, maybe there are some fixes for these issues before I give up and sell the SB Z and keep my X-Fi Titanium PCIe.
   
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mckeonkent
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Default 02-28-2014, 06:49 | posts: 10

I was very happy with the entry model (Z)i purchased on Amazon. It produced noticeably better sound quality than the recon 3D sound blaster card. I was one of the people that had the AWFUL clicking and popping on the X-Fi cards and I'm happy to say it's gone. Sound is as clean as can be. [IMG]http://*************/25/w.png[/IMG]

Now this is where each card differs :

Z = double internal mic instead of ACM, 116DB SNR. No audio control module.
ZX = 116DB SNR, ACM (audio control module) support.
ZXR = 124DB SNR, TI Burr-Brown DAC, swappable op-amps, high quality DB-Pro and DB-Pro support, ACM support. The daughter board (DB-Pro) has 123DB ADC with RCA aux-in and optical outputs (to connect to external amps or other professional audio/music production hardware). The DB-pro card also has the quad core3D processor.

Last edited by mckeonkent; 02-28-2014 at 10:12.
   
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kakarot
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Default 03-01-2014, 17:04 | posts: 739 | Location: USA

Ended up upgrading the 2nd rig to 8.1 and no more issues with the drivers which is kinda funny. But I don't know man, I upgraded from an xfi titanium fatality and the difference is quite amazing. Not sure about features but the sound coming out of this thing is on another level from the xfi even on my old as hell logi z680s.
   
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Sasquatch
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Videocard: 2x Asus HD7850 2GB
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Soundcard: SB-Z & JVC HA-RX700
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Default 03-02-2014, 02:16 | posts: 302 | Location: Montana

Gonna put my two cents in here (maybe a bit more).
So far my SB-Z has been a waste. The sound seems a little crisper than my on-board, but it also doesn't include as much bass into game effects. Firing an artillery doesn't have the wrath of god sound it used to, unless the camera is zoomed as close to my vehicle as possible.
Everything is shifted up in pitch & tone, if that's the right description. Cannons sound like rifles; rifles like pellet guns. (No, Bass Management is not On) Best description I can think is it's almost like electrical current - the voltage is high, but there's not enough amps to push it.
Music & movies I've noticed no difference in sound. Not sure if I would have - most of that is dependent on the codecs used to record & compress the music, right?
And the Creative software is still as bug prone & unstable as it always was. About half of the changes I make in the Creative Control panel are met with "Not Responding" and having to close the software, then reboot my machine because I have no sound now.
The lack of independent sound channels is also a huge loss for me. Yesterday & today I tried using my on-board for Vent/TS and the SB for everything else. (Mic & 5.1 into the SB; Headphones into the on-board) Seems to work for a bit, then I'll get a sudden electric buzz (almost if you could make static into Techno) and the SB sound stops until I reboot. Random amount of time til this happens. And it's always when there's no sound going through the system, then it has to 'wake up' and play something & I get the quick buzz, then mute. Not sure if this is a result of the dual audio systems or what.
Also a small irritation, I had to trim the plastic sheathes at the end of my speaker cables where they plug into the card. The ports are so close together, I physically couldn't plug in the center cable. So I had to file away some of the rubber/plastic sheathing. I remember having to do this once before, but not sure which brand of card that was.

The Crystal Voice is the major redeeming factor so far. While nowhere near as clear as a headset, the beam-forming mic & software is world's better than a regular desktop stand mic.
The volume is also way higher than the on-board. Previously, the sound control software, and all Windows sound mixers where set to 100%, and each piece of software/game was set about 50%. With the SB, I can set the Control Panel & mixers to 50% along with software at 50% and get the same result.

So for now not sure what to do with it or what setup to use, but it honestly hasn't met my usage expectations like I thought it would have.
Just for the record, my speakers are listed in my profile. (Probably about 3-5 years old)
   
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Svarog
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Videocard: Zotac GTX 680 4GB
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Default 03-02-2014, 10:19 | posts: 3,337 | Location: Nederland

I think my ZxR is broken.

Even tho it boots on Headphones the sound is different.

So everytime i Boot/Reboot i have to switch from Headphone to Speakers and back. Also i keep having to reactivate my custom profile because it's not recognized. Same goes for the EQ.

EDIT:

Fixed it already by removing all Creative Software and starting again with just the Drivers and Software on the CD.

Last edited by Svarog; 03-02-2014 at 11:44.
   
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widil
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Default 03-05-2014, 17:53 | posts: 4

Hi,

I'm a new owner of the ZxR and I have issues with it:

The biggest one, I get a clicking noise while playing game or watching movie. Like in state of decay, if my character stand still, sound is perfect, but as soon as I start to walk or run, there will be these wierld clicking/popping sound. It does the same while driving a vehicle. Also happens in Dayz SA and PS2. Sometimes I do get the feeling it's a problem with the bass.
In the heat of the action; I dont always hear/notice them but as soon as I hear one, I ll always hear them which is getting really frustrating.
So if anyone has an idea, I would appreciate it.

Second problem, win 8.1 keeps reverting speaker setup to 5.1 after a reboot. Not too big a problem, but still, if someone got a solution, I'd like to hear it.

Otherwise nice sound card
   
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bigcid1
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Default 03-05-2014, 19:22 | posts: 97 | Location: WPB,FL

See if you can switch pcie
Slots or reset your card
And also check the routing
Of your data cables (sata, pcie power, etc)
Going near the sound card
   
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widil
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Default 03-05-2014, 23:43 | posts: 4

To answer your input :

Switching of PCIe port is not an option on my motherboard.
Reseting the card ? what do you mean exactly ?
Same for routing, could you be more specific ?
No data/power cable crossing/nearing the card, so shouldnt be an issue.
   
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bigcid1
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Default 03-06-2014, 00:04 | posts: 97 | Location: WPB,FL

Oh, sorry I meant reseat
   
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Bass questions
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Sasquatch
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Videocard: 2x Asus HD7850 2GB
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Default Bass questions - 03-08-2014, 16:18 | posts: 302 | Location: Montana

So I've kept the SB-z and trying to adapt to it. I've worked around issues with the loss of independent outputs. Headphones still have to be plugged into the front panel, as it physically won't fit with how tight the ports are spaced in back (even shaving the rubber/plastic off the cable).

My big question now, is the bass on the card. Like I said a few posts back, the sound is crisper, but so is the bass. The on-board was really good at a low reverb type of bass - something that would fill & accent whatever was being played.
The SB-z seems to want to clip the bass to exactly what is needed, note for note. Think of the on-board as cursive writing, and the SB-z as printed writing. They both say the same thing, but one flows & the other has small spaces in it.
Then when it does send a bass note, it's at a frequency to rattle the driver in my sub, instead of a gentler 'humm' as before.
I'm not sure if this is due to more power from the card or if it's a frequency issue.
Is there a setting with the Bass Redirection that might help with this?
Speaker system is the Logitech THX Z-5300e.
   
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Enmity
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Default 03-18-2014, 03:05 | posts: 1,222 | Location: New Zealand

Im using the SB-z - and I actually really like it, I upgraded from a Xonar DGX and its proven to be a nice lil upgrade.

However..

I have an intermittent issue where all of my audio will stutter, sometimes its when I first fire up the PC and start playing some music...other times I could be playing a game of BF4 or Project Cars and bam, the stuttering begins. Either way after a reboot the issue is resolved.

It's just annoying that it keeps coming back. It's not that often, usually only once every one or two weeks but apparently is a well known issue and from what I can see, no known fix for it.

Anyone had this? is there infact a fix?

Thanks guys.
   
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NAZ2222
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Default 03-18-2014, 03:52 | posts: 331 | Location: Portugal

An advice to all saying the SB Z sounds bad, mine did too and it was driving me crazy. Solution: install PAX drivers not the creative oficial ones. Changing the sound frequency to 24bit 96Hz in Widows control panel sound options helps with the stuttering too
   
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Enmity
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Default 03-19-2014, 02:16 | posts: 1,222 | Location: New Zealand

Hey guys, I've been having an intermittent issue with my Sound Blaster Z where it will out of no where start stuttering when ANY audio is played (music, movies, games etc) and recently (within the last 24 hours or so) it's been a permanent issue. Usually when I had encountered this issue i'd just reboot the pc and the sound would miraculously be fine again - now this isn't helping.

I am running optical from my SBz which runs directly into my Sony home theatre AMP (not sure of the model but its a few years old and its a mu-te-ki amp?)..and up until now I've been enabling DTS via the SoundBlaster software which gives the best audio for my set up.

I've been troubleshooting on other forums but I am yet to have any responses so thought this would be the best place to continue...I read about PAX drivers being more stable than the standard Creative drivers so I downloaded those and that's when I posted the following information on another forum :

Alright, so I uninstalled all creative software firstly, rebooted, installed the PAX_SBZ_CD_L13_1_00_22 2014 V1.00 software, rebooted, then enabled DTS connect via the sound blaster software under the cinematic tab and it was still stuttering, and pretty bad.

Checked windows, and yup, speakers(creative SBz) was selected...so I checked a couple of forums where someone suggested setting to 24bit 96000Hz helps with stuttering..so did that...now I can't get DTS connect at all, the sbz software says the audio format is not supported. I've rebooted and its still not giving me any audio. I can only get audio if I change my playback device back to SPDIF and then select "no encoder" in the software - but then my audio quality drops bigtime.

What am I doing wrong here? i'm sorry for being such a noob, haven't dealt with much audio stuff in the past.

Thanks for your help.

Edit:

Ok so now this stuttering happens all the time, rebooting doesnt help. I've uninstalled the pax drivers, reinstalled them...when DTS is enabled it still stutters, so uninstalled again, got latest drivers from creative, installed them and again, stuttering. So I unplugged the optical cable and plugged it back in last night and voila it worked so I was happy and swiftly went off to bed as id been tinkering for ages lol... So today I fire up the PC to give it a good test (as I picked up a new sub last night and been itching to test it out) and it worked!...for half of my first track..then it started stuttering again so I thought ok, unplug the cable again and plug it back in...nope, didn't work this time. So I thought ok maybe my cable is playing up? So swapped it out and used my spare optical cable...nope...still stuttering . I have no more time to tinker as ive got to go to work now but lets hope someones had this issue and knows how I can sort it out smile.gif

Very frustrating issue especially when I just got this sub last night lol. Any help with this issue would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Edit:

this guy has the same issue by the looks of it, with a Creative Zxr
http://forums.creative.com/showthread.php?t=700567

hey look at this, interesting!...
http://forums.astrogaming.com/showth...problem-solved

I have P8Z77-V motherboard and the only slot I can use is the most top level slot. Im not sure if it is set to 1x or 4x...how do I change it?....upon further checking, it looks like my board only has 1x for that slot. Wonder what else I can do?

Last edited by Enmity; 03-19-2014 at 03:26.
   
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ArgonV
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Videocard: AMD XFX 7970 Ghz Edition
Processor: Intel i7 920 @ 3.5 Ghz
Mainboard: Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD3R
Memory: 12GB DDR3 1600
Soundcard: Sound Blaster ZxR, 5.1
PSU: Thermaltake 700W
Default 03-21-2014, 01:06 | posts: 280 | Location: Texas, USA

Enmity,

What other cards do you have installed in your system?
Any USB devices plugged in besides the mouse and keyboard?
Have you tried updating your motherboard's chipset drivers, as well as the BIOS of your motherboard?
   
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Enmity
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Videocard: 2x 7970 Vapor-x GE 3GB
Processor: intel i5 3570k@4.6Ghz
Mainboard: Asus P8Z77-V
Memory: 8GB Mushkin Frostbyte
Soundcard: Creative Z/HD485/Studios
PSU: Corsair HX850 v2
Default 03-21-2014, 03:15 | posts: 1,222 | Location: New Zealand

Good point ArgonV, I will double check to see if everythings up to date, I am pretty sure that the motherboard chipset drivers are all up to date as I leave the AI suites auto updater installer (but uninstall all the other unnecessary asus crap lol) the bios on the other hand? I haven't looked into that. I'll check it out.

In terms of usb devices, I have my mouse,keyboard and gamepad. then my xbox 360 controller, my Logitech G27 and a usb 3.0 harddrive connected at all times lol
   
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