Blasterpc, sold by Tiger Direct

URL: http://www.tigerdirect.com/eMail/mil127.asp?sourceid=00379374553073258048

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Rating: Forget about it

Review:

The facts:

 

  1. This is not a full version of Platinum 5.1 Live with remote. It is the minimal chipset with 3.0 drivers but no bundled software. The remote is only for the FM radio, not the Live card. The real Platinum 5.1 has a totally different remote which runs the live card music functions. Also, the Platinum 5.1 Live has a live drive ir that goes in a 5 ¼ drive bay. The front connections in the blaster case are nowhere near the same. They are similar to the Platinum option I/O which goes in the rear or similar to the original full live with rear I/O connections.
  2. Creative is not responsible for anything even though it is advertised as Creative. Creative sent me a email that they are not responsible as it is a licensed item. They will not tell me if it is a real Creative chipset or just a copy. If the motherboard OEM manufacturer changed any of the Live drivers then you are at there mercy to get upgrade drivers. Creative has been real good in providing new drivers and I expect them to provide better ones in the future for my original $200 Creative Live.
  3. Motherboard company will not provide info to consumers. They will not answer my questions posted twice at their site. This specific motherboard is not listed on their site as it is a specific OEM mobo and I presume Empac, the OEM, is responsible. The mobo HOT-681 is the closest to it.
  4. Empac manufacturer doesn’t know much. Empac is the OEM manufacturer who purchased the mobo, case, I/O, etc. and packaged them for sale. They are ultimately responsible, but TigerDirect provides the same warranty and is the only one who provides replacement parts.

Comments

It works fine for me based on being cheap ($49 based on $100 rebate after depositing $1501 for 6 months into sponsor bank); but it is not what I expected. It is scary to build as everything is in pieces; but instructions are GOOD. It comes with 2 sets of instructions, one overall manual, and one with each part. So far it works fine with the following items installed: Floppy, CD-ROM, modem, network, hard drive, AGP Diamond Viper II Z200.

However, it does not have Platinum 5.1 connections, and no one will tell me if the 3 rear sound outputs are the same as real Live 5.1 outputs. Per a phone conversation with an Empac employee the Live is NOT 5.1 speaker compatible, but is the basic original Live card instead. No one will tell me if the Platinum 5.1 Live Drive will work. Which Creative software upgrade works (5.1 or original) is unknown. No one will tell me. Empac gave me Creative’s phone number to call, but Creative is not responsible.

The best part besides being cheap is that it replaces the OEM case and motherboard for any 233 processor up to 900 with a setup that is upgradeable. The CPU is a slot 1 which is getting out of date now, but you can get a conversion card for newer chips. This setup gives a wide variety of upgrade conversion possibilities.

If you’re upgrading your existing PC you’ll need to be careful when moving the hard drive over, because Windows will need to install the drivers for the chipset on the new motherboard. As long as you have a real Windows installation CD and the drivers for the chipset, you’re fine. The only time you might run into trouble is if you want to reinstall Windows on the new setup, but only have a recovery disk that is specific to the old system’s hardware, or even BIOS locked.

The optional case fan is a plastic toy and you do not feel wind moving like you do from the power supply fan.

You’ll need 4 5 ¼ drive bays to install CD-ROM, CD-R, DVD, and Live Drive but the case only has three available. The case is okay as cheap, but there are many $60 cases that are a lot better. It is not modern, but like 3 year old cases.

It has a open slot in front for 6 more plugins including 2 1384 and maybe the missing Live 5.1 connections; but noone will provide any information on how to get it. Also no info on whether motherboard supports firewire [1384].

Update

Creative finally verified that this is only a Live Value with partial I/O on front. The Live Drive can not be used with this setup because it requires a Platinum Live.

Submitted by: Roger Thompson

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