Rating: Forget about it
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 The CPU is a slot 1 which is getting out of date now, but you can get a conversion card for newer chips.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 .
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