A fancy sports car can look great on paper, but put an inexperienced or injured driver behind the wheel and it's all for naught. The same concept applies to your computer's hardware, and both power users and temperate tweakers alike can benefit from an updated driver. Let's take a look at a few recently announced releases for sound and audio...
Creative Sound Blaster and Vista
No, the X-Fi series didn't get a driver update for Vista that would offer the same type of support XP owners are accustomed to receiving. But if you own an Audigy Value, SE, LS, or Sound Blaster Live! soundcard, you can download brand new drivers for your hardware
. Users on Creative's site stay pretty active (and vocal) regarding new driver releases, so if you experience any issues running the 1.04.0076 release, be sure and poke your head in
Realtek Audio Codecs
Don't own a Sound Blaster Audigy card and run onboard sound instead? Chances are it's a Realtek, in which case, don't despair. Realtek recently updated both their
audio codecs before shutting the door on June, with only Linux being the odd man out (what else is new?). No word yet on whether or not these new drivers finally fix the broken EAX support in Windows XP, an issue that's been well documented in several issues of Maximum PC.
AMD/ATI Catalyst 7.6
If you're a gamer, you should be checking your videocard manufacturer's website often for any driver updates, and if you're an AMD/ATI card owner, you can download the new Catalyst 7.6 Suite. The new drivers resolve a handful of issues for XP owners, and several for those running Vista. And if you're running an HD2900XT Crossfire configuration, the release notes state "
improvements of 16% or more can be seen with HDR enabled
" in Half Life 2: Episode 1. For the full scoop and a list of known issues, spend some time getting cozy with the