First published 27 January, 1997
The Sound Blaster AWE64 (£150 + VAT) can use up to 8Mb dedicated RAM to load extra SoundFont sound banks. Available now, it is targeted at consumers, corporate users and amateur musicians. The AWE64 Gold (£200 + VAT) is available from March and can have up to 12Mb RAM. It is aimed at professional musicians and high-end gamers and has numerous advanced features for sound manipulation in order to represent musical instruments more realistically. Both cards offer 64-note polyphony and include 3D Positional audio, full-duplex playback and recording, and real-time digital effects.
Although the boards are aimed at a wide market, Cretaive concedes that only a few business applications, such as video-conferencing, will be applicable in the current climate. "Within the office environment the uses are limited," said Mike Chandler, Creative Labs' European marketing manager. "Companies are still reluctant to give employees sound cards because they believe people will play about with them."
Creative denied Intel's MMX processor will erode its market: "MMX will offer the basic wavetable, but people always want to upgrade," added Franco de Bonnic, UK product support group manager. "MMX will be a good all-rounder but it'll never be a replacement for what we do."