Many disgruntled readers have also responded, emailing us to complain about their treatment by Creative support, claiming that their civilly worded questions and complaints were being closed and in some cases mysteriously disappearing within minutes of posting upon the forums.
One reader even sent us screen shots of a post, followed by its removal notice, and its subsequent deletion from the Vista-related group.
Unfortunately Creative's response offers relatively little new information on why the delays have been so considerable, and why only the very latest models are receiving support first. But at least they're listening to consumer complaints, and more importantly, reading the INQUIRER.
Our man at Creative PR said: "We have been working on the Vista project for quite some time, having released beta drivers late last year for the beta community and endeavored to keep our customers up to date regularly via our Vista update site and forum feedback."
As mentioned frequently on Creative's site, and previously by the INQ, Creative driver specialists have been busy beavering away on 'Alchemy', a middle-ware solution to Microsoft's removal of direct hardware support in DirectX.
Creative said on the matter, "The changes to the audio implementation and subsystem were quite major, requiring a fundamental rewrite of the driver model and features to take account of the lack of direct hardware support" and continued, "Additionally, removingDirectX 3DAudio hardware support required a work-around, in the form of Creative Alchemy, which was available before Vista hit the retail shelves to restoremulti-channel EAX audio."
We specifically asked why drivers, and the proposed Alchemy solution, had taken far longer than even the much delayed Vista, "...despite the fact that Vista has been in beta for quite some time, it still has to reach a certain stage of build maturity in all its various components before the final driver features can be fully tested and signed off".
Creative also cited a change in WHQL procedures by Microsoft that have been "time consuming" and resulted in further significant delays.
Seeing as Vista has been in a near-final implemented state for some time, it's still surprising many other companies (not including Nvidia) managed to produce working final drivers for Vista in a timely fashion, albeit few had to work on the inclusion of a new hardware abstraction layer.
Good news for Audigy owners though - Creative claim that drivers will be available before the X-Fi series in final form; March 5th is targeted for delivery of Audigy drivers, whereas X-Fi owners will have to wait several days until the 8th for the final polished drivers. Creative also reminded us that the current beta drivers offer a lot of the functionality of the final builds, and are almost feature complete.
However, Creative have stipulated that Alchemy project development schedules on anything but X-Fi based product have "yet to be established". Which some skeptical readers may read as "not going to happen".
We've asked Creative for sample product for testing, to clarify the situation further and for testing the final drivers when released - they have yet to respond. µ
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