step-by-step install x-fi drivers, or tweaking ALSA works?

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step-by-step install x-fi drivers, or tweaking ALSA works?

Postby newtomintandlinux » Mon Jul 07, 2008 9:36 pm


I'm a newbie to Linux (I'm trying it out and like what I see). I chose linuxmint because I like the user friendly nature of it.

I bought a Dell XPS 420 for video editing including a sound card and I'm dual booting linuxmint 4 with Vista. I have not upgraded to 5 as I'm waiting for bugs to be fixed. I'll upgrade to 5 if it is more likely that I can get sound working in it. It appears that I have an ACPI-x86 based PC with an Intel x38 Express chipset.

My problem is that I can't get any sound to work in linux, it works fine in Vista. The device manager in Windows says that I have a Creative SB x-fi even though I bought it all through Dell (I imagine that this refers to both the sound card and 5.1 speakers). After searching the forums, I found that creative has release a beta linux driver for 64/32 bit systems (at the moment I am using 32 bit), at ... .aspx#X-Fi .

The site says 'At the time of this writing, ALSA does not yet state X-Fi Xtreme Audio, but the source code does contain it.' Does this mean that ALSA could work with tweaking for x-fi? If so I'd like to try this as it looks like I'll have less chance of stuffing up with this option.

I tried to install the driver in the command line with Gnome turned off (as per the instructions below), but I could not navigate to the right directory and got an error message that no such folder/file exists. This is probably because I don't know enough. The installation instuctions are:

[readme file]====================================================================
Sound Blaster X-Fi Linux 32/64-bit Beta Driver Readme File
April 2008
The purpose of this document is to describe how the X-Fi Linux device
driver is built, packaged, and released.

Quick install
1) You must have the fully configured source for the Linux kernel and
ALSA which you
want to use for this device driver. Partial installed
kernels (e.g. From distribution makers) may be unusable for this
2) Run one of the following commands as root in the terminal:

./installer --with-alsainc=<ALSA_include_directory>

* ALSA Source Tree

On 2.6 kernels, the location of the ALSA source include directory

is parsed automatically from the running kernel.

If it is not in the standard place, specify the path via


On 2.4 kernels, the location of the ALSA source include directory

must be specified via --with-alsainc=<ALSA_include_directory>.

* Note
If integrated ALSA is to be used to build, --with-alsainc option

must not be specified.

In the terminal,

1) Change directory to /opt/Creative/XFiDrv_Linux_US-1.18

2) Run the following command as root


make uninstall
* Note

For GNOME users, You may need to close the Volume Control
applet before uninstalling. Right-click the Volume icon on the
GNOME panel and select "Remove From Panel"
3) Manually delete all files in /opt/Creative/XFiDrv_Linux_US-1.18

Copyright (c) 2008 Creative Technology Ltd. All rights reserved.
[End of Readme File]

Does anyone know what I should do next to get x-fi working in linuxmint 4 or 5? I'd appreciate as much detail as possible as I don't have much experience in linux. Thanks in advance.

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Re: step-by-step install x-fi drivers, or tweaking ALSA works?

Postby Husse » Wed Jul 09, 2008 6:28 am

First you need to install build essentials - search for that in Synaptic
I see no need to do this in a "real terminal" the gnome terminal will do
You must be in the same folder as the downloaded file- just use Nautilus to navigate there and right click - open in terminal
Also the instructions on the page in your link is clear, please read carefully
Don't fix it if it ain't broken, don't break it if you can't fix it


Re: step-by-step install x-fi drivers, or tweaking ALSA works?

Postby newtomintandlinux » Mon Jul 14, 2008 8:16 am

Thanks for the quick and helpful reply, I never would have got it installed otherwise.

This driver did get my sound working but took me back to a default graphics driver and 800 x 600 screen resolution. It appears that the Nivida driver (don't know what build but installed through Envy) for a Dell SP2208WFP Monitor conflicts with the beta driver by Creative for X-Fi. Effectively you choose between having sound and having a decent screen resolution. I thought that I'd done my homework with all of the hardware, but it appears that I had not.

As I am new to Linux, here are the steps I took for installation in case someone wants to install the driver:

1. The package build-essential (note there is no 's') is already installed in Mint 4,

2. I used the desktop file (same folder as the downloaded file) and right clicked 'open in terminal', and

3. changed to the root user and installed by typing sudo ./installer (included entering a password).

I guess I'll have to wait to use Mint as my primary OS until a driver for X-Fi comes out that does not conflict with my graphics card driver. This delay is for a couple of reasons, my youngest uses a site that relies on the use of sound, 800x 600 graphics resolution makes some fonts difficult to use and I want to use this computer for video editing long term, so I need decent graphics and sound.

Thanks again

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