Xitel Storm Platinum Gamer's Packby Mike Andrawes on June 13, 1999 9:37 PM EST
As Xitel's packaging implies, the Storm Platinum is definitely aimed at the gamer and is fit to be included in a Gamer's Pack as they have done. The Vortex 2 has taken the majority of the gamers in the market for a soundcard, and the Storm Platinum is an excellent example of such a card. The force feedback headphones in the Gamer's Pack are pretty cool and probably worth the extra $20 if you don't already have a pair of good headphones.
The primary competitor of the Storm Platinum is, of course, Diamond's Monster Sound MX300. Both cards are manufactured by Aureal, but to different specifications - fortunately both of extremely high quality. The Storm Platinum offers the advantage of a digital out without the use of a daughterboard, as required by the MX300. The Storm Platinum is also a physically smaller card that will fit in any PCI slot, whereas the MX300 may have trouble if there is anything obstructing the chosen PCI slot. Drivers are a wash as they are both very closely based on the reference ones from Aureal. Diamond of course offers a much better software bundle that includes games (most notably Half-life Day One), a software DVD player, and miscellaneous music authoring tools.
With the Storm Platinum coming in at $20 less than the MX300 for just the card, it seems that unless you are really fond of Diamond's bundle, that the Storm Platinum is a better choice. For that $20, you could have the complete Storm Platinum Gamer's Pack that includes the force feedback headphones.
For users who just need basic stereo sound, there are many cheaper solutions, but for gamers looking for an excellent 3D sound solution, the Storm Platinum will not disappoint.