Let’s follow up on my PC Gaming adventures. First of all here are the specs of my rig.
- Intel Core i5 2.8GHz
- 4GB RAM
- ATI 5700
It’s nothing too special, other than the fact that it’s plugged into a TV
Now if you’re wondering why there’s a disc taped to the front of the system, when you have a little infant who finds daddy’s screams of terror when he accidentally shuts down the PC funny, you too would want to make sure it’s not that easy to push the power button!
The primary game controller used is of course the Razer Sabertooth.
It’s really nice that most PC game developers understand the need to support the XBox Gamepad, an added plus is that when you run Steam in Big Picture mode, the guide button becomes the Shift-Tab hot key which you’d usually press on the keyboard so you can still access most of Steam’s functionality with only the Gamepad, neat!
Then I needed to handle the fact that I’d want to use my Turtle Beach PX5 on the PC.
I wanted to use the Optical Jack on the PC, but then I realized that I’ll have to remember to toggle quite a few settings to get the sound piped through the TV again. And that’s not good for one simple reason.
This is because my office room is also the room my wife uses to placate little WH if he wakes up and refuses to go back to sleep at night, so she’ll come to my room and use the TV to try and get him to sleep again. At this time, WH is usually, crying, screaming, squirming, etc. etc. Basically everything that would piss off and stress out a mommy who have just been woken up. Imagine how would she feel if upon turning on the TV and playing some videos and no sound comes out of the TV to soothe WH?
So I had to look for an alternate solution, the Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro
Yes, this is basically a USB sound card. And more importantly, it’s a USB sound card with an OPTICAL PORT
So why does this help my situation? When you set a USB sound card as your default sound device in Windows, the moment it is disconnected Windows will automatically pipe sound back through your internal Sound Card, and whenever you plug the USB one back in, it becomes the default sound device again. This makes it very easy for me to switch between output to the TV or to my headset, all I have to do is plug the USB in and I’m good.
Of course I’m quite aware that USB audio cards might have latency or other performance based issues, haven’t felt anything noticeable for now though.
As I started playing Payday 2, I realized I needed to get voice chat working or I’d never be able to play effectively. I tried all manner of cable converters to plug the PX5 Xbox 360 connection into the X-Fi’s mic jack, but none of them seem to work the way I’d like them to. Until I got fed up and just plugged the jack into the Sabertooth, at which point Windows made the familiar Hardware Inserted sound and… *poof* a new mic input device appeared for the headset of the Sabertooth…
And it works exactly like intended, just like on the Xbox 360! The driver support package which MS gave the Xbox 360 controller is amazing!!! In fact, you can even set your PC sound to output through the XBox 360 headset. Though it’s at a VERY VERY poor bitrate though.
The Journey Continues…