I've never liked EAX. While the positional audio was often nice, for some reason developers all too often went completely overboard with echo effects making games sound like echo chambers to me. I also never liked what the positional audio did to sound sometimes, sounds coming from behind often sounded unnatural to me like it was coming through some kind of thin wall that absorbed and warped some of the audio frequences.
But when I came across a cheap OEM Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium I realized I've never tried EAX 3.0 and later versions, so I figured what the hell, lets give them a try.
That didn't go too well. After installing the card to my WinXP machine the first thing I noticed was the crackling carbage sound coming through every single time I moved the mouse. After some troubleshooting I managed to fix it by disabling CPU C1 and C3 power saving states in BIOS forcing the CPU to run at 100% speed at all times. I have no idea why that caused such an issue but it didn't exactly fill me with confidence about compatibility between my motherboard and the sound card.
Which turned out to be warranted. While the mouse movement audio issue was fixed now every time the GPU was being used it caused all kinds of distortions, beebs and carbage sound. I hoped that was caused by electromagnetic interference so I whipped up a makeshift EMI shield with cardboard and aluminum foil, didn't help at all.
The Sound Blaster X-Fi wiki page says "Since its release X-Fi has caused several unsolved problems with sound glitches on various motherboards" Welp 😒