If you're finding that your notebook is pulling double duty as productivity machine and audio server in your home, Creative has a new tandem of products that may hold some appeal: the Sound Blaster X-Fi Notebook sound card and Wireless Receiver.
The $90 Sound Blaster X-Fi Notebook sound card fits into an ExpressCard slot and, on its own, promises to restore details to compressed audio files. It also delivers an approximation of surround sound to gamers using headphones.
The receiver communicates wirelessly up to 100 feet to the X-Fi Notebook sound card and ships with a remote control. You can connect the receiver (via the included RCA cable) to a set of powered speakers or an audio receiver. You can use up to four Wireless Receivers with the sound card. The Creative Wireless Receiver will cost $70 when it starts shipping later this month.
If you already own a home theater receiver, speakers, and a laptop, the X-Fi Notebook sound card and Wireless Receiver(s) present a more affordable route to a multiroom wireless audio arrangement than the admittedly more complete Sonos product.