Ive recently looked into buying an XLR condensor mic. Specifically the Audio Technica AT2020 and was wondering how i would get it to plug in to my computer. I also have bought of a old friend an asus xonar essence stx, and was wondering if I bought a XLR-1/4 If that would allow me to plug straight into my sound card.
That mic, you are going to need a preamp that will supply what is called "phantom power" which is a 48v signal over the XLR cable. A XLR -- 1/4" won't work because it won't get the power it needs. You can look for a mic that don't use phantom power, that takes a 9V to supply some power or get something like this.
Serves all the needs, good for recording, and direct to USB. Why bother going all complicated if your only goal is to get it recorded into the PC. You're not going through an external rack or anything.
Since you seemed to be wanting to spend $200, $100 on the mic and preamp, you could get that combo package they offer with the mic I linked above, the wind screen, the mic holder, then buy a desktop or full sized stand and be about $200. It even has zero latency headphone out, so you can listen with phones on as your talking to make sure it sounds good.
I would go with that combo pack at the bottom where it says buy all 3 and then buy a stand suited if you want it floor or desk mounted, about $200 all in and you'd be doing good for what you want to do.