Good sound card brand

For the sake if curiosity (and a possible gaming pc in the future), what is a good sound card? Also, when are some things I need to look for in a sound card?
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    asus xonar are popular nowdays.

    you want to look at the number of outputs and type of outputs. for instance do you need a spdif out? coax? do you need 5.1? 7.1? or if you have a really nice pair of studio headphones with a high power draw you might want one meant for them. such models are typically 2.0 only with a big 1/4 jack on the back. an alternative to that would be an external DAC

    you also want to look at what software it includes such as for virtual surround sound (if you use a stereo headset this is handy)

    sample rates and resolution (the higher the better). higher = better quality.

    thd (total harmonic distortion) the lower the better. basically how much the amp distorts sound.

    honestly what you want will be determined by what you want to hook up to it and what you want to do with it.
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