Good soundcard on a budget...

Hey guys and girls, I would usually research hardware myself, and I have a little bit for a sound card.. I wound just like some more opinions.. I am on quite a tight budget, and would like to spend less than 100. I would like to know the advantages over my current onboard sound.. and also, if you can only recommend a really nice card, I would like you to justify such a purchase over less expensive cards.. I would like a 7.1 card and I plan on upgrading my Altec Lansing 4.1 setup soon.. I currently don't have any problems with my onboard, no crackling or distortion. Also, is there any performance increase when using a PCI soundcard over my onboard? I was looking at the AuzenTech cards, and was wondering about the price difference between them all and wich one is the best price/features and stuff like that.. I've hear that the creative drivers are bloated. True or false?? Well thanks ahead of time, for your recommendations and your time!

EDIT: I mostly play FPS and other games.. But I like my music and I am a musician.. And I would like a front pannel connector. Vista will be an upgrade later on when DX10 games come around.. Probably x64 too..
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  1. Ok, but I don't mean a full front pannel like in a DVD drive bay, I mean like on the Centurion 5 case, something that lets me hook up the front mic and heaphone jacks to the soundcard through the inside..
  2. Ok, because right now, I have my front audio ports hooked up (if u've seen the centurion 5 case) But I use it off my mobo, and j/w if the cards had the same feature as my mobo, for front port auto

    Actually I think the SPDIF or Front auto pannel thing connector on the 4th picture is what Im looking for... http://www.newegg.com/Product/ShowImage.aspx?Image=29-102-006-01.jpg%2c29-102-006-02.jpg%2c29-102-006-03.jpg%2c29-102-006-04.jpg%2c29-102-006-05.jpg%2c29-102-006-06.jpg%2c29-102-006-07.jpg&CurImage=29-102-006-01.jpg&Description=Creative+Sound+Blaster+X-Fi+XtremeGamer+7.1+Channels+PCI+Interface+Sound+Card+-+Retail

    Hows the x-fi Fatality, and how come it has less outputs then say.. an Azuntech card? And what is the flexi thing?
  3. Quote:
    Actually I think the SPDIF or Front auto pannel thing connector on the 4th picture is what Im looking for...


    spdif stands for Sony/Phillips digital interface which is a digital coaxial multichannel surround connector. As far as the other connector, I don't know what that's for but creative has a habit of using proprietary connectors for proprietary devices so I would think you might have to buy another product from them to use that.
  4. Quote:
    Actually I think the SPDIF or Front auto pannel thing connector on the 4th picture is what Im looking for...


    spdif stands for Sony/Phillips digital interface which is a digital coaxial multichannel surround connector. As far as the other connector, I don't know what that's for but creative has a habit of using proprietary connectors for proprietary devices so I would think you might have to buy another product from them to use that.

    Thanks, I figured that out, And Im pretty sure I can use the other one for my front pannel
  5. The Xtreme Gamer is one of the first X-Fi's that does not use Creative's proprietary front panel audio Connectors. You're case's connectors should plug in that card without incident since the card has Intel HD Audio Compatible connectors.

    ...its a decent card at a decent price.
  6. I find the onboard sound from the realtek ALC888 on my P5W is more then sufficiant tbh...

    Is there any specific reason you want to replace the sound - would you not be better replacing the speakers for a top quality set first?
  7. I see your point.. and I might not even upgrade my sound if I cannot find enough reasons.. These speakers are ok, but you have a point. I low on cash right now.. some sudden car repairs have taken my some of my savings.. I think Id rather save up for a dx10 card, and vista....
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