I recently purchased Logitech's Z-5500s. I want to upgrade my sound card. I currently have a Sound Blaster Live! 5.1. Bad. I use my system for music mostly, but also games and movies. I want to use optical throughput. I am currently using Windows XP Pro, but will switch to Vista in a couple months when it's more necessary. I also want to do music editing with a USB Midi Controller etc. This will also act as the entertainment center for my dorm room next year. I will run the "direct" converter from the stereo RCA out of the back of my receiver into the control pod.
So basically want I want: A card that will last through Vista, a card that has excellent sound output quality, a card that is cheaper (sub-$100 or better -I know, I never thought I'd spend any money on a sound card either)
One more sound care to add to your list is the Sondigo Inferno. It is sold by New Egg and offers the same features as your other two cards but at a lower price. I also recently purchased the Logitech Z-5500 speakers and, after some tweaking around, I am very happy with my speaker and sound card combination. Sondigo includes a digital connector in their package which will hook right up between the card and Logitech's control center. The only thing I cannot help you with is how the card works with Vista. However, Sondigo has a website with a very responsive person from the company who answers people's questions in the forum.