That shouldn't be a problem, you just won't be using 2 channels. Be the same as running 5 speakers instead of 7 through a 7.1 receiver or playing in stereo rather than surround. All the sound cards I've ever used come with software that let's you chose what configuration to use based on your hardware set up. E.g., I'm getting a card similar to this, the HT Omega Claro +, which is considerably more expensive but built on the same technology and will be using it for stereo, which I prefer for listening to music. I plan eventually to get surround so if I want to, I'll be able to use it. Currently running the sound card though a receiver with only 2 speakers. I can simulate surround but like I said, prefer stereo for music.
Interesting, just saw this in another post I'm following. Was posted by nikolokolus
"I'll second that bluegears b-inspirer recommendation. I just picked one up about a week ago from the egg and I couldn't be happier. Basically I was unwilling to put up with the crash related issues with windows vista x64, 4 GB's of RAM and an x-fi from creative (you just can't rely on creative to release timely driver updates). and the c-media Oxygen HD chip seemed like the only viable alternative. The sound coming out of my 2.1 creative i-trigue L3800 (at true 24 bit, 192khz) is simply mind blowing ... I didn't realize how undpowered my old audigy 2 zs had become.
Some might complain about this sound card not being ideal for games, but the fact that most games are VGA bound and not CPU bound means the difference in FPS is usually going to neglible, and even w/o EAX or OpenAL support, turning on Dolby's virtual speaker and setting input to 8 channel the surround sound in games is some of the best I've heard ... the 2.1 speakers really do seem to do a decent job of emulating surround sounds and positional audio.
This card (or one of the HT omega's with the same c-media chip) will really reveal the quality/defects in your mp3's; I've already had to re-rip several of my old albums from their 192 vbr to 320 to get a fuller range of sound.
I'm not bashing the x-fi chip, I'm sure it's great"
Granted I'm no sound engineer and no expert on home theater, but this really has been the best sound card I've ever laid down the scratch for. Before that I had an audigy 2zs and a regular audigy before that, as well as a card by aureal before that (it's been too long I don't remember the model).
I have heard a buddy's system that has a creative x-fi xtremegamer and windows XP, and he runs fairly cheap set of logitech analog 5.1 speakers (the x-530's if I recall), and I admit that his system does sound pretty good in games, but not exactly worlds of diffrence compated to my bluegears/2.1 setup, but CD music from his PC sounds pretty "muddy" to me ... granted this could more to do with his speakers than his sound card.
But if you are interested in digital optical in then I think you'd probably be very pleased with the result with this sound card, but whatever the case the signal is still getting translated into analog out, so the difference might not be earth shatteringly different between analog in and optical in.
Well, I'm no audio expert ... what I want is the cheapest card I can get that could transform my true srround optical signal from my xbox to the analog signals of my PC Speakers (green, black & orange cables) ...
It's just that the matrix (simulated sorround) isn't that great.
well at $99 on the egg, the b-gears card is likely the best deal on a c-media oxygen HD chip you will find. I don't own an xbox, but as I understand it they are designed to use dolby dts, and surround technologies, which would make it particularly well suited to this card.
And it just has to be said my mp3's, CD's and .flac recordings have never sounded so good on a PC
7.1 Surround Sound Receiver is a must in this digital age. Then you connect your xbox 360 to the receiver using optical audio cable. Great surround sound. How do you watch movies without it? My advice is save money for a system like that, instead of wasting $100. And don't re-invent the wheel. Do it right and you won't regret it. Just my 2 cents.