The cheaper the better, but I defiantly want a quality sound card. I will mostly be using it for gaming, but I'll also be using it for listening to music from time to time.
Right now I'm dual booting Vista 64bit and Windows 7 Beta 64bit (I know, vista sucks and windows 7 is stlll beta... but both have better support than XP 64bit)... so the card will have to have solid 64bit driver support.
vista sucks when compared on like machines but when you slap it on a i7 at 4ghz it rips it up. plus you have better self defrag, built in partition built in back up like ghost - way better security - even better if uac is left on
vista is great - ok fine you have to restart your machine once in a while but most the magor usb and sleep issues have improved
i run vista since rc-2 and got rid of xp systems as service pack 1 - its ready for prime time
as far 64bit go to the 64bit sites for products and look it up - that is how you do it - yes you can look at the newegg reviews and you should
thats true about vista not being bad when run on a good enough machine. but taking up almost 1.5GB of RAM while idling is pretty bad, and I don't even have many background programs running.
Also, thanks for the tips about the windows 7 beta.
Back on the topic though...I'm not a massive audiophile, but I do want my games to sound good. I'll admit $175 is defiantly a steep price. If anyone can recommend a good sound card that's cheaper that would awesome. It has to have analog and digital out though, cause i have Sennheiser PC 350's hooked up to analog and z-5500 hooked up to digital.