I'm having some trouble selecting a good sound card. I'm trying to plan out a build for my next computer that I'll hopefully be getting before too long, but it seems that there are just no good choices for sound cards. Two things about my build that are not flexible are that it'll be a Windows 7 64-bit OS and an Intel based processor (most likely getting some version of the i7 processor unless AMD comes out with something spectacular).
I'll be using this system for gaming, but nothing extreme, most likely playing Diablo III and Final Fantasy XIV, possibly some others but nothing that has caught my attention so far. I don't care for Halo or other shooting games. I do like watching BDs and have a small collection so far that is still growing. I don't do any sound recording really.
I don't need anything spectacular, my primary concern is to take as much load off the processor as I can, so I want a dedicated sound card. After that my next concern is that I want it to be as hassle-free as possible, I don't want to have to tweak it constantly or worry about it crashing some game I'm playing or some such. I'd like to spend no more than $100, but that number isn't written in stone. Thanks for any suggestion ya'll can provide.
I'd try the MoBo's on board sound before checking into a separte card solution....or look at MoBos like the Asus Rampage II Extreme (R2E) which comes with a XiFi "daughter" card. The new R3E should be out any day now.