I was goin with the nforce, but then I just happened to win a mobo (www.xppcentral.com), and now I got to buy a sound card. I have heard creative is good, but what do you guys recommend. No more than $120 max! How exactly do these cards make stuff sound better? Like DFX for winamp makes winamp sound better, but you don't need hardware for that. Kinda get what I mean? Why pay for an expensive sound card?
When you pay a lot for a sound card, it's usually for the software bundle. If you don't need the software bundle, go with a Sound Blaster Live! Value. All the capability of the rest of the line, but cheap because it has no bundle (except the card s-ware, of course).
I recommend any of the Vortex2 cards, including the Aureal SQ2500, Diamond MX300, and Turtle Beach Montego II. It uses A3D 2.0 which is better than EAX for sound positioning, and has a built in hardware equalizer (software interfaced).