I was reading the latest issue of Atomic magazine today, #92. In it, there's a review of the latest-and-greatest sound card from Creative, the "Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Titanium". It seems to have fairly respectable audio performance, with quite low distortion and good signal-to-noise.
The thing that really caught my eye, though, was this paragraph:
"Installation of the card caused several BSODs [Blue Screens of Death], with the Creative installer, dll and hardware detection engine still being quite messy. We also experienced a fairly serious OS level corruption problem when trying to run the X-Fi Titanium in the same host system as an Auzentech X-Fi."
They scored this card 8.5/10. For something that you can expect to crash your system several times on install, and may lead to operating system corruption.
Are they for real?
I guess Creative have dominated the sound card market for so long now that people just accept their buggy drivers as normal.
Me, I'll stick with my on-board audio for the time being. It works, and works well, with pretty good audio quality - and lets face it, I'm not exactly listening to sounds that *need* high quality THD & SNR figures. If I'm after high-fidelity audio, I'll play uncompressed audio through the Yamaha Amp & Peerless speakers in the loungeroom. In the meantime, I save myself several hundred $$, and avoid the general crappiness of Creative's software.