I'm currently in the process of returning a Creative XtremeGamer card because of all the problems I've had installing it, and the crackles and pops in use. In the process I've become aware that Creative's drivers
are generally slated, and have been investigating alternative devices. I was interested in the Prelude and the Bravura by Auzentech, but it seems that, whilst they seem to be fine, on the whole, on XP, the drivers for Win 7 are atrocious (there's even a thread entitled "Class Action" on the Auzentech forums).
So, here's why I'm asking for help: I'm looking for a high-quality sound card with:
1) usable and reliable drivers for both 32-bit XP Pro SP3 & Win 7 Pro x64.
2) EAX 4 or 5 support (whether in hardware or software, doesn't matter).
3) TOSLINK output.
4) availability in the UK.
It can use either the PCI or PCI-Express (x1) port standard.
I doesn't need any bells and whistles like 5.1 or 7.1, or DTS/DD (though I'm sure any card of a certain price is generally guaranteed to have one or both of the former).
So, any relevant suggestions? Price isn't initially an issue, though given the option I'll choose cheaper over more expensive, so long as it has what I require.
PS: my PC's spec is available in my profile.