I had Creative cards for years, since like 1994. Finally gave them up because of the drivers
, and software issues. They load many more apps than needed. The software is intrusive and latches on to the OS and other apps, and generally won't let go.
And they are near impossible to remove.
I recently, last year, went to an Asus D1 card and love it. The drivers are simple and effective. They are light on the OS, and offer just as much versatility as Creative. I haven't had one crash because of sound related issues - unlike the Creative cards.
I have M Audio 2496 on my digital audio workstation(DAW) PC. The M Audio cards are more geared toward recording. The drivers are solid, but they don't offer much for gaming or multimedia. No 'environments' or flashy user interface to play with.