If you're a gamer, look nowhere else than X-Fi cards really. I've bought Xonar Essence STX, it has a great sound quality, but game compatibility is piss poor and they don't update drivers any more often than Creative does. - Many games have problems with sound (missing sounds/voices, broken 3D positioning, sounds looping till you leave the area of effect) - GX mode is a disaster. I can't remember a single game where it worked without a crash in one or another way. ALchemy on the other hand worked in all games that i tried - drivers are not updated any frequently than Creative ones With Xonar cards you have to make a compromise. They offer kick ass audio quality but they suck at games. Forget perfect 3D positioning, forget any EAX 2.0 in older games (especially if you're using Vista or higher). But when the sound does work right in games, it's also good. But thats not too often or only in software audio mode.