I've grown to distrust the onboard sound on my motherboard (it tends to pop and make weird noises when I use my computer while its playing sound) and instead of chasing down a way to possibly solve that problem, I'm going with the age-old "throw money at the problem" solution and looking for a sound card replacement. Here are my requirements:Under $100
- I'm really looking at an $80 maximum, but I figure with tax / shipping and what-have-you.Toslink (Optical) S/PDIF
- I'm currently sending an optical signal to my MOTU 828 MK II which then happily converts the digital signal to nice clean analog. My MOTU supports up to 96khz at 24 bits, and while it's not a deal breaker, I wouldn't mind that capability, especially if the overhead isn't too high just to fool around with (I understand that most audio program is not sampled that high, so 96khz is fairly useless).Not Made By Creative
- I doubt I have to explain this requirement this forum, but in no way will I ever support Creative Labs again if I can help it. If there is some magical new Creative card that costs $10 and washes my car for me or something then by all means, I will consider it, but given the choice I will never choose a Creative product.Compatible with Vista and XP
- Currently running XP and will switch to Vista later. Basically, I don't want to buy anything from a manufacturer that will leave me out in the cold like Creative.
As an optional bonus feature I would absolutely ADORE a card that will allow me to slave the clock - I know this is a really rare feature with consumer audio products, but my MOTU's clock is probably a lot tighter than anything I'm going to find at this price point and it would be fantastic if it could be the clock master. This is a totally unrealistic feature and I recognize that.
So far I like this look the HT Omega Striker - and it's about at the limit of my price-point. Anyone have any experience with this card? Any other suggestions?