I can't speak of Win 8.1 yet but, apart from that, the drivers "seem" to be pretty good, both overall and especially to Creative's standards. What they do have though is a funky installation routine.
Creative is one of the very, very few companies that I've had huge issues with "beta" drivers with, drivers that could easily trash your system's installation.
Now, from a logical point of view, with all the different filters and EQs in place a borked installation could mess up the whole thing easily.
The matter of choice is whether there's something you like about the card or not. Then it may be easier to simply get something else that works right away.
I, for example, ran into detection issues at one place. It got really hard to boot up my pc and use the card "regularly". As I love the SBX system for my headphones, I wanted the card to work.
My temporary fix is the DBpro card. As long as I have it connected to the main card, the two of them will always be detected, no matter if I cold-boot my machine or do a fast reboot.
Someone here said that the THX setup program, something I'd supposedly use if I was using speakers, messed up his sound. Maybe it's something like that?
Btw., fresh install, to me, includes the following steps:
- uninstall the package, all Creative software
- boot into safe mode
- uninstall the "raw" card, maybe even with a driver cleaner software
- uninstall the non p-n-p Creative devices
- reboot into safe mode
- delete all the remaining Creative folders
- do a registry scan (I use CCleaner for this)
- reboot into Windows using the "disable driver signature check" flag
- re-install the drivers, starting with the CD