I have currently got a Audigy 2 ZS platinum pro and I am looking for a replacement in mind to consider for the next few months I have had the card since it came out in and it has been running well but it is time to end of life it before it ends life on me and i have to make iminent plans to replace on short notice.
I lost the I/O hub (threw it out) after Vista since Creative was in a pretty nasty battle to do with audio drivers...
I don't really use high audio gear through my sound cards etc but if you need a reason why top of the line the reason why i buy them top of the line so i do not have to keep buying and replacing often... this one has been through more computers than i can remember (from celeron up to the i7) aside from drivers being supported with lacking some features there havent been anything else i noticed different its mean time abuse is pretty average.
mainly gets used with headphones and possibly speakers but not too likely anything else but if the recommendation comes with an I/O hub ill take it that it comes with an I/O hub and thats the price i am starting off with...
i might consider plugging my guitar in for a bit of a mess around every now and then but thats not really a critical factor more a 'play' factor i get sick of dragging my guiar amp out to play on when i need to use headphones so the I/O hub in the audigy 2 used to do that quite nicely but equally i am not concerned if there is a more efficient means of doing the same thing without extreme in expense or requring my guitar amp thats heavy as it is and limited spacial concerns.
Main uses are favoured for music during the day i have a lot of this and movies.
I do games on it but i am not extreme gamer so i dont really mind if games are a little lacking..
expenses? Well i dont know how equivlent prices would be for an audigy 2 zs back in its day so i might need some indications for prices to day to do with similar audio cards.
I am mostly looking into PCI-E connectors as my boards main connectors are hogged by graphics card and i dont know if the sound card will fit in between the two cards nicely like the audigy 2 is seems like it might fit but phsyical removal will be impractical to impossible without pliers.
hope its not too much info but if it is let me know so i can re asses any new future posts...