Originally Posted by LAN_deRf_HA
Even with a good soundcard a receiver often ends up being the way to go. You get more connectivity options and you don't have to worry about powering your speakers.
Agreed, I have an essence ST hooked up to an old Denon receiver (can't remember exact model) and then Bowers and Wilkins CM5's in 5.1 with some random sub (the sub is ancient, can't remember its name). And like bumblebee said, you can hook up other devices without having to swap cables around everywhere.
On another note with powering speakers, i've seen speakers that require a power plug for EACH SPEAKER! (I think they were Definitive's).