I have both XFi and 2 Asus Xonar DS I love both for different reasons and have found that all my sound issues have been either simply compatibility issues or even crackling and slow down caused by my USB network adapter. I have the XFi Xtremegamer, Xtreme Music, Titanium and Platinum, and they are incredible and work flawlessly except for the fact that Alchemy needs work. Especially in Windows 7, Alchemy simply doesn't find the games and with Steam in general it is not user friendly to enable EAX in your games. I don't know about anybody else but I really like the Crystalizer function and as long as you don't overuse any other equalization it really makes certain speaker setups kick big time. Sometimes it needs tweaking but it is fully adjustable so you really can't complain. I just recently bought 2 Asus Xonar DS sound cards and they are fabulous because they do offer a few things that Creative Labs doesn't. The buggy yet promising automatic EAX enabling GX 2.5for Vista and 7 is one. When it works it does well providing the proper reverb. When it doesn't such as in FEAR Perseus Mandate some sounds are missing so you can simply disable EAX to get all the sound effects back minus the reverb. DTS NEO PC is superior than Creative's CMSS for music and movies because it does a better job emphasizing the center channel vocals. The AV200/C-Media Oxygen HD driven Asus Xonar DS cards also support 7.1 24 bit 192khz audio which for me is very interesting. Maybe I would need dog ears to hear the difference though. So it is great to have options in the marketplace especially on the cheap. I also like the (gasp) XFi Xtreme Audio and XFi Surround 5.1. I don't do the onboard thing. In relation to the current new offerings from Creative Labs. I don't know why they wouldn't have native HDMI. It does seem to be the next logical step in audio advancement and convenience. I dropped the THX excitement years ago. I use amps designed for professional use in my home theater setups when appicable and they simply never clip or distort. Your head would explode before the amps so THX certification is not necessary for that application or any other. And the amps I use don't have much over a 100db noise floor so super uber high 120db range signal to noise ratio goes to waste. Remember your sound environment is only as good as the weakest link and the sum of the parts equals the whole.