What ever you do do not under any circumstance buy a Recon 3D. It abandons any form of offloading game audio and has practically no analog circuitry. Useless for headphones/analog speaker setups. It's geared towards digital use but if you're going that route you might as well use the optical on your board or HDMI on your card to hook up to a receiver. I would not value the Recon 3D above $30. It's price and "newness" create a false sense of value that it just doesn't live up to. Frankly I think everyone should be screaming "don't buy this" in every corner of the net. As for Forte vs the HD I made this jump myself. It's a mixed bag. The Forte has more headphone power, expect to find yourself raising the volume a few notches. The HD has better drivers to a degree (the control panel at least has been overhauled to be more responsive) but the Forte has a radically better installation process. They bundle every element of the drivers into one package and let you do a custom install to pick out the like 4 things worth installing. With my HD I have to go in and uninstall the junk manually. The HD also seems to have effective EMI shielding.