Odd for me to stumble on this thread now... Late last week my old Sound Blaster X-Fi card finally died. I had carried this original pci card forward through two builds, and loved the excellent job it did for me in countless gaming sessions and literally years of almost nightly TS conversations. Flawless and (except for the bloatware accompanying it) not something I wanted to be without.
When the X-Fi died, I had to switch on the on-board sound on my latest build. RealTek something, drivers from my motherboard maker (Asus.) It works, but the difference is noticeable. Sort of like the difference between listening to an .mp3 of your favorite song, and listening to that same song in .flac format. If you don't notice any difference, keep on using the onboard sound.
My new sound card (a Xonar card like the fellow a few posts up is selling <had to try breaking away from SB's bloatware>) will be here tomorrow.
My X-Fi died a couple weeks ago, so I was forced to use onboard sound which was flaky about the front headphone jacks when I had the ext speakers plugged in the back, then I built a PC for a friend and they gave me all the old hardware including a Budget version of the soundcard I had originally just no header for the front, but finding Win7 drivers for the older cards is a pain in the fanny. Used to think Creative was good stuff but not much anymore.