Every time I pull a SoundBlaster card from my system, I swear I'll never go back to Creative. Somehow, I always do.
My latest row with the makers of the oldest name in quality PC sound come from something some of us SB users know casually as SCP. That clever acronym stands for snap, crackle, pop, and it has nothing to do with Rice Krispies. Google something like "SCP x-fi" and you'll come up something like 65,000 hits. There's a reason for that. There are also dozens of threads (example) on Creative's own forums on the topic.
I just yanked a Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Titanium out of my system because, no matter what I did, I heard SCP whenever I played music, games, movies, etc. Little pops of crackling static, every few seconds, permeated everything I did with audio on my computer. Here are things that had no bearing: Drivers, speakers, motherboards, installed graphics cards, and standing on my head.
In the SB's place is an ASUS Xonar PCIe of some sort, and everything sounds terrific.
Why, then, do I go back? I don't really know. I've given outstanding reviews to competing sound cards in places for which I used to write, but somehow when the latest Creative effort comes out I jump all over it. Then the SCP returns. Creative denies it. Blames motherboards. Tells you to update your drivers. Etc.
I think maybe I'm a Xonar guy from now on. I've got a little Logitech X-540 5.1 speaker system on my main rig (my big, X-5500 is in the basement where I can crank it; and thanks, Jason, for sending me the x-540) and I'm getting excellent surround sound as I play my tunes, games, and films.
Creative, I've always loved you. And hated you. But for now I think we should see other people. Don't worry; we can still be friends.