@Quartzie: thanks for the feedback (as the worthless reviewer in question...) Have you checked out the other articles at unwiredshow.tv? Would be interested to see if those are more detailed / more up your street.
@Craig Foster: to be honest there's little to choose between this and the SigmaTel HD, partly because both are going to be running the majority of the work through noisy mainboard components. The desktop X-Fi is great for isolating circuit noise but the laptop has none of those advantages. As for Vista... I've heard good things about Turtle Beach but the general consensus seems to be that Vista is a trainwreck when it comes to audio.
@People who don't like video: sorry, video is what I do. I'd urge you to check out ChannelFlip.com where you can see some of the other stuff we do - you might find it interesting from a curio perspective.
@Moylan: I was under the impression that Creative had sorted out the driver disk situation, but you're right, it is ludicrous to charge for drivers and not just make them readily available for download. The lack of support online has really killed them, as you point out.