I have a new Extreme Gamer & it came with the proper drivers for either OS. I know the product so I'll personally stick with it. Like most things people like it's all in preference! I've never used anything but since I started in this business so that's all.
Well I can tell (at least in XP) That there is a big difference from EAX 2.0 to EAX 5.0 in some games like Battlefield 2. Big difference. But most games it doesn't matter much. XP my extreme gamer X-fi has been amazing for me. Only a few small problems but mostly it is fine. Haven't tried vista though. Never do I ever want to be on onboard sound again.
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Here is a list of EAX effects per technology level for those interested. The fact remains that some games would utilize the effects to a higher extent them some others. EAX 5.0 is still relatively new and hasn't been as widely adopted for games yet. Future games may make better use of the technology. While some people love EAX in games others don't care about it so much. Depends on the type of games you play also.
EAX Level Feature List
Environmental Effect Presets
32 individual 3D voices
Per-channel individual environmental presets
Hardware DSP Rendering
Material-specific reverb parameters
'Smoothing' between 3D audio environments
Direct access to all reverb parameters
New reverb engine
64 simultaneous voices
Beginning of the AdvancedHD Designation from new reverb engine
Real-time hardware effects
Multiple simultaneous environments
Flange, echo, distortion, and ring modulation effects
128 simultaneous voices
EAX Voice - Processing of microphone input signal
EAX PurePath - EAX Sound effects can originate from one speaker only
Environment FlexiFX - 4 available effects slots per channel
EAX MacroFX - realistic positional effects at close range
Environment Occlusion - Sound from adjacent environments can pass through walls
i also vot for auzentech. They are imho a much higher quality board manufacturer than creative. I have had 1 creative card (buggy as hell) and 2 auzentech cards (both were awesome) the only issue i had with the auzentech cards was digital support in linux for one and support at all for the other. I personally love my X-Meridian for the DTS connect and DDL features. If i had to choose again it would be auzentech. Not to mention the replaceable opamp chips is a nice feature.