Pros: Can improve poor/broken onboard sound. Works in linux as long as you load its module (emu10k1) before the one for onboard sound. Not sure if it's possible using compiled-in kernel drivers or alsa-driver package.
Cons: I have onboard Via 8235 AC97, and this new pcmcia card sounded virtually indistinguishable from my onboard sound. The noticeable difference was occasional static, repeatable when my WoW rogue went into or out of stealth.
Summary: The optical output is great. I wasn't able to use it for my intended purpose, (digital audio output into my ProTools rig for podcasting) because I couldn't get the card to operate at 44.1 sampling rate on the digital output.
Pros: If your on-board sound uses your CPU instead of it's own dedicated logic, this will reduce CPU usage, and can make your system a little more responsive while playing audio.
Cons: On my computer, an Inspiron 4150 notebook, it always had a bit of background noise when the laptop was plugged into the wall. (I have found this to be a problem with every portable I have owned, with the exception of my MacBook Pro.)
Summary: I got lured in by memories of my first sound card, a Sound Blaster Pro. Creative Labs needs to go back to the drawing board on their lineup. We used to actually need soundcards back in the day.
Pros: It appears to work as advertised. It does include a firewire port.
Cons: It was a bad purchase when I got it, now it's an even worse purchase as it will not enhance your overall experience enough to justify it.
Summary: Most songs play fine. If you listen to any Rock or Metal, do NOT buy this card, it for some reason cannot handle it. I've messed around with the controls for weeks and nothing helps. I regret buying this.
Pros: Sounds decent in games and some songs
Cons: REALLY bad software. Comes with a ton of "equalization" software that makes things sound much worse. Even after turning all that off this sound card is no beter than any integrated sound card I've ever come across.
Summary: I've given up on this card. When I first purchased this card I really thought it would work fine when connected to my receiver via analog cables. It worked fine with my old TBSC card. This just didn't cut it. It won't work.
Pros: Good sound quality through Sennheiser headphones and Logitech speakers. Very clear and punchy audio in Battlefield 2.
Cons: Can NOT get surround sound working through my Denon receiver after hours of work and research.
Summary: When I first got this card I thought it was going to do alot better than it did. But it is nice to have 5.1 as long as you dont breath to hard around the card itself when its pluged in.
Pros: 5.1 surround sound on my laptop.
Cons: Doesnt increase game frame rate all that much even though it takes the load off of the CPU for sound. Extremely fragile. I bumped mine and now the front right channel isnt available. I will have to buy another and eat the cost.