I think me and Camm are talking about two separate, yet equally important things: * The quality of the analogue output - the fidelity to the musician's/engineer's original intent. This comes from having a well-designed output stage with quality components. Both the ST/STX and Ti HD are equal here - to the point where it matters. The Ti HD has better specs, but at this point we're splitting hairs - that's what Camm's talking about, I think. * The digital side, specifically, the HRTF surround provided by CMSS-3D (on the X-Fi,) and the Dolby Headphone (on the Xonar,) as well as hardware acceleration and EAX support. This is where it gets different, and what I'm talking about. Most, if not all of the processing for these things is done on the CPU for the Xonar - about all the chip does is split PCM into various channels. The Datasheet for the CMI8788 says as much. All that Dolby stuff (which is nowhere near as good for gaming, and was a pretty bad setup to begin with,) is software, and could easily be run on any chip, as long as you pay the licencing fee to Dolby and DTS. I'll do a full rundown comparison between the cards later tonight.