Which is more important to you? The gaming or music?
There are two schools of thought on this one, and that there is Creative X-Fi which have dominated gaming for a while now, and Xonar, which I consider is the best for hi-fi listening. (I know guys, diehard EAX fans, I know...). With both lines, you can get a fairly decent listening experience for under $100, which can leave you with a little over $100 to spend on speakers. (Going off of the $200 price point). But the thing to remember here is that for your price range, its very difficult to max your onboard soundcard. By that I mean that it is very difficult for most people to discern the difference in the quality of the sound through most speakers in your price range. That is just a forewarning before I make my recommendations. Also, for speakers, I'd avoid Bose and Logitech. Logitech changed the membrane material and for some reason sound tinny to me. It makes it so many of their speakers are not worth their price point. (There are some, but I avoid Logitech in general) I'd avoid Bose for two reasons, they aren't worth the cost and they also changed build material, but instead of sounding tinny, they are less durable. If I pay as much as it costs to get a Bose system I want it to last a long time.
Recommendations (I will pair them for you so the total cost is about what you are looking at):
- Asus Xonar DX 7.1 PCIe 1x Interface - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16829132006
- Harmon Kardon Soundstick III
Note: This Xonar is one of my favorite sound cards. And for only $59 its a steal right now.
Total: Approx $220 after rebate, before shipping.
- Asus Xonar Essence GTX
- Klipsch ProMedia 2.1
Note: Yes, I know guys, the Klipsch comp speakers are terrible yadda yadda yadda. But unfortunately the sound quality is UNDENIABLE for $100 PC speakers. You can't get much more value than that. Also, the GTX soundcard is probably the best you can buy right now without going over the top or into the professional audio realm. Youll probably be able to keep it until your next major rig replacement.
Total: Approx $280 before shipping and tax.
Thats all I have right now, but I'll add more when I think of more...
Also, you may want to read my post about headphones. You may learn about my taste in audio, and therefore learn where I am coming from.