So I've been reading this thread since the beginning, gave up a night of studying, and probably failed a test in systems analysis and design due to this site, so i think I might finally weigh in.
I have no yet installed the dan_k drivers, that's next on my list of things to do.
When I was running XP, I absolutely hated my onboard sound, which was on some ECS motherboard. I upgraded to the Sound blaster Live! 24 then and was amazed at how much better a dedicated card was compared to onboard at the time. When i built my next rig, knowing that dedicated was better, I bought an X-fi for it right off the bat because it was "the best." On XP, it was great, I got soooo much functionality, and even without modding I've always been satisfied with it. This is one of the cards that I thought would probably last me forever, or at least another 5-10 years.
Then vista was realeased, and i remember not having any drivers for my x-fi, which made me sad. I then found some dell drivers because for some reason creative gave dell some drivers for the x-fi, but not the rest of the world. I finally got some sound to come out my speakers, and I was elated. But much of my functionality was not there, and at the time I had just shoved the thought away thinking "Vista is new, and many of my components don't have fully supported drivers yet. I'll just keep using XP and be fine for awhile." Now I'm using Vista full time, and though Creative has official drivers for me, it still seems like something is missing. For a long time I attributed this simply to the fact that Vista has reworked sound code. After reading all 90 (at this time) pages of this thread, I will be very upset with Creative if they purposely aren't enabling part of my hardware. This card is supposed to be Creative's flagship product, which to me means that they should be working constantly to enable all of the features that I paid for. Props to Daniel_K if he was able to *fix* my card, and shame on Creative.
Now let's just hope I passed that test!