Ok for the price, with optical in.
This works fine for the price. I got it because i needed a pci express card with optical in so my wife could play ps3 on her computer monitor, and it works ok. Optical out works too. Be aware you need to set the sampling rate to 48,000, or they keep split out, 44.1 doesn't seem to work. Line in and mic in sound terrible, as expected, but i didn't really need them-just tested them out for curiosity's sake. Like any recent sound card, it works fine with window's built in drivers.I don't know if other reviewers were expecting automatic upmixing of 2 channel sources to 5.1 or 7.1 output, but the built in windows drivers aren't going to do this. It as well doesn't automatically decode dolby digital or dts (due to legal concerns) without purchased software like some paid dvd decoders, and optical output is limited to 2 channels unless encoded with dolby digital or dts. The c-media software (the people who made the controller chip) might do this, but be aware you'll need something to decode it on the other end--a pc with dvd software like i mentioned above or a 5.1 or 7.1 receiver. Don't blame the manufacturer of the card because you don't have much experience with computer audio.Don't expect audiophile quality, but the cheapest presumably decent-sounding pci-e card with optical in was 4x more expensive, and my goto brand for audio quality, ht omega, doesn't even make one. So, if you need something serviceable with optical in or something cheap to replace onboard sound, i recommend this.One thing that might be an issue for some people is the fact that all the connectors aren't on the same backplate. It comes with a second one that must be connected to the first by a short included cable. However, this fact is clearly visible from the picture on the product page. I'm writing this review months after i tossed the box and i can't remember if it came with half-height backplates. Anyway, if your slots are already packed, you might be in trouble.In the end, i rate it five stars. Don't get me wrong, five stars aren't for outstanding audio quality, just more (working) features than i expected for the price. I try to rate things on a relative scale.**edit**there was something i thought of that i wanted to add: recent versions of windows (at least from windows 7 in my personal experience) reliably support multiple sound devices. So, you can, and i do, use this card purely as an optical input, and use the marginally better onboard analog output for the speakers. You can as well put in a second card, even a different brand or type, and use this as an input, and the other card for output or additional inputs. Be aware that multiple inputs may or may not mix simultaneously, depending on the setup. I've experienced both. If it doesn't, you will have to manually switch the input source in windows. There are supposedly software "hacks" that may let you get around this, but i've never got them to work. Anyway, one nice thing about this particular card is that the optical jacks are on the main card, so if you don't need the speaker jacks you don't even need to plug the second bracket in. That saves a slot on your motherboard for another card or usb/etc. Bracket.