So the big question is ‘should I buy a Recon3D or should I stick with either on-board sound or sound from my graphics card?’.
The answer to this really lies within what you use your PC for most of all.
IF your machine is a pure dedicated games machine then it’s a resounding YES! The quality of the audio in games is excellent, and really adds power to proceedings where it’s needed. Features like Scout Mode work reasonably well, and we all know that any edge you can get in games such as Battlefield 3 count.
If you are predominately a headphones gamer then the Recon3D is for you! The dedicated built-in headphone amplifier is excellent, and I have been using this non-stop for the past month. With a good headset the Recon3D really does shine and should be on your shortlist.
If you mostly listen to music on your PC, then I would advise you go look for a dedicated audiophile card, such as one from Auzentech (if you can find them anywhere!). The Recon3D I think suffers from the simplicity of its design in having everything in the one chip. Dedicated audiophile cards tend to have additional high quality components that really make the difference, and you could tell these were missing with the Recon3D.
Lastly, if you mainly use your PC for home cinema duties then I would stick with your graphics card HDMI out. You can get uncompressed lossless digital output from these and it’s hard to be beaten.
Overall though a great card from Creative for gamers and one that you should shortlist if you want that competitive edge in your games.