I got the pcr for $30 after rebate and then bought the toslink kit for $30 I think. I then got the SB Audigy NX for $60 after rebate and it works great for me. I know a lot of people complain about the power consumption and have problems with the volume going up to full blast after coming out of hibernate (do a search on audigy), but I am ok with it. I can say that I do notice a difference between the outputs. You can use the standard 1/8" output, but then you are using the cheap DAC (digital to analog converter) on the PCR vs. the DAC on the soundcard. I tested it out and can definitely hear a difference. The regular output makes the instruments and vocals all blend together. The optical output allows the soundcard's DAC to, IMO, provide better separation. I also have not noticed any popping noises or static. Just keep in mind that XM radio is compressed, so you will always have sub-cd quality anyway. The cool thing is that if you get the SB audigy, you will have dvd audio, which is incredible!! Can't wait until more titles are available and for cheaper.