Sound Card Upgrade (help me!)

So I want an upgrade from basic motherboard audio. Before I ask for help, though, I would like to tell a little story.

Once upon a time I got a Creative Sound Blaster Audigy SE from Wal-Mart (Thank God it was Wal-Mart, as you will see later). Set me back a good thirty bucks, but I was sure it would be worth it.
Problems arose straight-away. To get it to work, I had to manually disable the onboard audio from the BIOS. It didn’t detect it and automatically disable like it should. But no biggie, now I can enjoy Thuper Thound in my Music and Games.
Yeah right… I played Halo to test it out, and the sound effects were amazing - when they actually played that is. Shoot a gun: bang bang b- ban- bang bang ba- -. (The bangs are the sound effect and the hyphens indicate the sound effect cutting off.) Needless to say, I was irritated, but not too much, as that problem only occurred in Halo, which after like a hundred times through it, I am tired of playing.
I was debating with myself whether I should return it, when, one morning, it decided for me. After whining and hissing for a few seconds, it popped - and died. No more sound from that thing.
So I returned it for a full money-back and am left baffled by the situation.

And so I request the expert advice of the community.

First I wonder why it failed, as I don’t want it to happen again.

Second I wonder what card to buy now, so I can have Thuper Thound for my Music and Games. My budget is under 50 bucks for a sound card.

FYI my motherboard is a good ASUS, and fairly new - 2005.

Expert advice, please?

Okay, let me put it more simply:

What sound card would you recommend I buy for under 50 bucks?

Well I had a look when you first posted, but all I could see in the US shops I know for under 50 bucks were Audigy SEs lol. Having a look again, I see they have this one Xi-Fi from Newegg which is 50 dollars - I assume the quality is ok. It uses a pci-e interface, so you’d need to check if you got one that’s free. There’s another normal pci xi-fi for 65 bucks I believe. Otherwise, you could try and find an Audigy that is not the SE version, since you had a bad experience with the Audigy SE.

I really don’t know anything about other audio chip vendors though, however for me the integrated Intel HD Audio on my mobo is more than enough - I wouldn’t notice the difference between that and a higher end card. But I’m no audiophile, that’s why I thought I’d leave it to others to give some advice.

First of all, Halo is always like that, no matter what. Halo’s sound system is terrible.

Secondly, it may have been a one-time fluke, so you might be able to get the same sound card again and never have a problem.

Thirdly, might it have been your speakers, and not the card that failed? I’ve never heard a sound card make noises.

Next time, No matter what sound card you buy , go to the Manufacturers website and download the latest drivers.

Plug an play dont really help much other than assigning the proper irq’s for you … you still need the newest drivers.

With some games, it helps to have OpenAI installed too (quake 3,4, Unreal 2004, FEAR, etc…)

hope that helps.

If you are looking for a good sound card, you should check out Turtle Beach, they supposedly make rock solid cards.