About six months after buying my laptop, the sound card as good as crapped out. The sound card itself was tremendous and works fine to this day, but do to a design failure in the laptop the sound card was on the opposite side of the computer from the headphone and microphone jacks, which were connected by two thin wires. Since I've spent the last few years dividing my time between two cities first Albany and Rochester for college, and now Albany and Boston it didn't take too long for those thin wires to short. Since the computer was still under warranty at the time, I got Dell to replace the fan enclosure which housed the jacks. This fixed the problem for another six months. At that point, I gave up and bought a USB external soundcard. This solution has worked great since (other than eating up a USB slot) but I was never 100 percent satisfied with the thinner, flatter sound. Since I've moved around from dorms with roommates in Rochester to apartments with roommates in Boston, headphones have long been my primary mode of listening to music and movies. Eventually I happened upon the concept of external sound cards that make use of the Cardbus slot. They were more expensive, but would give me back a USB slot. Reviews ultimately convinced me to go with the Echo Indigo IO 2-Channel Record/Playback Card with true 24-bit analog output, which arrived in the mail today. WOW! It's like night and day. Even with iTunes still giving my problems with the occasional skip, this is the best sound I've ever heard. I'm rediscovering my music in a whole new way. My Sennheiser headphones are getting a workout for the first time. Anyone on the fence about upgrading to a better sound card, I highly recommend it. For me, so far, it's been a revelation.