Same here, and I am happy with their sound quality. If you are sure you want to upgrade your sound card, then have a look at them and in addition, note that they are quite ‘old spec’ and do wider research.
Your pops and crackles: Like Ian, my first reaction is to upgrade your computer and you’ll quickly bypass that particular problem.
However,there are a variety of tweaking and fault-finding things you can do with what you’ve got.
1: Are you using a fast hard drive … and are your project-vawe files on clean disk space at teh edge of the platter … ie some dedicated partition on the bit of the platter which spins fastest. Also, is it an internal hard drive, rather than a USB 2 external - I’m only asking that because I’d rather double check the obvious than miss it out.
2: have you looked at your startup files, and also running windows ‘processes’, to check if there are more things running in the background than you actually need.
3: Are you using the latest drivers for your present soundcard
4: When you set up your soundcard, did you DISable the motherboard’s onboard sound-chip, if it has one?
5: Are you doing Uber-Geek searches in the old forum’s archives for ‘crackle’ and ‘latency’.
6: have you found out what happens if you upgrade your RAM from 1.5 gig to 3 or 4 gig?
Those are my best shots.
I hope you get it sorted