So I have this auzentech prelude pci soundcard. I have been pretty happy with it over the years. One thing that has always bothered me about it though is it causes hardware interrupts. It uses up roughly 4-10 % cpu usage just being idle. I have noticed that most games don't use anything near 100% cpu usage. In fact the most I have seen is gta 4 at about 43%. That being the case would hardware interrupts not be a performance degrader as long as it isn't above 60%. I have tried running some benchmarks like arkham city and gta 4 but the results are too inconsistent in those two tools to come to any type of conclusion. I'm also not sure if its calculating usage based on just one of the threads or all 8 on my i7 860.