There's no clear-cut metric to use as a guideline if you're shopping for a sound card. Lengthy audiophile reviews are available, but they generally don't offer a quantifiable takeaway if you have a limited point of reference and don't know much about the subject to begin with. I fall into that category.
You do software updates to get the most from favourite programs right? Updating a motherboard BIOS can in a timely manner is also critical. The guide to Flashing a Motherboard BIOS spells out the often complicated steps in plain english. PCSTATS Tips