Things to consider
I had heard horror stories about TCNear and Windows 7, sound dropouts, crackling etc. so I was hesitant to buy this at first. At the very least I made sure my motherboard came with the TI Firewire chipset before I ordered it. I kind of expected the worst.
Surprisingly, I suffered no such issues. I was concerned about this being the main sound device in Windows, because my PC, like many, isn't just a DAW rig, I use it for gaming, multimedia, video and photos, music, everything. I was expecting to have to rig up some ghetto macguyver something or other to be able to do everything.
Works like a charm though. Games, MPC, iTunes, Youtube, everything. Win 7 x64 treats it like any other sound card, and I get no errors whatsoever.
On the DAW side of things, and let this be a warning to fellow novices: 192khz sample rate EATS CPU. I screwed up and bought an AMD 1100T before sandy bridge was unleashed, so that may have something to do with it, but 192khz eats my processor for breakfast.
Setting aside the debate over noticeable quality differences between 192 and 48 or even 44.1, at my level of experience I feel that 192 is rather wasted on me. Which makes me wonder if I could have gotten something more suited for my needs without worrying about 24/192 obsessively. Having no way to foresee the audible gap between sample rates I opted 'better safe than sorry'.
In hindsight it would have paid to consider the target medium for the music I'm producing. iTunes. BeatPort. CD. YouTube. 192 is certainly wasted here.
But no worries, it does more than I expected, and the price to performance ratio is more than satisfactory.