I'm starting to believe my motherboard is the problem. It's fairly recent with the first chipset where AMD and ATI had merged. Asus M2A VM with AMD 690G chipset. Funny enough the Realtec HD audio that's integrated did not act up with the last install try as far as I could tell. Terrible sound compared to my Audigy 2ZS
I hear the new SP 3 for XP brings big performance increase. I'm more interested in that than in a pretty desktop.