I had a P160 for all of 3 days. On the third day the entire display panel including the power switch shorted out and went up in a small plume of smoke. The entire little PCB was toast. Luckily my mobo and everything else was safe. Dunno what happend, but maybe having the panel rotated up was a bit much?
I compared them to a Fluke Thermocouple I have at work, and these were surprisingly accurate...so I use them for my temp readings. one is CPU temp, the other is rad temp. I use rad temp as my case ambient since it's in a spot with no air flow, plus the water can never go cooler than room temp, so it's as good a spot as anywhere. I just wish you could have one hold so you cna see it go up or down instead of always switching between them both.
I had no problems with my front audio, you just have to remember to make sure the pinouts on the plug match your motherboard pinout. As far as echo...could there be something generating EMI inside your case? that is after all, an unshielded no ntiwsted pair analog cable, so it's about the single worst case scenario for introducing unwanted noise into your system.
Keep in mind your PC makes ungodly maounts of EMI, but your case holds all of it. but if it was no longer trapped by the case all kinds of funny things can hapen. I remeber when 900mhz CPUs when ran outside of a case within a few feet of a 900mhz cordless phone could screw it up bad enough to not be able to make or place calls until they were further apart. That was one example of EMI screwing things up....and not everything in your PC runs at MHZ levels....if you have a mains voltage calbe, the US spec is 60hz...right in the middle of the bass frequencies we hear....in the golden days of audio, that was a huge problem, and the console stereo was the easiest way to work around it...since after all the power cable was by design always away from the audio cables.
So really, it's best if you look at the entire system to debug audio problems...shielding and relocation are the two best answers for audio noise injection problems...since replacing the front calbe is kinda out of the question, look for what could be making the noise...if you watercool, your pump could be the offender.
the display panel on my 160 is goofy too. After about a month, it started seriously messing up my powersupply. I'd boot up into screen garbage, or I'd boot to nothing and a very large whine, or I'd boot cleanly and then after awhile, screen would hose and the whine would start.
Is an antec 480w ps, is not like I don't have enough juice. Soon as I disconnected the front display, all the problems disappeared.