"Driver obsolescence" is the wrong term here.... The last non-HDSP driver for the Digi cards (2.11) is known to work just fine on 32-bit versions of Win7 (not sure anyone's tested it with W10, though). The only limitation is the absence of 64-bit support, which has technical reasons (this concerns Digi 96 and non-HDSP Hammerfall cards). These products are now 20 years old and they were discontinued in the early 2000s...
Everything else, including the earliest HDSP cards from 2001 or so (and all Firewire and USB products) obviously does have 64-bit drivers. And the latest driver (4.30 at this time) still supports the HDSP 9652 and HDSP PCI or Cardbus cards, which are, guess what, also close to 20 years old now.
Some other companies' products from that period never went beyond beta drivers for XP....
As for differences in "sound quality" or "unnecessary parts".... No need for me to comment on that, really....