i think those sound issues are pretty much from those people who are super picky about sound. it sounds fine i doubt you will have any issues especially once Rockbox is installed on that e200 series player. it sounds just as good as any other typical DAP (Digital Audio Player) you will find on a cheap/decent pair of headphones.
it's old but not THAT old
in fact, i just tested it on 'Windows 7 Home Premium x64' from the original firmware a few moments ago and it detects perfectly fine (lacking my 8GB MicroSDHC card but this is normal since it's a limitation of the original Sansa firmware but in Rockbox it works fine). i doubt Vista will have issues with it especially if your on Vista SP1 (service pack 1) which everyone should be by now.
The e200 is notorious for headphone crackling and for going mute in 1 channel due to a poorly soldered headphone jack. The only mechanical connection of the jack to the device are 3 small solder joints, which seem to crack or lift off the board completely after light use for a few weeks or months.
that's what i seen on Wikipedia but i had mine since June 2008 and no issues at all so far but i do not abuse my player and jerk the headphones out of it like some people might as i suppose with anything the more your always removing the headphones from the device (which i don't do often) the more likely the chance of it acting up.
but with that headphone jack after a few weeks or months i doubt is true especially the weeks thing because if that was true the device would be almost total junk.
A number of bugs in the firmware cause problems. One introduces a 0.2 second delay between tracks, even those that are consecutive to a given album. This is most noticeable on musical tracks where the song does not fade completely out before the next begins. Artists whose names begin with "The" are listed incorrectly as well. For unknown reasons, the order of tracks on a given album play in alphabetical order, seriously disrupting the continuity of the listening experience
is probably a non-issue since Rockbox is it's own firmware and does not even run the official firmware at all once Rockbox is installed. (you can still access the original firmware from Sansa if you have to by pressing and holding the LEFT on the d-pad while powering on the device)
basically Rockbox completely replaces the firmware. so any bugs related to the official Sansa firmware will most likely be gone once your running Rockbox.
from Wikipedia also...
The SanDisk firmware is not compatible with the newer micro SDHC format (generally 4GB and higher). Rockbox firmware adds this support. Rockbox does not yet fully support Sansa e200 models with the version 2 hardware, however there is now a branch for version 2 e200 Sansas
this is not accurate as Rockbox fully supports the v2 devices now as it lists it as stable on the main page of the Rockbox website.
http://www.rockbox.org/wiki/SansaAMS ... shows that the 'e200 series v2' (which is referred to as SansaAMS) supports everything now just like the v1 did for ages.
also... you can use up to 32GB MicroSDHC cards with Rockbox and directly transfer to them from windows explorer if your using the Rockbox firmware. but with factory firmware you won't be able to like that article says as even just now as i connected my device and booted the original firmware it does not properly show my 8GB MicroSHDC card but that's normal because it's a limit of the original firmware.
so i guess i said about as much as i can tell you about the e200's so if you want to go with something else then go ahead but i think there overall one of the best cheap players you can get especially since i would personally rather not by any portable MP3 type player that don't support Rockbox just because of the control it gives you over the device and don't handicap it like Apple products usually do which forces you to use there software etc.
on a side note it might be cheaper for you to get a e250 (2GB) or 260 (4GB) and just buy a additional 4-8GB MicroSDHC card vs going with the e200 that has 8GB built into it.