I'm using a Claro Halo card (C-Media CM8788) with kernel 3.5.0 and pulseaudio 2.1 and get frequent pops and static, especially on major disk activity or web browsing (?!).  This is worse than almost any other card I've used in this respect, although the sound quality is great when it's not doing this. I've increased buffers in my sound apps to no avail.

I'm currently using 16bit / 48kHz setting in Pulse Audio (goes up to 24 bit 192kHz)

Any recommendations as to how to stop the static and pops?

Tim Kelley