Well, I have ordered the Lodestar X2 after reading the numerous feedback. The main reason may seem silly but I will be using it with SGP and PhD so it (the Lodestar X2) will talk entirely to PhD:
Andy Galasso, the PhD developer, has the same Lodestar X2 and likes it. It seems there is no better way to insure proper function with the software than to use the same thing that the software developer uses!
I plan to send my STi back to SBIG to be checked out and repaired if needed and then sell it.
UPDATE: I have been using the lodestar X2 for a couple weeks now and it has been perfect. The problems i was having with the STi were clearly either hardware or driver related.
Interestingly, the guiding itself seems better, don’t know why that would be unless maybe the shutter on the Sti was introducing some slight vibration - perhaps.