I think the powered USB is a good idea.
The spring tension can be modified by doing this -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYBvO2i0h24&feature=PlayList&p=3FB4C6312C07C569&playnext=1&index=2
I did that in a few minutes, and used that for a few years. I eventually took it back off though.
Scaling probably has more to do with how you fly. I don't make any adjustments in Windows at all. In AH, I have my sliders for all axis set in a straight horizontal line right across the top. I don't like any scaling, as I find it leads me
to over-controlling. I get a better feel with small, controlled, control inputs.
If you're more ham-fisted, you'll probably need the scaling, which IMO leads to (and allows) you to be more ham-fisted. IMO, a heavier spring will help take you in the same direction. Both options will allow (and force) you too put more effort into controlling, which some people like.
I've been using the X52 for 5-6 years or so, and love it. They're getting harder to find locally, so I'll probably have to switch to something else eventually, and I'm not thrilled about that. I've been getting mine through Best Buy, and using the two-year replacement plan, swapping the stick in for a new one each year or so when a button gets sticky or something.