Buying Dell latitude laptop D360 for work with lots of Ram/fast processor that I would like to install Cubase 4. I will run Windows XP Pro.
Only thing missing is a good soundcard/midi interface. I don't know the System board on this laptop - it is still being assembled at Dell. Is there an external PCM card I can buy for a good laptop soundcard or do will I need to actually open Laptop and install a better sound card than what Dell factory puts there?
I have RME that I like lots on my studio rack pc's but I don't think factory Dell laptop would take RME?
I'd look at a Firewire or USB-2 solution. If you plan to use it remotely, make sure that it runs self-powered. If your laptop only has the small 4-pin FW socket, it won't provide power. You need the bigger 6-pin socket for a powered sound module.
If you don't mind external power, I'd lean toward Firewire over USB-2. Firewire was designed from the outset for low-latency media. USB is more prone to interrupts and can be degraded when you plug in a second, slower device.
Besides, that leaves your USB ports open for an external hard drive, thumb drive and mouse. The only thing aside from the audio card likely to plug in to the FW socket would be a camcorder, and that would only happen on occasion.