Any thoughts on speed/latency issues between a pci soundcard and a firewire soundcard? I worry that a firewire card will be slower in sending and recieving audio and effects processing. I have heard that firewire cards can process data at a rate of 200-400 Mbps, but I have no basis of comparison for a pci device. I plan on using a lot of effects, so low latency would be a priority. Any thoughts?
The SoundBlaster Extigy which uses a USB connection seems to work fine for people so I would expect a FireWire solution to be the same or better. Is there a specific product you have in mind, maybe you can find some customer reviews online.
Firewire would have a bit more latency because the Firewire controller is a PCI device, then you have the sound controller as another device down the chain.
As for bandwidth, 400mbps is 50MB/s, PCI is 133MB/s, but even 50MB/s is far more than you need.
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Latency is an issue with firewire. The extra bandwidth can't make up for it. My suggestion is go with PCI all the way. You can get latency as low as 2-3ms, but with firewire you're looking at around 30+, maybe as high as 70ms or more, and that is more than enough to ruin a track.