Originally Posted by: PRSplayaYou'll typically find mixed opinions on the matter of Firewire vs. USB2.0. I have an HP laptop, with a 2.0GHz AMD processor, and 1GB of RAM. I use a PreSonus FireBox with it, which connects via Firewire (1394), and haven't had any issues with it. From what I've been told, Firewire is much more friendly on CPU usage, and USB tends to use much more CPU. This can be a big deal with a laptop, since they aren't very efficient on CPU usage, as opposed to a desktop, or a mac. However, if just simple recordings are what you want to do, I don't see any reason USB external soundcard wouldn't work.
The only thing that would concern me in that case, would be latency issues.
Probably not a concern in this case if he's just going to be recording audio. But at a future time if he wants to use a VST plug-in or midi, he might have problems.
The latency on my own sound card can get down to 23 or so, but even then, there's a slight delay between when you actually press the key, to when you hear the note. The only way I can avoid it is by using an external sound module where I can plug a midi device straight into it using the midi cable.
I use the external sound module to record and play (so I can hear it in real time), and then later go back and use the recorded midi to trigger the VST sounds by just exporting using whatever synth I have (sampletank or whatever).
The reason I mention it is that even if he doesn't use midi or VST synths, he might want to use built in plug-ins like reverb or Amplitube.
In that case, he might get a delayed sound if he uses USB. He'll be fine for exporting audio files 'printing effects to tape', but actually using them in real time might get bad.