I really like my firewire recording setup. I am using (of course) TI chipset firewire on a 7 or 8 year old HP/Compaq "Pro" laptop (NC8430), and, believe it or not, record to the internal drive. An NC8430 nowadays goes for just over $100 on eBay. Pretty awesome. I have a backup just in case something happens to the one that I'm using.
Once you get up to 30 or 40 44.1K stereo tracks it starts to hiccup, but not until then. I'm running an Alesis io/26 (26 input) interface that I managed to score for $150 used (they were $700ish new). I use Adobe Audition 3.0 (yes, really) and it rarely if ever fails me. I have super-low latency.
What do people record with nowadays for hardware? Do a bunch of people still use Firewire 400? I see no need whatsoever to upgrade my setup. I guess I'm just curious.
When I tried using USB before, there was some nasty latency that took all the fun out of recording. Has USB progressed?
Prior to using Firewire, I had a desktop with a PCI card.
Windows XP Professional SP3, by the way. I will only ditch XP when it won't do what I want it to, so that could very well be never.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. What bitrate are you recording at? Theoretically there aren't many advantages to recording higher than 44.1hz, but recording in 24-bit vs 16 is a definite no brainer, so if you're working in 16/44.1 and can't get an acceptable track count in 24, that would be a good reason to switch.