fastest speeds are technically PCMCIA, USB 2.0 , then firewire. For audio, best is PCMCIA, then firewire, and then usb 2.0. For a laptop for performance (where you want minimal latency, an presumably flexibility) you can't do any better than PCMCIA, and that doesn't get any better than the RME multiface. Yeah, its pricy, but it is the shit, and the AD/DA converters sound better, and it comes with mixing software that allows you to have 8 seperate out mixes, each totally unique, savable, changable. This makes it awesome for band studio and live usage when coupled with a headphone amp. everyone gets a real-time mix (i.e. sans-soundcard latency and effects) tailored exactly for them. Firewire is okay, but not as fast and reliable as pcmcia, and usb is really not reccomendable for reliablity and limited capabilites.