said by n_w95482:
According to an lspci query for that laptop, it uses a Ricoh chipset. I have an Inspiron E1705 (aka 9400, basically the generation/sister model after that XPS) and it uses a Ricoh chip as well. Did they mention any TI-based FW ExpressCards?
No, they didn't. Adding FW via an add on card just adds another layer of unreliability. My old setup was 100% reliable. I recorded countless numbers of live events with it and never, ever had a skip or lockup or other failure. I'm almost thinking about returning the 896 mk3 and finding a still working used 896 Original on eBay because it works with my Sony GRX560.
The Ricoh chipset is problematic. There's a thread where someone tried using the laptop with an M-Audio external DAC and was having dropouts, pops, squeals, etc. Then he hooked it to his wife's PC, which was loaded with crap software and hadn't been defragged, and it worked without a hiccup (TI FW port). Frankly, I don't know why anyone would build a laptop in 2010 with a non-TI FW chip, given that mid to high end audio gear doesn't work with non-TI FW ports. I remember this was also true with DV video cameras. I had a PC back in 2001 that had a non-TI chip and I could not get it to capture DV at all. That's when I received an education about the whole TI vs other brands for FW ports.
At any rate, the laptop I'm looking at has no bids, but seems like a nice unit. The possibility is that I could use the USB capability of the 896mk3 Hybrid if the FW doesn't work reliably. If I can get it for under $400, it might be still worth doing. Thanks for confirming what chip is used.