i have a firepod and was previously using it with a compaq laptop. i didn't really have any problems, except when getting into a larger number of tracks and effects. it was an old pentium 3, so i decided to upgrade with a newer laptop. my new gateway is an AMD Athlon 64 and beats the compaq in every category, except for the hard drive. the new computer only has a 4200rpm drive. the problem is now i'm getting all sorts of skips, pops, and crackles with the new laptop, even when doing simple things outside of cubase, like playing mp3's or wav's. first i tried updating the firepod drivers, but no luck. then i thought it may have something to do with the hard drive, so i tried playing back mp3's from a 7200rpm external drive. it still does the same thing. any thoughts on this? i hope it doesn't come down to having to replace the internal drive on the laptop since faster ones are a bit pricey.