Sound Card / Adui Interface, Help?



I posted this in the "Home Recording" part, which I believe may have been the wrong place. So here is the post I put there.

I use my PC for lots of entertainment, from watching movies, recording TV, listening to music, and I dabble in music production.

I'm looking for a reasonable audio interface for under $200 that will suit my needs but not give me buyers remorse shortly after the return policy expired.

Right now my I'm using the on board audio, which has worked fine for just listening to music and watching movies. My PC is hooked up to my surround receiver via SPDIF Coax. It's nothing spectacular, it's an older JVC that supports Dolby/DTS and has both Optical & SPDIF Coax digital inputs, I'm not in the market to buy another receiver just yet, and I'm not looking to buy studio monitors anytime soon. My PC also is plugged in through Component to my TV as well, so I'm not using an HDMI connection (yet...) I would be ok with switching between the Digital and the Analog (Stereo) inputs on my receiver, it's just a press of a button after all. :)

System Specs.
HP M9000T
Intel DualCore 2.33ghz
4gb Ram
Windows 7 Pro 64bit
NVidia 9600GTS (Overclocked) - 2-23" Acer Monitors & Component Breakout to TV

Listening to music - ITunes mainly, or Winamp.
Watching/Recording TV - GBPVR, also watch Movies in GBPVR with K-Lite Codec Pack using ffshow to decode DTS/Dolby.
Music Production - Reason (4.01) along with some other programs, but mainly reason.

Axiom 49 (Just got it, and LOVE it so far)
Radium 49 (Revived now that I can use the Midi ports off the Axiom and daisy chain them!)
Korg Nano-Key (Mostly to dedicate to ReDrum or use on my laptop to toy around with)

I don't use any analog outputs really as I don't have a pair of Monitor Speakers, I use the 2nd speaker output of my receiver with a nice pair of Boston Acoustic bookshelf speakers as my monitors. So basically all of my audio runs out to my receiver.

I don't have a use for a million analog inputs, I may have a friend with his guitar hook up to it from time to time. So something with 2 Stereo or 4 Mono analog inputs is fine with me.

My biggest concern is ASIO & Latency with Midi/Software. You know how annoying it is when you press down on a key and hear the note .5 seconds later? Or when the note comes out short or the beginning is cut off? I like to play stuff live or play along and record it into the sequencer, I hate sequencing with a mouse.

My interface choices are PCI/PCI-E and USB (too many complications with Firewire). I already have a bundle of wire coming out of it. I was hoping to avoid having breakouts, but it seems that most of the USB options are either not good enough (24bit/96khz vs 24bit/192khz) plus latency issues, and problems with the device dissappearing and all.

To give you an idea of what I'm looking at. I've been looking at an M-Audio Audiophile 192, M-Audio 2496, and also the E-MU 1212M PCI-E. A friend of mine has an older M-Audio Audiophile USB (I don't remember exactly what model number) and I have seen Reason work great with virtually no latency issues on his system.

I need the ability to have the Digital output for DTS/Dolby playback of movies, good software / hardware control and a good bit rate (24bit/96khz or better?). I'd also like it to handle the latency issues better than my onboard sound, which that shouldn't be too hard now should it?

Thanks Guys!

Now my question is this, what are the real differences between a Sound Card and an Audio Interface? I've been looking at PCI, PCI-E, USB, Firewire. IS there a solution to my problem in my price range (under $200)? Do I have to buy an "Audio Interface" and use it in conjunction with my onboard audio? Can a "Sound Card" Do the job? I'm open to suggestions. I've been looking at HT-Omega, Asus Zonar, M-Audio Audiophile 192, M-Audio Firewire Solo, Lexicon Lambda, E-MU 1212m, these are what I've been looking at but I hate to admit I guess I'm clueless. The last time I browsed for a sound card was back when Creative first had the Audigy Platinum series (Yeah, some of us can remember that, right?). Help please? I'm not a novice with technology, just with this area.