Soundcard / External Audio Interface Questions

Firstly, thanks in advance. My experience and knowledge with music hardware is very limited, so I’d like to bounce this off some of the more experienced users here.

I’m looking at upgrading my audio device, I currently have a Sound Blaster XFI Extreme Music, it’s not a bad card, nice quality and I get low latency with ASIO.

But I’m looking to upgrade to something more suitable for music production.

This is what I currently have as my Renoise setup:

Intel Quad Core q6600 6gb RAM, Win7 x64, I dualboot to XP for Renoise but am probably going to move my music setup to win7 x64 soon.

Got that hooked up to a Samson C Control hardware volume controller which then goes to my Behringer B2031A active speakers. Also some guitars and an Roland PCR-800 midi controller.

The audio interface I’m sort of considering is the M-Audio Fasttrack Pro, it’s in my price range.

I’m mostly looking at recording live guitar and vocals, so nothing too serious.

Another thing, can someone explain what I’d need to record guitar properly? I have a nice electric guitar but no amp or pedals, I mostly use VSTs for effects. But you’re supposed to have phantom power or something, I can’t quite determine if I really need an amp for that, or what.

Also, I’m an avid PC gamer, can I use something like the Fasttrack pro for gaming? I don’t care about Creative’s lame EAX, and I’d like to sell the card to recover some of the cost.

Is USB 2.0 fast enough for 96khz 24bit recording and playback? I usually just do my stuff at 44.1khz and 16bit, tho I’d prefer to do things better.

I don’t really travel or DJ, so I don’t mind considering a PCI card, but if I do, USB would be great.

2.0 is fast enough but there are not so many that use it.

To insert your electric guitar into the soundcard you have to use a so called Hi-Z input.
(i didn’t found this on the fasttrack pro) or an external DI. This has nothing to do with phantom power.

The games will simply use the soundcard.