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LAPTOP recommendations for LIVE LOOPING?

I am in the market for a laptop computer so that I can
record, use Ableton's LIVE as a realtime performance enhancer
and use real time USB/Midi control over soft synths.

A trusted friend of mine in digital audio said that there are a plethora
of known conflicts on the PC side with sound cards and laptop computers and
advised me to figure out what sound card I wanted;  then to go to their
website and
ask specifically what computers configurations they would recommend to put
that sound card into.

I would really love to get some advise on

1)  What sound card would you recommend for a laptop computer

given that
    a)  I want to record my live shows in stereo in real time
    b)  I want to run Ableton's LIVE in real time with midi
        cc control of samples and effects
    c)  I want to be able to use an OXYGEN keyboard to play
        soft synths live
    d)  If it is possible, I would like to use PEAK's V-Box
        to host ANTARES audio/synth converter live (to, in essence
        be able to sing live synth lines in real time)

I anticipate using a Digi Designs M-box to get audio signal into the

What have you bought that you dig in terms of a sound card.
It needs to have USB 2 and midi/in out (and preferably SPDIF if that's even

Thanks in advance for your collective wisdom.

See you all at LOOPSTOCK this weekend,

yours, Rick Walker