Seemingly simple question but I really am unfamiliar with what they actually do. I know they have A/D decoders and preamps, but what else do they do? Do they offload the cpu from any processing? I have a home studio that I record local musicians in. I have noticed that my M-Audio 1010lt works great but when I use just an onboard video card I get pops in the recordings and excessive latency. I am just trying to piece this together so I know what to look for in the future.