Today i'm going to buy A POD 2.0 - Setting of in under an hour so need help!

But it's just dawned on me I have a crappy sound card ( Realtek AC 97)

Would everything I record sound bad? Would I need a better soundcard to get high quality recordings? Or does the POD act as a soundcarD?

I'm pretty sure the POD is an input device only, so it doesn't have its own sound card even though it has on-board effects.

Try it with just the integrated sound card first. However, you will need ASIO drivers to shorten the latency of digital audio signal. Your sound card may not be capable of supporting decent performance.

...modes and scales are still useless.

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pod will give you a great tone (relatively speaking of course) even with your stock card.
however there might be a huge latency, and using ASIO drivers alone will not help if your sound card doesnt support ASIO. it might reduce the latency but you're going to be suffering in quality.
get a presonus inspire, it is also a soundcard in itself, and it is also much better.
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