I'm new to recording and basically want to record my electric guitar from the amp to my laptop (directly and with a microphone).

I was wondering i was wondering what would be my best option - an audio interface or sound card - and if anyone had any suggestions?

My laptop's not the best (512 ram and 2.6ghz) and was wondering if latency would be a problem and if there are any solutions to this, short of buying a new laptop.

The more inputs the better and it would be handy to have a MIDI input too.

The Lexicon Alpha seemed like a good bet, but didn't have MIDI input. It comes with a version of Cubase, which would be nice.

Also, the M-Audio Audio file seemed like an option. Any idea if I'd have trouble with an internal sound card in a laptop? These both came in at around $100. I'd be willing to spend a little more - but not much.

Any help/suggestions is much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

with a laptop USB and Firewire are your only options today, no internal soundcards
Sure there probably won't be latency with a decent interface, but there will be lag when using a lot of VSTs in a DAW on your computer, and there is no way to work around that considering the poor specs.