Well, I spent some time experimenting with Cubase, Project Mix I/O, and the new laptop. There are still periodic clicks and pops on tracks with nothing connected to them. The track with the microphone connected produces random bursts of static. All this is not good.
The M-Audio Firewire Forums have a note that says effectively, "We're really sorry about the state of our current Firewire drivers. We intend to fix them Real Soon Now."