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I already own the H8000-FW and I am using it with synthesizers and drum machines. Yes, the H8000-FW can function as a soundcard, I have used it with Cubase but the setup is unstable because of the Firewire controller. If you have a Ricoh controller AND you use a laptop, you are probably going to have problems. In my desktop, where I have a Texas Instruments controller, the setup is much more stable and never had any problems.
Before forking out the green I suggest that you download the Routing application 2.8 and take a look at the various routings. This will give you a very good idea of what you can do with it. For instance, do you want to process both external sources AND VSTs at the same time? If so, how are you going to monitor the result? Will the H8000-FW be your only interface?
Regarding VST support. We have been begging and bugging Eventide for quite some time to give us VST support. It would be wonderful to click on an send/insert FX in Cubase, select the H8000-FW, it adjusts the latency accordingly and you have the FX on that channel. It can still be done in Cubase, but it's not as elegant.
I hope this helps,