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Audio questions before purchasing an XPS 8700

I am looking to replace my Dimension 9100 WinXP machine because of the end of WinXP support in 2014. I do a lot of audio and video editing, so I am considering the XPS 8700 with the i7 processor and 12GB or RAM. I need some questions answered to be sure I will be able to use the PC the way I need.

1. Is there any compelling reason to use Windows 7, or should I order it with Windows 8? I would use a non-touch monitor, so touch capability is not of concern. I will check all my software and peripherals for compatibility, but I am concerned with how well each OS handles audio and video editing. For audio, in addition to typical editing in multitrack audio workstation software. I often record line-in and stereo-mix (what you hear), and sometimes microphone in. Do both Win7 and Win8 handle this without problems, particularly stereo-mix?

2. Have there been any audio issues (noise, stuttering, etc.) with the XPS 8700 on either Win7 or Win8?

3. How good is the integrated audio with the XPS 8700? Where can I see the specs?

4. For video, I use Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum and input from a DV camcorder using a Firewire card. I assume it will simply be a matter of buying a PCIe Firewire card and installing it in one of the open PCIe slots.  Has anybody had problems doing this?

5. The tower will be in the same room as my studio recording microphone. How quiet is the XPS 8700? My Dimension 9100 is very quiet and I would need its replacement to be as quiet.

Is there anything else I should consider before making my purchase decision?

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