DSP is a generic term... and a computer's sound solution can do a lot more than just make noises for games and play MP3's. Given the proper software, a soundcard can be turned into a spectrum analyzer and frequency generator, with endless possibilites.
Researchers have used soundcard DSP to do things like differentiate and identify specific species of animals (sometimes even idividual animals) that use echo location, like bats and whales.
OTOH, I am interested primarily with the wireless digital data domain; and a souncard can be used to decode (and encode) all sorts of wireless data - AX.25 packet radio (300 - 9600 baud), POCSAG, GOLAY, FLEX, Motorola MDT, ATCS, ACARS, APT, WEFAX, EMWIN, SSTV, PSK31, DTMF, WWV time sync, audio inversion scrambling...and the list goes on.
Normally, these data modes are encoded and decoded by specialized hardware that can get pretty expensive. But by using a soundcard you get extreme flexibility and low cost.
If you have software incompatibility with "soundcard DSP" in a desktop computer, it's no big deal -- just swap out soundcards until you get one that works. I find that 16-bit 12 dollar SoundBlaster refurbs seem to work the best with most software. And if you know what you are doing, it's not too hard to have multiple soundcards set up in a desktop. I remember running dual soundcards with I-phone in the days before full-duplex cards were commonplace... One soundcard handled incoming sounds, while the other dealt with outgoing.
On a laptop you're stuck with the audio solution the OEM chose (PCMCIA soundcards are not a viable option - too slow), so it's much harder finding a laptop/pen-top that will work with these programs. Although certain VAR's may loan you a laptop to test out before you buy it, I sincerely doubt most retail outlets are going to let you install the software and hook up a transceiver to their floor display... I had a Gateway Solo 2300 that would not work with about 90% of all DSP software I tried, due to it's Yamaha chipset.
Again, I'm very pleased that the 1200 can and does work some very popular DSP programs. Too bad it lacks line-in and Line-out jacks.