Best bang for the buck upgrade path for Mac Mini

Been a few years since I was a regular contributor here and a lot has changed.

I am going to set up a Mac Mini running Amarra as a dedicate music server. Will be a 2010-2011 build with 8gb RAM and a 120SSD. I have a couple of thousand CDs ripped to AIFF and AAC which will live on an external 3Gb 7,200 connected by FW800.

Will use the Mini to feed my Oppo 105 and then use the analog outs. Planning on using a 7" USB LED touchscreen and the built in SuperDrive to manage ripping, then disconnect the display. Perhaps not perfect but I hope helpful for calibrating your response.

Seems to be two ways to go with the Mini. One is to use something like a Keces or Mojo to clean up the Mini power supply. The other is on the USB output side - either cleaning the USB output up and going in to the Oppo async, or converting it to SPDIF which the Oppo also handles like Halide or Audiophileo.

Not doubting that someone will say do them both but I can't - at least not now. Much as I admire it, this is not a CAPs build.

Based on your personal experience, where do you think I will get the most bang for the buck.

Are there alternatives that are synergistic that I should consider?

Thanks in advance for sharing your experience.
You can save the money from the USB display. Just enable screen sharing and use another Mac or PC (with free TightVNC) or iPad with VNC viewer to control the Mini. When you have to. You can use the free Remote app to control playback on iTunes.

In fact, I'd try not to use any other devices on USB if you are using USB to transmit audio. Keep the audio files on the network or use a thunderbolt or FireWire HDD for storage.

I'd recommend the iFi iUSB to clean up the USB power. Using another USB-SPDIF device will in all likelihood remove the ability of the Oppo 105D to play back DSD files over USB.

So with the cost savings maybe you can do both :)
Well, there are a couple of things you could consider.

If you have another Mac in the house with a CD drive, you could simply connect your external HDD to that one for ripping. In my case, I run a headless Mac Mini (without a CD drive) for the stereo, but move the HDD to my iMac for ripping with XLD.

I first "cleaned up" the USB output with an Empirical Audio Off Ramp 5, running I2S out to a PS Audio Perfectwave MKII DAC. The OR5 helped immensely, and any time I took it out of the chain, it was ungood. A bit pricey, but worth it, IMO.

Later, I improved the Mac Mini with the Mojo upgrade. Huge difference, and Benjamin is a pleasure to work with. Totally happy with the choice.

Only yesterday, I got my upgrade for the DAC, moving to a DirectStream from PS Audio. I've heard that it is "input insensitive", so at some point I'm going to try running USB straight from the Mojo Mini to the DS. In an A/B test, I'll determine if the Off Ramp stays, or goes.

The Mini is controlled by any number of Macs in the house... iMac 27, MacBook Pro, or iPads (I don't have an iPhone.) As Doggiehowser said, you can just run screen sharing to access the Mini. Very convenient.

That said, I had a significant lag when screen sharing to the Mini. If you're running headless on the Mini, get a Gefen HDMI Detective and hook it to the HDMI port on the Mini. It makes the Mini think you have a monitor running, and that cleans up the annoying lag.
I went the exactly same route you are going with the Mini. I had a Mac2music modified mini and external PS, but glitch after glitch and this software accepting that software was always a pain. Daily there were things dropped out or had to be reinstalled or tweeked. I moved to the Sound science Diamond windows based server and it is just so much more better sounding and the ease of use is incredable. No affiliation with this company what so ever, but to me, in my system, it is so much better than the mini mess.
I will second the Mojo Audio mod and power supply upgrade.
Absolutely the best upgrade to my system in 20 years!
Thanks, Benjamin at Mojo!!
I would simply implement the Mac Mini into your system as is for the time being. Get the basics functional and become familiar with its sound. I run my straight out. I'm not headless as it is connected to my HDTV but most times I am using my iPad with either the Apple Remote app (iTunes/Audivrana) or JRemote (JRiver for Mac) to control playback.

You have plenty of time to research and decide if you need to add anything else. Enjoy your music for now.
THnx guys - I much appreciate all your thoughts and experience. Hard to argue with Mwheelerk - start by seeing what you got and go from there.
Yes, I also agree with Mwheelerk.

As for the upgrade path, my comments come from running Windows in a laptop and later a CAPS on steroids kind of PC, so no Mac experience. But adding an Audiophilleo with PurePower as USB to SPDIF converter was a very significant improvement for me. More so than the linear power supply.

There are multiple ways in which you could "clean the USB out".