I have a macbook pro going into a benchmark DAC - what's the best upgrade path?

when I stopped using my sony ES5400 CDP with my DAC and switched to using my macbook, I kind of expected a loss in sound quality (because people say computers are 'noisy'), but I didn't notice any - and of course I love the convenience. I'm happy with the sound of the benchmark, so there are server-streamers without DACs I could try, and the claim is that they have higher-quality parts, so they'd be less noisy, but the reviews I've seen make me think the main reason to do this would be the bells and whistles (album covers, interface, etc.), not so much the sound, i.e. reducing whatever 'noise' the computer's adding might be a pretty small upgrade.

I've also read that shunyata's digital AC cord (V14 digital) would improve the sound (I'm already using a standard shunyata AC cable); that'd be an easy thing to try, but I'm mostly curious to hear people's opinions about using a server-streamer vs. using a computer. thanks.
Keep your present setup. Stay away from any power cord labeled as "digital"! A computer works just as good as any four-figure streamer!
Which Benchmark DAC do you have? If it's a DAC1 you might look into a DAC2 or 3 as an upgrade path. If it is a DAC2 have you installed the most recent firmware chip from Benchmark? I have a Benchmark DAC2 HGC that I am very happy with. Benchmark states the DAC2 with current firmware is close enough in preformance to the DAC3 to not justify upgrading so that was good enough for me.

I can't comment from experience regarding the Macbook but I recently upgraded from a Bluesound Node 2i to a Aurender N100H and the differences where noticable. The sound quality improved and the interface is much better than the bluOS app. I would think the biggest area for improvement on the MacBook would be in the power supply. 
Best upgrade path will be to search for an RIAA app to run the Mac as a phono stage for your ultimate upgrade, a turntable.
thanks for the responses.
guy-incognito: I have the DAC3.

millercarbon: I have a CAT pre w/phono, so I'm very happy with that part of my system.
Get a cheap streamer,.
Ditch the multi-use computer.
Are you HiFi or low fi?
MC can't abide you listening to anything but vinyl just because he doesn't. 
Wah wah.
I've never been able to discern the "noise" that others claim infects a computer used to stream.

My suggestion is to acquire a Mac Mini. For those times when you need the MacBook for something else. You can easily control the Mini from your MacBook. It does other stuff too. Probably 'noisy' but nothing I've been able to hear. 

Good luck.
Completely in correct we have been working with servers and streamers for years there is a very audible difference between a pc and a high end server the noise is not audible noise it is a contamination of the data stream that is the issue

A high end server is designed to present the dac with a pristine data signal

We started 10 years ago with a pc running a high end usb cable to our dacs running J river

Then We tried a highend sotm server with an upgraded sound card and a massive outboard linear a supply power no real

Then an aurender which did sound better

then a few years later We heard that innous was making great sounding servers and boy did the zenith sound more analog like

We compared this server to modified mac minis and again the server was way better

To date We have trired out a load of servers and each one sounds different

Then we heard a few years ago a new server out of belgium 
which people thought was even better then the innous


The 432Evo server was not being imported to the USA as We decided to bring them in to the vountry

These are remarkable sounding roon cores designed to be the

ultimate digital usb music servers

The designer has gone to great lengths to keep the data pristine
This includes a low noise high speed cpu
a seperate clock board
a seperate sound card
and 1 or more s booster linear power supplies

The top of the line master has 4 seperate power supplies to save space all 4 are in a sIngle elegant Chasis
The cpu has its own power the sound card has its own power supply
The sound card has its own power supply

The clock has its own power supply as well

This degree of data isolation is nearly unheard of

Also decause everything is seperated parts can be upgraded as newer sound cards and clocks come out
You can hear how good digital can can sound

Also apart from this incredibile hardware The servers have a custom linx kearnal tuned for sound quality

One listen to a 432 Evo high end or aeon music server you can see why the company fast been taking over Europe

Dave and troy
Audio intellect nj
US importer 432EVO music servers

Post removed 
Are you using iTunes? When I ran a macbook, I thought some of the software alternatives made quite a noticeable difference, for not much money.

I now run a dedicated setup  from smallgreencomputer (sonictransporter + ultrarendu with roon/tidal).  This sounds good, and the functionality is nice, but setup is more of an investment.  I'm hapless about computers, but Andrew at SGC has been marvelous -- really patient.

As to the dedicated computer vs. your last laptop from work question: years ago at RMAF, I was in a high end room -- SALK, Empirical Audio, etc. and my friend Chris Hoff's BPT cabling. Some folks calling themselves Mac2Music brought in a "stripped" MacMini, which supposedly had everything not needed to run audio removed.  Everybody thought it made a conspicuous improvement.  I think M2M is out of business, but they convinced me about purpose built computers.  So +1 to audiotroy and guy-incognito: likely to make a more noticeable difference than audiophile fuses :)

thanks for all the responses.

audiotroy: if there were a way to audition the 432evo locally I would.
jdoris: I'm using itunes but can bypass it. I'll see if I can hear a difference later today.
Jdoris we send samples for evaluation  just  reach out to us

Dave and troy
I own the Benchmark DAC3L and for the last few years have been using a 2012 Mac Mini as server powered by a Uptone JS2 LPS. The usb output from the Mini was connected to the DAC3 via an iFi micro usb3 - which I believed would be sufficient to isolate any noise from the Mini. This setup sounded pretty good.

I was very surprised at the improvement in sound quality brought by adding a Sonore ultraRendu ethernet to usb endpoint between the Mac Mini and iFi usb3. Better focus, soundstaging, textural detail and palpability - and a hard to define better flow and involvement. Nice.
A VERY LOUD +1 to audiotroy

I used to listen to a Mac mini as a server, I'm miles beyond that now (and a few grey hairs).
If you don't have a highly resolving system, you may not not hear the difference as much, the DAC being a big player, and your source's connection to it.

Personally I have a low powered fanless commercial grade embedded CPU (8Watt dual core). Linear power supply to the Mainboard/CPU, linear power to the JCat FEMTO USB card, linear power to the SSDs (one for OS and apps, the other strictly for media files). Fanless case with heat sink built in.  Absolutely no moving parts, and AC power filtration, external linear power supply (also helps keep heat out of the computer case).

The cable you link between them makes an audible difference, you could also try a reclocker with a linear power supply. I use Curious Cables USB (I made mine because I used to work for them) there are others reportedly better than my older style cable, including their newest USB cable.

There are others in this forum with way more elaborate setups than mine, with newer technologies even. Software and operating systems to reduce jitter make a significant and profound sonic improvement.

+1 tobes - linear power supplies make a difference, easy upgrade.
Non switching power supplies as well.

Balancing the budget between the source, interconnect, and DAC these days will require some due diligence, but my goodness there are good options for every budget. The Mac Mini was a good starting point 6 or 7 years ago, but there's a lot of gear come up since then.