pc computer used under $500.00 for music only

Looking for used pc computer (laptop or desktop) for music only... through main system... any thoughts

CAPS V3 Topanga. Check out computeraudiophile.com, look into the C.A.P.S. Tab/menu on top, and scroll down to the Topanga.
This is if you want to buy new.

You can probably get a used CAPS V3 of the better ones for about that price too (this is just a guess, though).
BTW, you haven't told us anything about your system, or your level of comfort with computers.

Obviously the easiest route is a laptop. But the best results come from a headless computer, along the lines of the CAPS, which also allows you to upgrade some key parts of the computer that in turn will deliver better sound (ie, the two CAPS v3 models that are based on the same mobo: Lagoon and Carbon).

The absolute best results come from the same concept but with better mobo (motherboards and hence other parts too). My server is similar to the CAPS v3 Zuma, but with better parts, fanless, headless, very optimized for audio. It's a huge improvement compared to a laptop I used to use running the same software. I'm no computer wiz, but I wouldn't recommend this route for someone not at all comfortable with computers, though.

So depending on your comfort level with computers, you can spend 500 on a laptop for ease of use, or on a CAPS type for better sound. Do you have an iPad/iPhone, android phone, or laptop that you could use as control device for the CAPS? The control device doesn't need to be dedicated to audio, but it is certainly advisable to run your laptop/CAPS server as dedicated for audio, running no antivirus, or other processes that are not essential for music reproduction.

Sorry I got long-winded. But not knowing where you are coming from is difficult to know if my suggestions are applicable or way off base for your case.
And also keep in mind that it is quite possible to get a very capable brand new laptop for that kind of money. Check out BestBuy, NewEgg, TigerDirect for great deals on new equipment...

Depending on the horsepower you need you can get a nice Atom based PC for less than $500. Zotac makes nice ones. Atom processors with hardware acceleration can easily handle 1080p movies let alone high res FLAC files. I personally use two of them for my audio though I will be making a CAPS in the near future for my main listening room where I want the best sound quality.
The PC is easy with that budget. I got an Acer Aspire, put in an SSD 250gb drive and downgraded to windows 7. Final move was to buy Jriver. There went $500.

However, I spent almost as much on a DAC with USB input. Your system will only be as good as the signal coming out of the PC. If you have a desktop, you could install a good soundcard. However, I really don't think there is a soundcard I would buy over my Schiit Bifrost.

The other option is to get an SPIDF adaptor (Music Fidelity V Link) to convert USB to digital and then go into your digital input in your system (if you have one)
Asus EEE Box with the Atom processor. About the size of a router and no fan. Strip down the software to minimum and install Fidelizer.
I am using an Asus 14 inch laptop with an Intel i3 processor, 4gb ram and a 1tb hard drive. I am using a Western Digital 2TB usb3 hard drive for all my music files. The laptop supports usb3 and is Windows 7. I use J River Media Center 19. Total outlay was around $500 new.

I turned off all the services that I didn't need and have very minimal software on it. It runs like a dream and I can access over 500 cd's at present in flac. I also use the app j remote to use my iPad and iPhone as a remote control.
Quicksilver 90 watt silver monos
Quicksilver LS preamp
Fritz speakers prototype... 2 way monitor with ScanSpeak 5" Illuminator mid/bass & ScanSpeak 9700 tweeter 13H x 71/2W x 12D... Skylan stands in 12x15 room
Kimber KCAG, interconnect
WyWires Blue speaker cable
Musical Fidelity M1 A dac
Theta Pearl transport
The one that seems the most promising and you can squeeze it in new.

An Intel NUC with Celeron processor. At about 6W, it outperforms the Atom based designs but still runs extremely cool.

Add in 4GB of DDR3 1.35V memory and a 60GB of SSD.

Download Daphile - an optimised OS for music playback.

That's it.

You might even be able to throw in the HDPlex Linear PSU to power this for under 500. New
Are you still looking for a computer for audio playback? I'm thinking about selling my Niveus Rainier w/daphile and a 2TB with 1100 albums on it.
Try to look to AM1 processors from AMD. Very power efficient. Get a small ITX case with built in power supply (power brick). It's enough to power it up and dead silent. For extra silence you can go for and SSD instead of HDD. 500$ is more than enough for new computer, not used.
A used Oct. 2009 Mac Mini is the ticket. Buy it on ebay for $375 with wireless keyboard , mouse and OS CDROM disk. Upgrade it with 16 gigs DRAM and a SSD from otherworldcomputing.com. Beats virtually all servers on the market if you supply DC power from a linear 18.5V supply. use Amarra playback software. I have won several best of shows using this configuration.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Try to look to AM1 processors from AMD. Very power efficient. Get a small ITX case with built in power supply (power brick). It's enough to power it up and dead silent. For extra silence you can go for and SSD instead of HDD. 500$ is more than enough for new computer, not used.
Been posting this a bit today.  How about a Raspberry Pi3 with HiFiBerry and Kodi or OSMC?
A Mac Mini, pre 2013. Mechanically they are well built and have a very long life span. If you don’t care for Mac’s operating system, you can load Windows or Linux, as long as the MM has intel inside. The older MM’s have tons of tweaks available which improve performance and most can be performed by the end user, thanks to online DIY videos.
My problem with Mac laptops, even heavily modified one’s, is that I’ve heard them turn otherwise sweet DACs into very hard sounding. I have no idea why. Not all DAC’s are affected equally, but for instance the Ayre QB-9 I heard was not happy. I know I’m in the minority here and that it’s a complete sub-industry.

Why not make it yourself from scratch, new? I built a mini-PC with Xubuntu and am streaming and ripping quite happily with it. Total part costs is under $600 for a 2 TB build.

Use a mini-ITX motherboard that supports FM2+ chips with an AMD A series GPU (Graphics + CPU). Stream via USB 2.0 to a modern USB capable dac (i.e. driverless for OSX/Linux) and you’ll be golden.

I stream PCM and DSD through my Mytek Brooklyn this way. It’s stellar. I also watch Hulu/Netflix and occasionally game from Steam. Oh, and I have open source Android and iPhone app support by using Logitech Media Server. If I want to stream my music remotely I can add Subsonic for a modest fee.

Music management can happen directly on the PC or remotely by sharing out the music folder and using whatever software you want on your laptop.

Using Squeezelite you can turn old Android devices into remote WiFi players too.


You can also do what I did with a Raspberri Pi 3 by the way. :) I've not tried it, but once you have Ubuntu on it the same ideas apply.
If you feel comfortable, I would build a "Music Rig" PC. I have built two PC's, one for gaming and one for audio streaming. The price of the gaming rig is way beyond your price point and is totally unnecessary for audio. For audio however, you do not need massive computing power. I picked up an old dead HP Pavilion for $25 including the HDMI monitor (hard drive died). I then purchased a $30 graphics card that had only a heat sink and no fan. Lastly installed 4G of new ram and a Crucial 500Gb SSD and a decent sound card, then loaded Windows 7. This system has only three fans total and is dead silent! You really want a quiet PC. My total layout for this rig came to about $400. I now use it to stream TIDAL exclusively to my DAC via Toslink and to surf at the same time. This solution worked out very well and was light on the wallet. Good luck!