PC vs MAC laptop as music server

Hi All,
Looking for a laptop exclusively for surfing the web and use as a music server.
Will use for ripping CD's and downloading Hi Rez music files (HD Tracks etc..)
Would also use to sync to my IPOD 160gb and connect laptop to ARC DAC7 using USB cable. DAC7 connected to an all Reference ARC system.
Speakers are Verity Audio Parsifal.

Should I go PC or MAC ?
Tok20000, it's interesting what you say about the importance of the computer's power supply. My brother runs a home studio built 'round an iMac. I gave him a good isolation transformer. He plugged the computer into that and the overall sound gained noticeably in clarity and smoothness.

Would you want to change out the whole supply for a new subassembly, or just change parts, and to what?
I change out the entire supply for another.
I have found going with larger power supplies is better (800 watt+). The last one I installed in my music server was an 850 watt Thermalake Black Widow (~$185). It sounds better than the 650 watt Corsair I had in there before. I just upgraded graphics cards so I could display 1080p on a front projector, and I was pushing the Corsair too hard.

PC power supplies are pretty complex devices (it is amazing how inexpensive they can be), and I do not recommend modifying them unless you know EXACTLY what you are doing (e.g. you are a highly skilled electrical engineer, and power supplies are your life's work).

I do believe you that power does make a difference sonically with a computer. However, I would only recommend plugging a computer into passive power filtration (as opposed something like PS Audio's regenerators) without consulting the maker of the regenerator.


There is another ripper for Mac besides Itunes called Max (sbooth.org). It also converts between almost every format you can think of, including FLAC. An alternative player by the same guy is called Play. I haven't compared them but you are not stuck just with Itunes.

I use a Core 2 Duo Mac Mini running firewire out to an Apogee Duet ($500). I control it either with a laptop running JollysfastVNC or with an Ipod Touch. JollysfastVNC is faster than Chicken of the VNC and in active development.

I haven't compared Max to EAC but I get great sound and it's very reliable and easy to set up and use. Being a die-hard PC person there was a bit of a learning curve but now I really like OS X, especially not having to spend so much time on troubleshooting and maintenance.

The Mini is also hooked up to the LCD TV and I use it to watch DVDs and internet video.

Whichever way you go, having all of your music on a hard drive is so much better than using a disc player.
If you decide to go Mac, which I also recommend, get a new Mac Mini. It will sound much better in comparison to the laptop. Also try this ripper: XLD.
tok20000 - you have xld and max for the mac. they are excellent rippers.
as for toslink, i like using coax when going from a quality cd player in to a dac. as for a music server, i isolate the computer from the audio room (from any room that is served from the server for that matter). i don't want a computer in my audio room. you have raid disks spinning, backup disks spinning, fan noises, etc..
so i use devices that allow me to stream the signal over ecat5 or wireless (audio rooms are wired using gige speed). to further isolate any noise from these devices, i use toslink into a jitter device. then i use coax into the dac. no noise, dead quiet.
even in my den where i use the music server, i don't go directly into the jitter device from the computer. i still route the signal over the net (5ft away).
using toslink in network devices that are hooked up to electricity and to the network, toslink is less susceptible to pick up any em or rf interference like you would with a copper cable. also, you might have to run a longer cable to your dac which toslink would be a better choice for longer runs.