Audiiophile HTPC Setup

I am starting to build an HTPC for my father, who is planning on connecting it to an audiophile-grade stereo (yet to be purchased). He is planning on using a Peachtree Decco ( as his DAC, so I'm not too concerned with onboard audio quality.

I did however see this new board which claims to have independent power for the audio components. Since he'll be using the Decco, I don't think this makes much of a difference.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this / recommendations on good componnents?
Yes, I don't think the separate audio power is a significant consideration given that he will be using an external dac.

Also, it looks like Asus just introduced that board about 10 days ago, and no one seems to be selling it yet in the USA. I think that by going with it you would risk giving your father a not-yet-mature product, that would subsequently require bios updates, driver updates, and perhaps troubleshooting which would be inconvenient for all concerned given that the computer generally won't be in your possession.

I've built several desktop computers in recent years with both Asus and Gigabyte motherboards, and my experience and that of the majority of other people with whom I've compared notes has been that the recent Gigabyte boards tend to be much more likely to result in "work the first time" trouble-free builds.

Also, as you probably realize, these days Intel cpu's offer better performance, on both an absolute basis and a per dollar basis, than AMD cpu's (the board you listed is AMD-based, of course).

Finally, my instinct is always to stay away from motherboards with integrated graphics (which tend to be lower end products), and get a separate graphics card instead. Although integrated graphics might be inevitable in a micro-ATX form factor (I'm not sure).

What I would suggest is that you go to, search the suitable Intel-based motherboards from Gigabyte and Asus, and scan the review comments which are posted there by users/purchasers. I suspect that you'll end up selecting a Gigabyte board.

-- Al
I can not recommend using a mac mini enough, first of all they seem to be very quiet so you can place it in your listening area if you would like, very affordable, and you can get bit perfect output right out of the box, unlike windows which takes a little bit of configuring.
I currently have mine and upgraded it to 4gb of ram and have a 2TB nas drive which is wirelessly connected to the mini.
Then I use itunes with my cds ripped using the aiff codec, and the iphone remote app. Or use my bluetooth keyboard and mouse, hooked up to my display.
I know that their are better options out there, also much worse than this. Just my opinion.

With the Peachtree Decco, you don't have to worry about any on-board audio on the Motherboard because the Decco has a DAC with a USB input. I'm not sure how good the USB input is on the Decco, but it does simplify connectivity issues quite a bit. Generally speaking, unless the USB DAC has a special design like the Wavelength products, you will have better results using a different digital input. Still, the better results usually require a separate sound card as the on-board digital outputs are not usually very good. So, for on-board connectivity, the USB is probably a good alternative.

When keeping a computer in the listening room, I think the most important aspect is silence. So I would follow Tmesselt's recommendation, or do some research at before building a PC.

I am kind of intrigued by the MAC mini because of its silence, but I have never tried it. Regarding PC components, Seasonic power supplies are excellent from a silence perspective, as are Antek cases. You will definitely want a motherboard that supports adjustable speed fan headers if you are not going to go fanless. It is worth it to find a case that supports 120mm fans because you can spin the larger fans at slower speeds and they will be much more quiet than a smaller fan spinning at a higher speed. Same thing goes for the CPU cooler. A large CPU cooler that can fit a large fan will be much more quiet than a stock CPU cooler.

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