CDP or CDP/ DAC - different question

Everyone I've seen this question a bunch of times but I'm not sure that we are asking the correct question. If I buy a box unit and run that way there are lots of reviews/specs etc. If I buy a DAC I can find the same. Thing is if I suspect I want to buy separates and run transport/DAC than I only want to know how good the transport on the CDP is. Problem is that I have never seen any specs on the transport element alone. If I have specs on the Unit or DAC and transport I can make a better decision. I know that there is more to this than the specs but the knowledge gap is still there.

How do you pick a good transport player? Am I missing something?
In the interest of not answering your quesiton in what may be a slightly productive manner -- I gave up on the spinning disk part entirely. My new transport is a Mac Mini. Put together your lossless library of whatever you choose, pick the DAC to suit your fancy, and that's all. As for an actual answer to your actual question: sorry, no clue.
actually Mezmo that is a pretty good way of looking at it. I think that folks still worry about some aspects of the bit stream (jitter?) this way but you have a point. If you only need a transport why not make it a computer? Same issues or different?

Not really sure I'm communicating my question or thoughts well. Why are we spec'ing some elements of our systems to there and back, yet others are as it comes and a black box.
Paulsax- I think jitter from a Mac Mini can be dealt with very well by Dacs that employ jitter rejection/reduction technologies. I use a Mac Mini into a Peachtree Nova Sabre dac with excellent results. As good as my Marantz SA11 S1? Not quite, but REALLY close.
Guess I've seen some chatter / reviews regarding transports, but have to agree -- there seems to be exponentially less of it than regarding just about every other dohicky one might plug in (or not plug in) in connection with a stereo system. Probably seen more ink spilled about "magic" stones one might scatter around the listening environment in order to accentuate zen-itude or what have you than transports. And when you do see it, tends to be in connection with a "matching" DAC review or, more recently, someone giving a serious comparison between "x" transport of choice and, frequently, a Mac Mini.... Go figure. Perhaps I haven't been paying attention to the right things (which I'll admit is likely, just haven't really been looking), but I definitely hear what you're saying and am with you in considering it a wee bit odd.
I think buying a transport and dac is not the best option. If you want to play CD's just buy a CDP. Most of the time a CDP is much more cost effective then buying seperates. Same goes for amps.

If however you want to play your music from an other digital source then a good DAC is essential. Analogue outputs of computer and or steamers isn't that good most of the time.