Computer comparison

Does anyone have experience with / knowledge of audio pc's like the Sweetwater or Tracer, and can you tell me how they compare to, say, a Toshiba for audio-specific app's? Does a dedicated unit have needed features or better sound quality that would make them worth the $ ? Thanks- just new on this thread and in considering pc as source.
I can't comment specifically about the models you mention, but typically pro-audio designed computers have quieter components (fans & hard drives) plus added connectivity (firewire/USB ports, card slots, etc.) when compared to generic computers. Unless you're recording multitrack audio with real time playback, audio is not a particularly taxing task to modern computers. The key to high quality computer audio is how you get the audio signal in and out of the computer.
I am familiar with the audio pc's you asked about, and Onhwy has it completely right. Except for the advantage of being extremely quiet, everything else in the computer will be overkill for you except for the soundcard (you need a great sound card).

Audio pc's have their motherboard, processor, ram, hard drives, power supply, and even video card, optimized for multitrack recording and for the playing back of more than a hundred tracks at once while processing dozens and dozens of effects and recording overdubs. Certain motherboards for example do this better than others. Also pc builders know what components mate well with others. In the recording audio forums, there are known do's and dont's about matching components for a glitch free machine that can handle the above mentioned tasks. But if your pc is just playing back 2-track stereo audio, you will be wasting money on components whose potential you will never even begin to tap. Also you will be paying someone to match components that in your case don't need to be matched. ANY motherboard/videocard combination will play back 2 track audio without a problem, but if you're in a pro recording studio, the wrong video card can cause problems (I know, I know, I didn't believe that a video card could make a difference either at first - but it has to do with how the card taxes the system.)

You can get yourself a Dell and simply upgrade the soundcard/DAC.
Yes make sure you get a good 24/96 sound card.But internalk wiring in them all and their 1/8" jacks suck.Soiund blaster sells a card wioth that fits in a front slot and has RCA inputs.Makes things easy.But few computers are dedicated to sound the way audio coponents are.Read recent Stereophile and one of the articles (Fremers) mentions the prefered CD REcorder and even their not all are equal of course.Plus check out the strings on corrupted CD-R's whci one gonner said he had drop outs after only 3 to 4 years.