digital confusion

What's the benefit of having a 24 bit DAC when most CDs are 16 bit? What's an upsampler? How does it improve sound? Thanks
It is like the computer company's. You only need a 166Mkz Standard Pentium to run the new Windows 2000, but they will talk you into upgrading to a new Pentium III 750Mhz. Many of the best sounding new CD Players and DACs made today are still using 18bit and 20bit processors. And some of the cheapest DVD players boast having 24 bit. I find it interesting that the new top of the line Cambridge Audio D500 CD Player is 20bit and the entry level D300 is 24 bit. The only 24 bit products that seems to be a wide spread winner are the MSB Link DAC and some Musical Fidelity Players. (There are a couple super expensive player too.) I guess 24bit is "technically" better, but I choose equipment using my ears, not the math side of my brain. Sorry this is not a technical answer, but I have wondered the same thing you do.
Thanks for putting it so well Sugarbrie. There are so many posts on this (and other) sites that talk about whether silver is better than copper, or if SS is better than tubes, or planars better than stats. The point is you cannot possibly put a system together that will work by using such simple rules. In fact you are almost guaranteed to fail this way. For example, if I believed that all 24 bit DACs were better than all 20 bit DACs I would just find the cheapest 24 bit DAC I could find and imagine that I had just saved myself a fortune by not buying those over-priced 20 bit DACs. If enough people were to think this way then the manufacturers will drive chip makers to come up with 30 bit DACs at the lowest possible cost, and regardless of sonics, so that we can be sucked into upgrading again. Isn't this what happened with power ratings, and the marketers of japanese electronics - you know what I mean, the 500W one cubic foot boombox. Essentially Sugarbrie is right Mattman - neither 24bit DACs nor upsamplers are silver bullets, but you can see explanations of them by looking at various other threads on this site.
Might want to check out the info on the Muse website, covers a number of interesting subjects you may find interesting, including sample rate converters(up & oversamplers) & their use in digital audio.