Considering the Transporter already has a very good DAC built in, I believe using the Transporter with the DAC8 is redundant, and for that reason I'd choose the MacMini.
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As per Tvad the Mac Mini is the way to go, although I can tell you PC sounds more dynamic w/ better resolution and much much better bass than Mac. However with either I suggest an Empirical audio Off ramp if you plan to use USB. If you go w/ the Mac toslink is your best bet. If you go with PC a Lynx card would be the best option and would be the 2nd best overall after the Off Ramp. I have experimented at great length with all of these and I can assure you these conclusions are not system dependent. Hope it helps!
I am curious about your findings on Mac vs PC. I am not contending your results, but blanket statements make me wonder. Especially considering the different player software available for both systems (that do make a difference). Presently I am interested in the XX Highend, and have debated on dual booting a Mac to give it a whirl.
FWIW, I think toslink sucks, and the Lynx card would also fit into a Mac desktop. I use a mini because it is silent. From what I have read, the DAC8 sounds better with some of the aftermarket USB converters (such as the EA Offramp) than through it's own USB input. I would stay away from the Transporter because you need to use their player software IIRC, and player software is not all the same...