PC for Antelope Zodiac / Perfectwave DAC Shootout?
I am using a perfectwave DAC + bridge + modwright 36.5 LS/PS preamp to stream flacs over my network. Very happy with the sound, but intrigued by the idea of getting better SQ for less $$$ I will soon be auditioning an Antelope Zodiac Gold + Volticus over USB, directly into my poweramp. Being able to take out the modwright alone would pay for the new DAC. My only concern is the PC I will be using for this shootout. I have a Dell laptop and an Asus media PC, both with USB 1.0.
If I opt for the Zodiac I will go all out on computer source (may be mach2music), but I don't want to invest before knowing if I even want to go down the USB path.
In you estimation, is there any chance of the PC used in my shootout distorting the outcome? Would I be better off using my Marantz ud9004 S/PDIF source for the Zodiac, and then get a better computer if the Zodiac wins the contest?
Or are the difference between computer sources small and will I be able to conclude which is the better DAC using a mediocre PC as the source for the Zodiac. Any advise on how to set up the hardware for the shootout is welcome.