where to start

So my computer that was fairly old died the other day. I have mostly been a PC guy but don't mind mac. I would like to start setting up a computer audio system.

I would like to do a nas server and have all my audio files saved on it and then stream wireless into a Squeezebox in one room and then use a laptop for the other.

I guess I just don't know what is better for doing this mac or PC? I see a lot of guys on here running mac. I don't plan on using iTunes and I will be using a PS pwd in the main system.

I don't know what benefit a mac would.have over a PC. My budget is around 1200 for the computer so I was looking at a mac book pro and PC don't even know where to start.
I think a mac has its own advantages.
Some of them:
A MAC comes with or you can obtain Itunes Music Server for free.
Connectivity: A Mac comes with USB and Firewire 800. You don't have to purchase a sound card or usb to Spif convertor.
While I have a PC setup, I would recommend going with MAC if you have the option of starting from scratch. MAC OS is just more stable. Why deal with the PC headaches (drivers, patches, compatability issues) if you don't have to. Only downside is that Mac with top end audio software will cost you more in the near term than PC. But you will more than likely have the more efficient platform going forward.

That being said, I am enjoying using my PC laptop with JRiver and JPlay.
Get a MacBook Pro but load your music on a firewire-connected external hard drive. Buy Pure Music ($129) as your music player; it sits on top of iTunes and works with it so you can play high-rez FLAC files through Pure Music which you ordinarily can't do on a Mac. Buy a USB-DAC (so many options--I chose a North Star USB DAC32) and a good USB cable (I chose a Wireworld Silver Starlight USB for $250) to run from your MacBook Pro to the DAC. Hook your DAC up to your preamp and do all your playlist creating, music selecting, etc. on iTunes on your laptop. You can also use the Apple remote app on your iPhone or iPod Touch or iPad. I have been enjoying great sound and easy user interface with this setup.
Alternatively, you can buy a Squeezebox Touch, connect it to your preamp (its internal DAC is really good) and stream all your music to it, using your laptop (running the Squeezebox interface, Logitech Media Server) or iPhone/iPad etc. to select your music, playlists etc. The Touch can also be used with an external DAC via coaxial or Toslink cables, but try its own internal DAC first, you may find you don't need an external DAC. I find the Logitech software interface really easy and flexible to use, more so than iTunes, but YMMV.
I hate Mac's. Used a mac mini for a little while and could not get rid of it fast enough. Cute looking box though....
@Edorr: You need to know how to deal with macs :P
I hate incorrect apostrophe usage.
I thought the whole point of the mac is they are so intuitive you never have to learn how to deal with them. My pure music would freeze every day and I ended up have to reboot because I could not get to application threads that can be shut down individually. Besides, Jobs was a total jerk. Still getting the new iPad though.....
The advantage of Mac is that programs like Amarra (certain revs) and Pure Music eliminate the SQ issues with iTunes.

PC has some programs that attempt to do the same thing like Jriver and Media Monkey with Kernel Streaming plug-ins or WASAPI, but typically do not do quite as good a job as the Mac programs. Jplay may be the exception.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Steve, you are certainly entitled to the opnion that say running JRiver in WASAPI mode is inferior to say Pure music on a Mac, but there is absolutely no broad consensus on this. For example, Alex Peychev is on the record saying he preferred his Toshiba laptop running JRiver over a Mac mini, and there are many others with similar preference. Strangely I have not come across any double blind A/B comparisons, which would be interesting. Also, very high grade asynchronous converters like your offramp in the chain, should further reduce any perceived or real difference in SQ. The Mac / PC usually boils down to operating system and server application preference on the basis of usability / stability / ease of setup. I do not think you can categorically ascribe superiority in SQ to one over the other.
03-18-12: Edorr
Steve, you are certainly entitled to the opnion that say running JRiver in WASAPI mode is inferior to say Pure music on a Mac,...

I couldn't agree more!