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Author Topic: Best Audiophile desktop for under $2500?  (Read 552 times)

the shiz

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Best Audiophile desktop for under $2500?
« on: January 29, 2024, 12:17:51 am »

My DELL Precision T7610 is crapping out on me.  I was very happy with it and the synergy with my Modwright OPPO205 and system was great. It has trouble playing WASAPI 768khz on the latest MC31 and MC32 JRiver. It wont go higher than 176khz. Any suggestions on a store or used bought desktop that is Audiophile worthy? Also use it for 7.1 HDMI audio and movies. I will be installing a Matrix Audio USB Card. I work everyday and dont have time to build one. Thanks in advance!
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JimH

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Re: Best Audiophile desktop for under $2500?
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2024, 12:33:59 am »

That may be a limit of the DAC or the connection, not the PC.
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eve

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Re: Best Audiophile desktop for under $2500?
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2024, 03:43:30 pm »

Any recentish computer is going to be capable of relatively competent 'audiophile' playback. There isn't anything hugely special you need to do.
Buy something fanless if it's in your listening environment. For USB D/A, if you're concerned about isolation, there's lots of options but really if you're going to spend more than a hundred or two on something, the only option that isn't snake oil crap is Intona, anything more expensive and you're burning cash on something inferior.
https://intona.eu/en/products/

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Awesome Donkey

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Re: Best Audiophile desktop for under $2500?
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2024, 06:15:54 pm »

Agreed. Even something like a Raspberry Pi or low power fanless Windows NUCs with N100 CPUs (like you mentioned) can output bit-perfect audio without issue. There's no reason to go for overkill and break the bank on an expensive PC here.

What matters more here is the DAC being used. I can connect a $35 Raspberry Pi 4B to my $200 Topping D50s USB DAC, and when running MC on it I can bit-perfect output everything up to 768 kHz and even bitstream DSD up to DSD512 without issue and it sounds great too!
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I don't work for JRiver... I help keep the forums safe from Viagra and other sources of sketchy pharmaceuticals.

Windows 11 2023 Update (23H2) 64-bit + Ubuntu 23.10 Mantic Minotaur 64-bit | Windows 11 2023 Update (23H2) 64-bit (Intel N305 Fanless NUC 16GB RAM/256GB NVMe SSD)
JRiver Media Center 32 (Windows + Linux) | Topping D50s DAC

eve

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Re: Best Audiophile desktop for under $2500?
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2024, 06:31:08 pm »

Agreed. Even something like a Raspberry Pi or low power fanless Windows NUCs with N100 CPUs (like you mentioned) can output bit-perfect audio without issue. There's no reason to go for overkill and break the bank on an expensive PC here.

What matters more here is the DAC being used. I can connect a $35 Raspberry Pi 4B to my $200 Topping D50s USB DAC, and when running MC on it I can bit-perfect output everything up to 768 kHz and even bitstream DSD up to DSD512 without issue and it sounds great too!
Even a Pi / N100 can handle generally alright (not the GPU accelerated stuff) up sampling if you want to do something like take PCM > DSD at playback time.
Mainstream like, consumer 'audiophile' audio playback just doesn't have major requirements in 2024 really.


You shouldn't need to add fancy USB cards or anything either. *Generally* needing something like that is just an indicator of a problem to address elsewhere (I'll give guys using older professional interfaces a pass, USB 3.0 backwards compatibility with USB 2.0 is *not* USB 2.0). It's kind of like guys who dump a bunch of money into ethernet isolation and crap, if it was actually a problem that could be solved with isolation (ethernet is already galvanically isolated), it's probably indicative of misbehaving or out of spec gear and it might be prudent to look into that versus an expensive band-aid. Nothing but praise for the Intona stuff but chances are, you do not need it and if it's fixing something... look into fixing what it's fixing.


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eve

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Re: Best Audiophile desktop for under $2500?
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2024, 06:59:44 pm »

Agreed. Even something like a Raspberry Pi or low power fanless Windows NUCs with N100 CPUs (like you mentioned) can output bit-perfect audio without issue. There's no reason to go for overkill and break the bank on an expensive PC here.

What matters more here is the DAC being used. I can connect a $35 Raspberry Pi 4B to my $200 Topping D50s USB DAC, and when running MC on it I can bit-perfect output everything up to 768 kHz and even bitstream DSD up to DSD512 without issue and it sounds great too!
Topping gets a bunch of flack but their stuff can be really good, especially in the price point they occupy. I adore my DM7 (doesn't *really* have a competitor at the price) and my AoIP headphone endpoint uses some Topping D/A as an option. I'm considering getting a used D90 since every once in a while they show up near me for a song (A guy had one listed at like $250 CAD... was mad I missed it)

Plus they have the LA90 which is a confusing *ss product that doesn't really exist elsewhere (an amplifier with near D/A dynamic range, how the heck??)
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Manfred

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Re: Best Audiophile desktop for under $2500?
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2024, 08:14:18 am »

I have a Workstation with ASUS Strix B550-I Gaming mainboard with rme ADI2 DAC-FS (up to DSD256) and Canton AM5 Active Desktop Speakers connected through Mogami XLR cables to the DAC. I am very happy with it. What I really like is that you now could configure all the DAC settings through a rme desktop app (Win, MAcOS) or remote via iPad (see example screenshots).
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ths61

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Re: Best Audiophile desktop for under $2500?
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2024, 05:27:05 pm »

My DELL Precision T7610 is crapping out on me.  I was very happy with it and the synergy with my Modwright OPPO205 and system was great. It has trouble playing WASAPI 768khz on the latest MC31 and MC32 JRiver. It wont go higher than 176khz. Any suggestions on a store or used bought desktop that is Audiophile worthy? Also use it for 7.1 HDMI audio and movies. I will be installing a Matrix Audio USB Card. I work everyday and dont have time to build one. Thanks in advance!

What CPU are you running in your T7610 ?  Single threaded speeds are still pertinent depending on what you are doing.

I recently bought a used FleaBay Optiplex 5070 MT with an i7-9700 in it for @ $330 and tossed in a Samsung 970 EVO Plus 2TB NVMe boot drive that really woke it up. 

NVMe prices are going nuts now compared to 6 months ago.  The NVMe drive was $75 6 months ago and is now $179.

Just bought the wife a used 5080 MT yesterday with an i7-10700 in it and will do the same to it.

The 10th gen Intel chips are the last generation that support BluRay decoding. 

Generations 11 and above have been BluRay neutered.

If you are too busy, you can pay your kid $2,500 to build you a $500 PC.   :)
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Main - JRMC31 -> custom ALSA_cdsp -> CamillaDSP(2x8 channel 64-bit FIR convolution) -> 8 channel DAC
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Awesome Donkey

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Re: Best Audiophile desktop for under $2500?
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2024, 07:37:49 pm »

SSD prices are expected to rise up to 20% in the next few months. I'm glad I got my 2TB gen 5 NVMe SSD a few months ago.
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I don't work for JRiver... I help keep the forums safe from Viagra and other sources of sketchy pharmaceuticals.

Windows 11 2023 Update (23H2) 64-bit + Ubuntu 23.10 Mantic Minotaur 64-bit | Windows 11 2023 Update (23H2) 64-bit (Intel N305 Fanless NUC 16GB RAM/256GB NVMe SSD)
JRiver Media Center 32 (Windows + Linux) | Topping D50s DAC

eve

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Re: Best Audiophile desktop for under $2500?
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2024, 08:31:58 pm »

SSD prices are expected to rise up to 20% in the next few months. I'm glad I got my 2TB gen 5 NVMe SSD a few months ago.
I grabbed a few SSDs in December just before prices started to creep up.
I put a hold on buying more, but I am still thinking of jumping on some of the Optane AICs. I have a use case that I believe is the right place for them (where they do actually outperform current gen NVMe drives) but I can't find much testing so it's sort of a, 'try it yourself' situation. (MongoDB at the multi hundred million doc scale)
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goatherder

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Re: Best Audiophile desktop for under $2500?
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2024, 12:50:06 pm »

A Lenovo P620 with a relatively lowly 5945WX in a prebuilt spec will scrape in around the 3K mark at the moment. I use the 5975WX/5995WX versions as my everyday workstations and I'm pretty happy with them to do anything with except top-end gaming (it's the wrong machine for that).

I guess you can probably hunt for the first-gen P620's if they are on the used market as an alternative. But it really depends on your workload - if you're replacing a literally decade-old machine then I'm assuming any piece of junk will actually be fine in terms of power. Maybe even something like an HP Z2.
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ths61

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Re: Best Audiophile desktop for under $2500?
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2024, 02:56:27 pm »

SSD prices are expected to rise up to 20% in the next few months. I'm glad I got my 2TB gen 5 NVMe SSD a few months ago.

For anyone that is not aware of camelcamelcamel dot com, it can be very informative.  It tracks and plots prices on specific items so you can know what a fair price is.

Here is a 2TB Samsung EVO Plus 2TB NVMe drive over the last 12 months.  I bought them @ $75 (currently @ $240) and should have bought more. 

If I was a scalper, I would be raking in the $$$ now.

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Main - JRMC31 -> custom ALSA_cdsp -> CamillaDSP(2x8 channel 64-bit FIR convolution) -> 8 channel DAC
Office - JRMC31 -> Asus Xonar Essence STX -> W4S STI-1000 -> Mini-Magnepans
Shop - JRMC31 -> W4S MicroDAC -> Adcom GFA-2535 -> B&W Rock Solid
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