Good idea with the SSD. I upgraded to 256GB drives for my OS and core programs and have everything else on HDDs. That's the way to go. Externals are so cheap now a days you can have all your music on one and have another for backup very easily. I like what you have planned.
That's very interesting to read about the computer. With an SSD, there's no reason you couldn't be playing music after 30 seconds from a cold start.
Cool setup with the PCMCIA card. I had an older SB Audigy 2 for my notebook as well. Though mine looked a bit different than yours. Would you see any benefit in using a USB DAC as the source for your sound instead of the SB Audigy card? Just curious if that would work or not in your application.
You seem to understand exactly what I was thinking with the external HDDs. They are ridiculously cheap. I'm trying to wait for a good deal on a 2TB 2.5" portable which I'll never be able to fill up unless I use it for movies, and even then it's doubtful. I'm in no big hurry for it though, I can fit enough to listen to for my commute on the current HDD on a temporary basis.
30 seconds to music would make me pretty happy. I'm at less than that now, but I'm not booting into a front end yet, just winamp by itself.
I could use anything that created a digital output from the computer. I'm using DACs on the DSP, not the sound card (even though this particular card does have a good DAC). The docking station I have actually has a coaxial digital out, but I haven't figured out to enable it. The other setting work for the computer knowing it's docked, but it's no big deal since I already had the card and it gives me a digital input as well. I'll be using that for a USB controlled XM unit that I added a toslink chip to the board. I do need one more input for a radio module, but I haven't decided how I want to do it. That part isn't much of a priority, I didn't build this to listen to the radio.
was hoping you weren't using some lossless format. flac is a good choice. they uncompress pretty quick. and it's a pretty common format. very compatible.
even with everything that plays mp3 nowadays, i still don't use them.
although my computer is full of them for my daughters ipod.
I have a lot of mp3s still, but I'm working on converting all the music I care over into FLAC (and I don't mean converting mp3s, I mean replacing the files with a truly lossless version). I won't listen to mp3s in the car now with this set up if I can help it. It's night and day different, especially with certain music. Even well encoded mp3s cut off sound above 16k or so, which I can easily hear.