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Thread Starter 
Ok, so currently I am running my music out of the audio out on my motherboard (since I just built a new computer and the fan on my GPU blocks the pci slots) into a receiver, and to my speakers/headphones. As the title states, I wish to get rid of my receiver, and go with a DAC or soundcard/preamp/main amp setup. At first my plan was to go EMU 0404 usb --> Power amp ---> speakers until I could get a proper preamp. However I recently discovered Audiogon and found I could stretch my dollars a lot further. Unfortunatly, now I'm at a loss because I don't know what to put the most money into, here is some info that should help.

*I want to keep this whole purchase under 500usd
*Somewhere along the line there needs to be a headphone out
*I don't need a ridiculous amount of power, since my system is in my bedroom
*I want to be able to listen to music, and play games
*Since I am between operating systems right now, I'm using Unbuntu. full compatibility isn't an issue since I'm moving on to windows 7, as long as I can hear stuff.
*Due to the aforementioned graphics card obstruction, the soundcard/DAC has to either by PCI-E or USB.

One other thing I was considering was buying two of these and using them as monoblocks, would that confer any advantage? or would I be better off finding a good used power amp?

Thanks in advance for your help