The Host Computer
The host computer for a SAC system is the heart of the system. In general the faster the better, particularly if you are going for higher channel counts. It needs to be a very stable system. It can be an off the shelf computer and some run SAC on a good laptop.
While it can be an off the shelf computer most SAC users use a purpose built computer. Many build their own host computers. If an off the shelf computer is used it will probably need some work to clear off the extraneous programs that most manufactures include with a new computer. In either case the developer has some recommended tweaks to tune the system that should be applied.
SAC uses a single processor to process the audio data. A second processor can be used for the graphical data. A quad core CPU does not offer an advantage although some have used quad core computers successfully. The primary advantage point for a SAC host is speed, both in the processor and memory used. So look for a computer with the highest processor speed and the fastest memory supported by the motherboard. A fast dual core processor will be fine.
If you are so inclined building your own computer is a good choice. Computers are made of building blocks and as long as you select compatible blocks you should not have a problem assembling your computer. An advantage to building your own computer is that you will be familiar with the various pieces in case you need emergency repairs. Also if you build your own computer you will not have the junk programs that nearly all off the shelf computers come with from the factory.
Most users do not connect their host computer to the internet. Since the computer does not see the internet antivirus software is not required and AV software can be a resource hog. The host computer should only network with the remote computers. When there is an update for installed software it is best to download the update with an internet connected computer and then transfer it to the host computer.
My first SAC host computer used WindowsXP Professional for the operating system. My later builds have Windows7 Home Premium for the OS. Users have also successfully used Windows8.1 for the operating system in their SAC host computer. One of my remotes is a Windows8.1 box. All work without problem. SAC is a Windows program so it requires some flavor of Windows operating system but the software does not seem to care which flavor is used. The tweaks required are slightly different depending on the OS, but all work fine.