I use the Samsung 830 myself, and boot times were AMAZING. Unfortunately, peripherals slow the hell out of booting, but it's still ok. By peripherals, I mean wireless (which I've since disabled), and just about all of the USB devices including sound and volume knob, gps, etc.

I never liked Centrafuse, especially their GPS. I use iGuidance and like it a lot more.

For music storage, I actually use a high capacity USB stick. That way I can update the library in the house with an automated sync script.

As far as audio goes, I didn't read the whole thread, but why don't you use the computer for this? It seems a little silly to buy a device designed to do DSP without a computer, while you have a computer already installed.