My favorite quotes: The STi5 arrived first. I loaded my digital music library (about 500 GB) onto it without difficulty. Then I compared the STi5 to my 2017 MacBook Pro as a file server, using the Chord Mojo DAC for both. I can't remember exactly how I hooked up the STi5 for this comparison; but it was one of those situations where the improvement was so immediately obvious that I didn't spend much time on it, and haven't looked back. My remaining impression is one of a more stable, solid and clean sound using the STi5.
DAC manufacturers tend to overstate the independence of their DACs from the quality of upstream components; and my upgrade strongly confirmed this belief. Not to put too fine a point on it, my DAC sounds at least twice as good as it did before I inserted the SGC server and Sonore renderer. I was puzzled by the brief but rather sweeping character of some SGC and Sonore reviews, until I reached the same conclusion: my system was now producing the best sound I'd ever heard at home.