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breakfastchef
2014-07-15, 17:48
Been an SB user for several years. I am streaming my music from an old desktop computer with an external hard drive and through my home WiFi network. I like this option because I have an SB and Duet in different rooms. The computer is FTD (fixin' to die) soon and I am looking for a new streaming solution that is no more challenging to setup than the one I am using now. Setting up basic sharing on a PC was pretty easy.

I've looked at NAS devices and Vortexbox software, for example, but it appears one needs to be a bit more computer savvy than I to setup and run these things. When you need to be able to enter long, unintelligible strings of symbols, letters, punctuation and numbers to tell these devices what to do, I get lost. Any simple plug-n-play streaming solutions that will run SBS (or whatever it is now called) to which I can choose to connect external hard drives? Need help to re-start my research for a new solution. Thanks.

JJZolx
2014-07-15, 18:06
What operating system is the current server running, and what are you comfortable with? Do you have some sort of budget in mind?

breakfastchef
2014-07-15, 19:34
I am most familiar with the Windows operating system. I probably do not need more than 2TB of data storage currently. The external hard drive hooked to the ailing PC is also used to back up data from two other PC's on the network, so the ability to expand storage capacity is something to consider.

Most of my music is in FLAC and are stored in folders by Genre - Artist - Album. I do not stream anything else.

I'd like to cap this project at of $500 or less. Small, simple and can be left with thepower on, and no need for a monitor or keyboard.

lrossouw
2014-07-16, 01:15
My solution to the same problem was this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16859107921

I run my LMS and a bunch of other things off this. Can install windows (I'm running ubuntu though). It's small quiet and has 4 HD bays. You can also use the cd bay as another HD bay.
Use it with your existing drives and upgrade the drives as you go along.

JohnB
2014-07-16, 02:59
I agree about the HP Microserver N54L G7 - it used to be regularly subject to HP 100 cashback offers (at least in the UK) which brought the price down to under 150. I've been using one for LMS and backups for three years and it has been rock solid. However, from what I can glean, the model was discontinued some months ago though it seems that some firms still have stock.

The replacement (HP Proliant Microserver Gen8) is more expensive and doesn't seem to have the same cashback offers.

I might well snap up an inexpensive N54L myself (as backup) while I can.

Later Edit
---------
For those in the UK, ebuyer currently has, in stock, 569 of the HP ProLiant MicroServer G7 N54L 1P 4GB-U (4GB RAM but no HDD), priced at 129.99.

aubuti
2014-07-16, 08:11
I've looked at NAS devices and Vortexbox software, for example, but it appears one needs to be a bit more computer savvy than I to setup and run these things. When you need to be able to enter long, unintelligible strings of symbols, letters, punctuation and numbers to tell these devices what to do, I get lost. Any simple plug-n-play streaming solutions that will run SBS (or whatever it is now called) to which I can choose to connect external hard drives?
I'm not sure where you got the idea that Vortexbox software requires long, unintelligible strings of characters on the command line. It's controlled entirely through a web-based graphical user interface.

The HP servers that others have recommended look appropriate for your needs. One thing you should decide -- or if you've already decided, share the info with us -- is how important it is for you to have external storage like you do now, or if you'd prefer more internal storage. If you need more than 2TB internal storage than your options will be slightly more limited simply because of case sizes/designs and power supplies. But if the bulk of the storage is external than you have more options.

Apesbrain
2014-07-16, 12:53
The "cheap and cheerful" solution to this need is to buy a refurbished, last-generation Windows laptop (http://www.amazon.com/Dell-Latitude-D630-notebook-computer/dp/B004VC3NM0/ref=pd_sim_pc_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=0NF7X8ZE788NVDDRKQF5) and continue using your external drive as your music source. Nice thing about this approach is there's no need to install any software other than LMS and you have a monitor, keyboard and CD drive available when you need. Close it up and you can stick it on a bookshelf or in your equipment rack.

If you have a friend who's computer-savvy, ask for help installing a larger laptop drive (http://www.amazon.com/HGST-Travelstar-2-5-Inch-7200RPM-Mobile/dp/B0097LG9U8/ref=sr_1_2?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1405537391&sr=1-2&keywords=laptop+hard+drive) to which you can move your music then use your external drive -- stored offsite -- as a monthly backup.

Why do you feel your current PC is "FTD"? If its only function is to run LMS, that's not particularly demanding.

breakfastchef
2014-07-16, 14:07
Irossouw & JohnB - Super recommendation. Price is attractive and storage expansion is possible. I will research this option.

aubuti - External storage is not necessary at all. A fully enclosed black box would be preferable. I only mention external hard drive because that is my current music vault, and will be until I find somewhere else to store data.

Regarding unintelligible lines of data that need to be entered at a command prompt...Ron, the VB forum administrator frequently tells people to enter certain commands for troubleshooting and other purposes. (I.e. systemctl stop vb-autoripper; ripit -d /dev/sr0 1-; python-gmusicapi-3.1.1-2.fc20.i686; etc.). That does not sound like fun or GUI. Yea, I know, the MS tech folks do the same if you pay to have your problem diagnosed and fixed.

Apesbrain, you really challenge my notion I need to find a more suitable solution. The one thing I wish to eliminate is having a box that requires a monitor and keyboard to function (takes up sapce) and wastes a lot of energy when running 24-7. A 'set-it-and-forget-it' littel box tucked away and connected to my network was appealing. No external interface devices and web access from another device to makes changes seems pretty cool. In the end, I may just stick with the arrangement I have since my needs are pretty simple - streaming music and backing up some files via wireless.

Also, the current PC no longer boots properly without hitting the F1 key each time it is started. Power cuts off fairly frequently in my location so the PC does not come back automatically. The version of Windows I use is no longer supported, but that really should not matter much. A few things positive about the old PC is having Internet access, ability to download files directly to the external hard drive and that I can rip CDs with EAC from the on board CD burners.

Thanks you all for your thoughts.

Apesbrain
2014-07-16, 15:34
Well, another approach is to "roll your own" like I did. Currently available on Amazon for about $215 with free shipping:

- ASRock mini-ITX mainboard with integrated Intel Atom dual-core CPU (http://www.amazon.com/ASRock-Intel-Mini-ITX-Motherboard-AD2550B-ITX/dp/B008N7T9RC/ref=sr_1_2?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1405535589&sr=1-2&keywords=asrock+atom)
- Apex mini-ITX computer case with 250-watt power supply (http://www.amazon.com/MI-008-Tower-Black-Chassis-Supply/dp/B001H0BA24/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1405535691&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=apex+mini+itx)
- Western Digital 2TB 3.5" hard drive (http://www.amazon.com/WD-Green-Desktop-Hard-Drive/dp/B008YAHW6I/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1405535650&sr=1-2&keywords=western+digital+2tb) (drop to 1TB and you'll come in under $200)
- Samsung 2GB SO-DIMM memory (http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-PC3-10600-204-Pin-Laptop-SODIMM/dp/B007EZ405K/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1405535719&sr=1-2&keywords=samsung+sodimm)

Spend an hour putting it all together, and another hour installing and setting up Vortexbox*, and you'll have a capable, shoebox-sized, headless machine you can stick in a cabinet and be proud of having built yourself. Use any other PC on your network to remotely manage it and copy over new rips.

*Ok, this one thing is a bit tricky: you'll need a CD drive to install Vortexbox. You can spend $25 to add one to your cart or (recommended) temporarily borrow one from your old PC.

JJZolx
2014-07-16, 16:15
There's not really any more energy used with an always-on PC with monitor/keyboard/mouse than with a headless PC. You just turn the monitor off. Of course, headless is still desirable for the space savings and the ability to stuff the computer just about anywhere.

About operating headless: For any kind of troubleshooting with issues in booting an operating system, or to update the BIOS or change any BIOS settings, you're still going to have to hook the computer up to a monitor/keyboard/mouse. You'll also need them during the initial OS installation. Just something to keep in mind. It sounds like you'll be going with Windows. With Windows, I've always installed Windows XX Professional, for its remote desktop functionality, which I think is superior to the various flavors of VNC. If you go that route, it will cost an extra $40 for the OS (about $140 vs. $100 for Windows Home). Of course, many people are perfectly happy with VNC.

I'm not sure I'd worry about any cryptic commands you may be need to enter for troubleshooting Vortexbox. In such a situation, it's pretty much cut and paste. Plus, you shouldn't expect to do that except very, very rarely.

My preference would be to build a system from the ground up around a low-power Intel CPU. The biggest challenge there is not assembling the system (a modern PC isn't much more than six to ten parts), but probably the research that you'd want to do in selecting those parts (although you could do it straight from advice). This gives you the most flexibility in system size, power efficiency, noise level and price point.

get.amped
2014-07-16, 16:42
There are off-lease refurbished desktops (HP or Dell, CPU, keyboard, mouse, no display) on TigerDirect or Newegg for less than $200 that include Windows 7 Pro, a decent 2 core processor, DVD drive, and some throw-away internal SATA HD (generally 160GB). Replace the HD with an SSD and you've got a snappy LMS box for fairly cheap. I set one of these up for a friend's LMS and, even without the SSD, it was a good $150 solution since we already had external USB drives for the library.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=8915601&CatId=2628

JJZolx
2014-07-16, 16:52
^^^^

That's a hell of a deal. It won't be the very lowest energy option, but it will run LMS like a champ. I'd be tempted to up the memory to 4GB for 64-bit Windows. It's also not clear if there's a second internal 3.5" drive bay. Ideally, you would use the existing 160GB drive as purely a boot drive and then add a larger internal storage drive, minimizing the need for the additional cables and wall wart of an external hard drive.

Edit: Here's the same system, except with 4GB of memory and a 1TB hard drive (http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=9111163&CatId=2628) for $200. If a bit less than 1TB of hard drive space is enough for the OP, that might be a better deal.

get.amped
2014-07-16, 17:14
Specs for that particular system are here:

http://h18000.www1.hp.com/products/quickspecs/archives_Division/12765_div_v1/12765_div.PDF

Looks like plenty of space for 2 internal HDs. Total of 4 SATA connectors.

callesoroe
2014-07-16, 22:56
Been an SB user for several years. I am streaming my music from an old desktop computer with an external hard drive and through my home WiFi network. I like this option because I have an SB and Duet in different rooms. The computer is FTD (fixin' to die) soon and I am looking for a new streaming solution that is no more challenging to setup than the one I am using now. Setting up basic sharing on a PC was pretty easy.

I've looked at NAS devices and Vortexbox software, for example, but it appears one needs to be a bit more computer savvy than I to setup and run these things. When you need to be able to enter long, unintelligible strings of symbols, letters, punctuation and numbers to tell these devices what to do, I get lost. Any simple plug-n-play streaming solutions that will run SBS (or whatever it is now called) to which I can choose to connect external hard drives? Need help to re-start my research for a new solution. Thanks.

I am very happy with my ReadyNas Ultra running in raid two mode. And the system Works as designed. This week the Nas started sending me mails, the harddisk in slot2 has increasing errors, and I should
prepare for a replace. Ordered a new one. And as the music plays, I took out the disk from slot 2. Inserted new one. A operation of 5 minuttes. Inserted the new disk, and it started syncing in the background.
3 hours later my 700gb data was in sync again. And all this was done as the music kept playing ... :)

That is how it should be :)

And performance with LMS is very good. No problems there. So I can only recommand a ReadyNas Ultra. Not a DUO. It is too slow...

breakfastchef
2014-07-17, 11:23
Thanks you for your reply. The Ready NAS look as if it will do everything I want and much more. I have some more research to do...



I am very happy with my ReadyNas Ultra running in raid two mode. And the system Works as designed. This week the Nas started sending me mails, the harddisk in slot2 has increasing errors, and I should
prepare for a replace. Ordered a new one. And as the music plays, I took out the disk from slot 2. Inserted new one. A operation of 5 minuttes. Inserted the new disk, and it started syncing in the background.
3 hours later my 700gb data was in sync again. And all this was done as the music kept playing ... :)

That is how it should be :)

And performance with LMS is very good. No problems there. So I can only recommand a ReadyNas Ultra. Not a DUO. It is too slow...