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jimi
2005-07-05, 20:53
Hi,

I've recently purchased a squeezebox device and was thinking about adding a Networked Attached Storage device (NAS) to my network to store my songs. I currently only have a laptop at home, so I though this would be a good idea.

Most NAS devices are eye-poppingly expensive for home users (especially here in Australia), but I noticed that DLink are now making a few for the home market. There is a DNS-300 and DNS-312H device just out.

Ideally, I would like a device that doesn't require me to turn on a PC to run the SlimServer (ie. I could install it directly on the NAS device).

Does anyone have any experience with doing that on the DLink devices, or can they recommend any other affordable NAS device that I could use for a PC free music network with my sqeezebox?

I guess the obvious alternative is to buy a cheap PC and set it up as the server, but I wanted to investigate the NAS option first as my laptop is fine for all other computing work.

Thanks in advance for any help!

Cheers
James

radish
2005-07-05, 21:29
The one everyone always mentions as a NAS/slimserver combo is the Buffalo Linkstation, but I don't know if it fits the affordable remit. Personally, I think it's easier (and often cheaper) to just buy/build a super cheap PC and use that. It's easier to add more storage when you need it, and you can run other things on it if you need to in the future. NAS always seemed like an expensive way to do it.

jimi
2005-07-05, 22:41
Thanks radish. I hadn't heard of the Buffalo device before. There are some good tips on the web about how to hack it so you can install SlimServer.

I can get one from the US landed in Australia for around $350 aussie dollars (or buy locally for $550 - gotta love local retailer markups). That is much cheaper than I could buy a PC for - low end ones start around $1200 in this country.

I guess I have to weigh up the pros and cons of a full PC set up vs a NAS device. Thanks for your input anyhow!

Cheers
James

Maditude
2005-07-05, 23:41
I can get one from the US landed in Australia for around $350 aussie dollars (or buy locally for $550 - gotta love local retailer markups). That is much cheaper than I could buy a PC for - low end ones start around $1200 in this country.
Yowch. Think used/abandoned old pc's... Slimserver runs just fine on a crusty old 433 celeron (freebsd 5, 256 mb ram, 120GB hard disk) for me. Hell, I'd be happy to sell it to you for much less than $AU 1000 ;-)

mherger
2005-07-06, 00:10
> I guess I have to weigh up the pros and cons of a full PC set up vs a
> NAS device. Thanks for your input anyhow!

FWIW: I'm just finishing my new dedicated slimserver machine. It basically
won't do anything but run slimserver. I went the "full PC" way with the
following in my mind:

- energy consumption is a concern
- low/no noise is more important than performance (living room
compatibility)
- ...but must be able to serve/transcode at least two Real/WMA streams
(using AlienBBC)
- I'm sticking with high quality MP3 (no flac)
- data on the device isn't vital, it's only a copy
- I love Linux and I like tinkering a _lot_ :-)

I still don't know whether someone has got AlienBBC to work on a
Linkstation. A test on a Pentium/200 showed me that it is theoretically
possible on that low power CPU - but not really realistic (100% CPU load
with one single stream). So I'm ending (not quite there, yet) up with a
system that is rather low power for a "full PC", but that is "absolutely"
silent:

- VIA EPIA-M 600MHz
(http://www.viaembedded.com/product/epia_m_spec.jsp?motherboardId=81)
- Morex Cubid 3688 (http://www.morexintl.com/product/itx_3688.php)
- DSL based Linux (http://damnsmalllinux.org/)
- system completely run from CF/ramdisk (256MB CF)
- 80GB 2.5" laptop harddisk (4200rpm) for the music files
- 512MB RAM

This is really a compromise and not at all cheaper than a Linkstation. The
case's size limits its expandability. But once you've run such a machine
and experienced the silence, it's fascinating :-). The board is cooled
passively, I do not even use the case's ventilator. So there's basically
no moving part in the box.

DSL allows for an almost read only "frugal" installation of Linux on USB
sticks, CF cards or even harddisk. As flash based storage is sensitive to
write access (only << 50'000 cycles) I've configured it to keep everything
writable in RAM (logs, slimserver database etc.), with a cron job backing
everything up every 24h. The music storage is mounted read only. Even if I
pulled the power strip without shutting the machine down I wouldn't lose
much more than the latest changes to the slimserver database. And no
filesystem check is needed.

The drive containing the music files is about lowest end you can get. But
performance isn't a concern as I won't rescan the collection every day.
The 4200rpm make it _very_ silent. And I've configured it to go to sleep
after an hour of inactivity.

I have to admit that the process of building this machine and configure
the Linux was almost as important to me as the final result. I wanted to
learn about the possibility to build a robust, flash based Linux system.
And I'm very pleased with the result. You can find the "SlimCD" with the
remasterd DSL on my website. It weighs about 100MB and can be run directly
from CD (it's a descendant of Knoppix). I basically added complete perl
5.8, Java and SlimServer (with a lot of plugins) plus a few tweaks to the
GUI.

Regards,

--

Michael

-----------------------------------------------------------
Help translate SlimServer by using the
StringEditor Plugin (http://www.herger.net/slim/)

jimi
2005-07-06, 01:01
Wow Micheal,
Sounds like a great project you did there!

I've actually started investigating the Mini/Barebones PC route, and that seems like an even better way to go than a dedicated NAS for music storage. They are cheap and don't require any hacking to get SlimServer installed since they are just small PC's.

I probably won't go so far as Micheal, but was thinking a MiniPC running some flavour of Linux with a 100GB hard drive would probably be all I need! There are heaps to choose from.

So many options!

James.

radish
2005-07-06, 08:25
There's no need to go mini to get quiet, and it saves a lot of cash not to. I too investigated all the mini ITX stuff, but the form factor was too limiting. I'm about to build a new slimserver box - regular Athlon on a passive cooled mobo. Put it in a good quality quiet case (3700BQE), add Zalman CPU cooler, replace case fans with panaflo or nexus, and you've got yourself a virtually silent box. With space for 8 HDDs, multiple NICs, etc :)

mherger
2005-07-06, 08:42
> There's no need to go mini to get quiet, and it saves a lot of cash not
> to. I too investigated all the mini ITX stuff, but the form factor was
> too limiting. I'm about to build a new slimserver box - regular Athlon
> on a passive cooled mobo. Put it in a good quality quiet case
> (3700BQE), add Zalman CPU cooler, replace case fans with panaflo or
> nexus, and you've got yourself a virtually silent box. With space for 8
> HDDs, multiple NICs, etc :)

I also mentiond "living room compatibility" (waf?). Where do you hide your
giant box ;-)?

--

Michael

-----------------------------------------------------------
Help translate SlimServer by using the
StringEditor Plugin (http://www.herger.net/slim/)

radish
2005-07-06, 10:16
I also mentiond "living room compatibility" (waf?). Where do you hide your giant box ;-)?

It will be in a closet in the spare bedroom/office. It's headless so location is unimportant as long as I can get power and ethernet to it. Most of the apartment's network gear is in that room already (cable modem, routers, VOIP box, etc) as well as my main PC.

I mentioned this is a new build, I'm actually converting what is currently my HTPC to become this server. The HTPC is in an Ahanix case which is very sleek looking and fits great in the home theater "stack" (looks like a high end dvd player or something). Alas, the software for HTPC just isn't there yet IMHO (crappy slow interfaces, unreliable playback, etc), so I'm replacing it with another SB2 and moving the server out of the living room. So this is all in the name of WAF (actually GAF) :)

mac
2005-07-06, 10:24
Ideally, I would like a device that doesn't require me to turn on a PC to run the SlimServer (ie. I could install it directly on the NAS device).

Does anyone have any experience with doing that on the DLink devices, or can they recommend any other affordable NAS device that I could use for a PC free music network with my sqeezebox?
I just set up an $80 Linksys NSLU2 for this very purpose. http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=14977. It has no problem running SlimServer and streaming loseless FLAC at 320kbps to my Squeezebox.

Cheers, mac.

jimi
2005-07-06, 17:45
Well done mac. Now that is what I call a cheap, small and clever solution. Did you notice any of the "Pauses" for the real squeezebox that the author reported when using softsqueeze?

Regards
James.

mac
2005-07-06, 19:44
Hi James,

I've been using my Squeezebox2 with the NSLU2 for several hours now and it has worked flawlessly. CPU utilization is surprising low while serving music at bit rates approaching 800kbps.

I did discover a bug with my p.o.s. DLink WAP when using static DHCP, but that's another story. :^)

http://lowfat.sytes.net/~mike/hifi/nslu2.jpg


[mac@NSLU2 SlimServer_v6.0.2]$ iostat
Linux 2.4.22-xfs (NSLU2) 07/07/05

avg-cpu: %user %nice %system %iowait %idle
15.11 0.00 3.30 0.00 81.58

Device: tps Blk_read/s Blk_wrtn/s Blk_read Blk_wrtn
dev8-0 8.88 233.70 61.48 473056 124454

Cheers, mac.

Kerstin
2005-07-10, 16:20
I have already purchased a Buffalo Linkstation and downloaded the majority of my CDs to it. I thought it would be no problem to access everything on the NAS without the need of a computer. But now I am finding that all these Network Media Players require some sort of server to be running.

Does anyone have any more info on installing SlimServer on the Linkstation?

Also, when the server software is running (regardless of where) will the Squeezebox be able to see all shared directories? I see that some other players require music to be in a specific directory (which is insane, in my opinion).

Thanks for any insight anyone can give!

Kerstin

mherger
2005-07-10, 23:15
> Does anyone have any more info on installing SlimServer on the
> Linkstation?

Google does. And wiki.slimdevices.com does.

> Also, when the server software is running (regardless of where) will
> the Squeezebox be able to see all shared directories? I see that some

This is not regardless of where. If it's running on the linkstation, it
does see anything. If it's running on another machine it depends on the
exact configuration of your machine (OS, user under which the slimserver
is run etc.).

> other players require music to be in a specific directory (which is
> insane, in my opinion).

Slimserver isn't that insane. You can put links/shortcuts from one folder
to the other to have slimserver find the music anywhere.

--

Michael

-----------------------------------------------------------
Help translate SlimServer by using the
StringEditor Plugin (http://www.herger.net/slim/)

jimi
2005-07-10, 23:40
Hi mac,

Thanks for pointing me to the NSLU2 info. I ended up buying one of those devices and spent the weekend setting it up to install SlimSever. A few nervous moments and some swearing later (my lack of Linux skills didn't help) and it works perfectly!

I don't have my squeezebox yet (still in transit from the US), but I'm able to stream songs from SlimServer to my laptop (via winamp) over my 802.11g network.

They are such a cool little device. I have plans to add much more to it! I'm going to install bashpodder

http://linc.homeunix.org:8080/scripts/bashpodder/

on it tonight and set up a cron job to automatically give me fresh podcasts daily from various places.

It is essentially a mini Linux server now, so the sky is the limit.

Cheers
James

Kerstin
2005-07-11, 17:47
I think I am sold!!

Kerstin
2005-07-13, 16:25
I have updated my firmware, I have tried to upgrade to perl 5.8.5, but when I do, http cannot serve the .cgi files anymore. (get a 500 error)

Also, with updated perl, I am seeing the following when trying to start slimserver

./slimserver.pl: require: command not found
./slimserver.pl: use: command not found
./slimserver.pl: use: command not found
./slimserver.pl: package: command not found
./slimserver.pl: line 25: syntax error near unexpected token `('
./slimserver.pl: line 25: `our %Config = ('

Can anyone lend any insight?

mac
2005-07-13, 19:52
Can anyone lend any insight?Sorry to hear that you are having trouble. If you want to PM me via the diyaudio site (http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/member.php?s=&action=mailform&userid=6890) I'll try to help.

Paul Runyan
2005-07-28, 05:29
I really like the idea of using a NSLU2 to run SlimServer. From the comments in this thread it seems that it doesn't have a problem serving the audio streams, however I haven't seen anyone mention how responsive the UI is when run on the NSLU2.

Could one of you who is using the NSLU2 please tell me whether you the user interface is acceptably responsive.

Thanks a lot,

- Paul

mac
2005-07-28, 11:31
Could one of you who is using the NSLU2 please tell me whether you the user interface is acceptably responsive.Paul - IMO the UI is acceptably responsive. However, the speed is not as fast as compared to my 2.6MHz Athlon server. The only latency that I experience is when attempting to browse my rather large music folder while it's serving music. Browsing albums, artists, jumping to next track, etc., is quite responsive. Cheers, mac.

Paul Runyan
2005-07-28, 20:09
Paul - IMO the UI is acceptably responsive. However, the speed is not as fast as compared to my 2.6MHz Athlon server. The only latency that I experience is when attempting to browse my rather large music folder while it's serving music. Browsing albums, artists, jumping to next track, etc., is quite responsive. Cheers, mac.

Thanks Mac. I''ll go ahead and order one.

haberschnasel
2005-08-21, 01:58
I own a Linkstation and plan to connect a Squeezebox to it. This is what I will do:
1) Update the Linkstation with a hacked firmware: http://linkstationwiki.org/Projects/OpenLink
2) Install the LS development tools:
http://linkstationwiki.org/Projects/DevelopmentTools
3) Install Slimserver, i.e. the "Perl Source Code (tar.gz)" from http://slimdevices.com/su_downloads.html following the instructions on the lower part of the page http://fieldnetworks.com/slim/linkstation3.html
4) Install the CPAN modules for Perl that Slimserver requires: http://linkstationwiki.org/Projects/PPCSlimServerModules
5) Continue Slimserver setup and start it as described on the page http://fieldnetworks.com/slim/linkstation4.html

All this should be doable with virtually no linux knowledge. Just take care that there are two versions of the LS around, see http://linkstationwiki.org/Main/FAQ (I gave the links for the PPC version). This Wiki really is the place for all Linkstation topics, questions and solutions.

Kerstin, you do not have to bother with manually hacking the LS or installing perl because the hacked fw update includes perl 5.8.7 already (and many more small goodies, like ssh access etc.). Moreover, there are no cgi problems reported for this fw version.

pfm21
2005-10-21, 13:15
I am a bit new here, so please forgive the newbie question. Over the course of my searches on this forum for an NAS device there are many references to 'power consumption.' Clearly this is an issue if you are going to leave something on 24/7. However I have not found any quantification of power consumption.

My preferred solution, so far, is to buy a mac mini and use it as a server. The only power related info I could find on the apple site is:

<<Maximum continuous power: 85W >>

Any idea if this is what people are referring to when they talk about power consumption? If so is 85W high or low? How does it compare to some of the out of the box NAS devices?

thanks for any help.

pm

MrC
2005-10-21, 15:35
People are more and more concerned about how much electricity appliances consume, especially those that run 24x7. Watt is a standard unit of power - more precisely, an amount of energy used per unit of time.

A Wattage rating on an electrical device indicates how much power the device will consume over a period of time. The 85W maximum power rating indicates that the unit will consume at most 85 Watts of power when operating at full capacity (ie. the disks are spinning up, fans are starting, etc.). The maximum rating is important to calculate circuit loads, so that circuits are not overloaded with too much equipment. It also indicates an amount of heat generated, which is useful for calculating, for example, air conditioning requirements.

Almost no devices consume on average their maximum ratings - rather, they consume typically far less, and some devices will have nominal wattage ratings (ie - a typical load).

It is difficult to describe how much power a Watt is in non-technical jargon, so its best to describe in relative terms. Consider a 100 Watt light bulb as a relative comparison.

Many "green" devices also operate in low-power modes, where they consume much less power during non-critical periods of time. Your computer might shut down the disks, or power down USB devices and root hubs to conserve energy when the system is idle. Your system might then be consuming only 15 Watts of power.

Servers would typically not go into power savings modes, as they are generally... serving something. Their disks will be spinning 24x7, the CPU running at full power, and RAM is not put into low power mode. This can be different for home-appliance type servers, where the system can go into lower power mode at night when the demands are much less.

Help this helps a bit.

yahooadam
2007-04-07, 17:21
hey guys

my dads friend is looking at buying a TeraStation

I was wondering, is it possible to hack these like the linkstations to run slimserver, as hes also interested in a squeezebox for his network, and any features are a benefit :p

TiredLegs
2007-04-09, 10:05
I am a bit new here, so please forgive the newbie question. Over the course of my searches on this forum for an NAS device there are many references to 'power consumption.' Clearly this is an issue if you are going to leave something on 24/7. However I have not found any quantification of power consumption.

My preferred solution, so far, is to buy a mac mini and use it as a server. The only power related info I could find on the apple site is:

<<Maximum continuous power: 85W >>

Any idea if this is what people are referring to when they talk about power consumption? If so is 85W high or low? How does it compare to some of the out of the box NAS devices?

thanks for any help.

pm
Average power consumption for my Buffalo LinkStation NAS is 21 watts, according to the manual. A 3GHz Pentium 4 processor alone consumes over 80 watts. That's just the processor chip, so there's no way a PC will come close to as low power as an NAS, unless the whole computer is put into a standby mode (a state in which it won't function as a server).