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Paul Runyan
2005-07-25, 06:24
I've had my SqueezeBox for only a few weeks and am currently running SlimServer on a laptop. I plan to buy a dedicated server to run the SlimServer.

My goal is to find or put together a box that is quiet and doesn't produce a lot of heat. I expect to use EAC on my laptop to do the ripping so it doesn't need to have any more grunt than is required to run SlimServer. I'm planning on having the server hidden away and accessing it remotely via something like VNC.

My plan at the moment is to get a Mac mini and an external USB or Firewire drive. I haven't any experience with Mac OS X but thought I'd give this a go first, if it proves unsuited I would switch it over to Linux.

I expect that it would be possible to put together a X86 box that would be competitive in price and specs if one had a good knowledge of what hardware is available but I don't. The few prebuilt compact and quite X86 boxes that I have come across seem wildly overpriced in comparison to the Mac mini. I'd be very interested to hear suggestions on alternative hardware.

Josef Shvejk
2005-07-25, 07:27
I am very interested in the subject as well. Here are the non-PC
solutions which I was able to locate:

http://fieldnetworks.com/slim/linkstation.html
http://www.nslu2-linux.org/wiki/HowTo/InstallSlimServer
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/accessories/readynas600.shtml

The Mac Mini solution has some downsides, but the obvious advantage is
flexibility. If you plan to use various plugins and server side WMA
decoding, then it is a better way to go then the non-PC options above.

Any other options/opinions please?

Thanks,

MrC
2005-07-25, 10:58
What's your price point?

Milhouse
2005-07-25, 11:31
For a cool and quiet x86 PC running Linux, I'd recommend mini-itx (here (http://www.itx-warehouse.co.uk) and here (http://www.mini-itx.com/store/default.asp?c=2) in the UK) using VIA EPIA CPUs.

Pentium M based motherboards are also available and would be more appropriate if you ever wanted to install Windows - these are also cool and quiet, but also considerably more expensive than VIA and if you only intend on running SlimServer then a Pentium M is probably OTT, the VIA EPIA CPUs should provide ample horsepower for the task.

radish
2005-07-25, 11:43
If you're not worried about size, it's pretty easy to build virtually silent rigs with regular desktop components (provided you avoid Pentium 4!). I have a couple of Athlon based machines which are inaudible unless you put your ear right next to them.

Tips:

Fanless motherboard
Fanless video card
Quiet PSU (check silentpcreview.com)
Zalman CPU cooler
Fan speed controllers
Panaflo/Nexus case fans (120mm are the best if possible)

mherger
2005-07-25, 12:37
> For a cool and quiet x86 PC running Linux, I'd recommend mini-itx
> ('here' (http://www.itx-warehouse.co.uk) and 'here'
> (http://www.mini-itx.com/store/) in the UK) using VIA EPIA CPUs.

I recently built myself a ITX based "slimserver appliance" for my own use.
Not cheap, not ready for that huge FLAC collection (due to 2.5HD), but
much fun. I described it in the following posting:

http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?p=43590#post43590

As I'm still tinkering a lot I don't really have great uptimes to report,
yet. But I've finished a first 24/7 cycle :-).

--

Michael

-----------------------------------------------------------
Help translate SlimServer by using the
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Marshall Clow
2005-07-25, 12:49
>>For a cool and quiet x86 PC running Linux, I'd recommend mini-itx
>>('here' (http://www.itx-warehouse.co.uk) and 'here'
>>(http://www.mini-itx.com/store/) in the UK) using VIA EPIA CPUs.
>
>I recently built myself a ITX based "slimserver appliance" for my
>own use. Not cheap, not ready for that huge FLAC collection (due to
>2.5HD), but much fun. I described it in the following posting:
>
>http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?p=43590#post43590
>
>As I'm still tinkering a lot I don't really have great uptimes to
>report, yet. But I've finished a first 24/7 cycle :-).

I almost did the same thing, but I just bought a mac mini instead.
Out of curiosity, how much did your server end up costing you to put together?
--
-- Marshall

Marshall Clow Idio Software <mailto:marshall (AT) idio (DOT) com>

It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.
It is by the beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed,
the hands acquire shaking, the shaking becomes a warning.
It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.

mherger
2005-07-25, 13:08
>> I recently built myself a ITX based "slimserver appliance" for my own
>> use. Not cheap, not ready for that huge FLAC collection (due to 2.5HD),
>> but much fun. I described it in the following posting:
>
> I almost did the same thing, but I just bought a mac mini instead.
> Out of curiosity, how much did your server end up costing you to put
> together?

I don't have the exact number, but it's about 450USD And keep in mind...
I'm living and buying in Switzerland :-/. Prices for the Mac Mini starts
at 540USD over here.

--

Michael

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RiccardoR
2005-07-25, 14:00
I'm using an HP e-PC 40 (Pentium III, 256Mb, HD 120Gb) external power supply fanless and a quite inudible fan on the CPU. You can find this on e-Bay for a price between 100 and 150 Euro (in Europe, in USA perhaps less too). The standard HD's with these PC is generally about 20Gb; it's very simple to change with the desidered capacity.
Is not so little as MAC mini but if You want You can hide werever you want.
Ciao, Riccardo

Robin Bowes
2005-07-26, 02:10
Michael Herger wrote:
> I recently built myself a ITX based "slimserver appliance" for my own
> use. Not cheap, not ready for that huge FLAC collection (due to 2.5HD),

In my experience, it's the storage that causes the bulk of the problems.

For example, I have a large flac collection and am currently using a
6x250GB RAID5 array (Linux software RAID), configured with a hot-spare,
giving me around 1TB (actually, around 960GB).

When I first built this, I found I needed to upgrade my PSU to cope with
the additional load. This, together with the noise from 6 x 250GB discs
is fairly substantial and unavoidable.

IMHO, the "best" solution is to locate the computer running slimserver
well away from your listening environment so noise is not an issue, and
size is less of a problem. It's cheaper too as you don't have to have
the server on display so looks are not an issue and you can use any old
frankenstein machine!

R.

mherger
2005-07-26, 02:19
> IMHO, the "best" solution is to locate the computer running slimserver
> well away from your listening environment so noise is not an issue, and
> size is less of a problem. It's cheaper too as you don't have to have
> the server on display so looks are not an issue and you can use any old
> frankenstein machine!

Best solution, maybe, but not cheaper: I can't move to another appartment
just because of lack of a "server room" :-)

--

Michael

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Robin Bowes
2005-07-26, 02:26
Michael Herger wrote:
>> IMHO, the "best" solution is to locate the computer running
>> slimserver well away from your listening environment so noise is not
>> an issue, and size is less of a problem. It's cheaper too as you
>> don't have to have the server on display so looks are not an issue
>> and you can use any old frankenstein machine!
>
>
> Best solution, maybe, but not cheaper: I can't move to another
> appartment just because of lack of a "server room" :-)

What, is there *nowhere* in your appartment where you could store a
small server?

R.

mherger
2005-07-26, 02:43
> What, is there *nowhere* in your appartment where you could store a
> small server?

Of course there is (I have two small machines up 24/7)! The problem is the
"well away from your listening environment" you mentioned... There's no
place in this appartment wher I would _not_ here eg. my desktop computer.
That's why noise was more an issue for me than performance or redundancy
through raid.

--

Michael

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

radish
2005-07-26, 07:03
A 6 disc RAID is never likely to be quiet (!), but smaller requirements can be done quietly. I'd recommend the Seagate Barracudas - my main desktop has 3 of them, and is virtually silent, my new slimserver box has a couple and is pretty damn quiet (still working on it!).

mherger - I feel your pain (having come from a small apartment recently), but it is certainly possible (actually quite easy) to build a full size/full spec PC which is inaudible from more than a few feet away. If you're willing to go the extra mile, you can get that down to a few inches.

fathom39
2005-07-26, 07:39
I'm using an HP e-PC 40 (Pentium III, 256Mb, HD 120Gb) external power supply fanless and a quite inudible fan on the CPU. ... The standard HD's with these PC is generally about 20Gb; it's very simple to change with the desidered capacity.
Ciao, Riccardo

Interesting. Thanks. One of the reviews I saw for this PC mentioned the case was locked down - no access to the internals. Have you changed out the HD on yours? How did you do it? What size?

dSw
2005-07-26, 10:08
In my experience, it's the storage that causes the bulk of the problems.

For example, I have a large flac collection and am currently using a
6x250GB RAID5 array (Linux software RAID), configured with a hot-spare,
giving me around 1TB (actually, around 960GB).

When I first built this, I found I needed to upgrade my PSU to cope with
the additional load. This, together with the noise from 6 x 250GB discs
is fairly substantial and unavoidable.

IMHO, the "best" solution is to locate the computer running slimserver
well away from your listening environment so noise is not an issue, and
size is less of a problem. It's cheaper too as you don't have to have
the server on display so looks are not an issue and you can use any old
frankenstein machine!

R.

I think the key thing here is the location of the storage. Large amounts of storage can be bulky and noisy - so yeah, hide it away somewhere if possible, however this doesn't necessarily mean that the server PC itself needs to be hidden away.

For me, the server PC will also be used for occasional internet browsing (via the TV), so it needs to be nice to look at, slient and sited near the TV. The server will access my music files (stored on several NAS devices) over a wireless link.

For those who don't need the server PC for anything else - just hide it in a cupboard if you can!

willem
2005-07-26, 21:09
Hi,
My two cents of quiet disks:

To get my 24/7 server more quiet I did the opposite what most do: I slowed
down my disks.
I downloaded the Feature Tool from
http://www.hitachigst.com/hdd/support/download.htm
Although it comes from Hitachi it works fine for most disk brands.

I set my 7200RPM disks to 5400RPM and selected the most 'quiet' options.
It is used as Home slimserver and file server.
Speed is not the problem as most PC's are connected wireless in my case.
Foto editting is done from a wired PC on fileserver, I don't feel this is
slow.

I assume this also has a positive effect on the lifespan of the disks.

Willem

Paul Runyan
2005-07-27, 06:09
Thanks for all the very useful suggestions. I had thought that the Mac mini would be a nice lightweight solution for a lightweight problem but now even that seems like using a chainsaw to cut butter.

I hadn't come across the NSLU2 before or the posting in a previous thread about before Josef's post. The idea of it really appeals to me. From reports it has no problem serving audio to one or two SB2s, but I would guess that driving the web UI is were any speed problems would really be noticable. I haven't heard anyone mention how responsive the web UI running SlimServer on the NSLU2. It would be interesting to find out.

- Paul

RiccardoR
2005-07-27, 10:11
Interesting. Thanks. One of the reviews I saw for this PC mentioned the case was locked down - no access to the internals. Have you changed out the HD on yours? How did you do it? What size?

No, no, no, it's wrong. This PC is one of the best accessible that I ever seen. Open it with your hands, no tools required; there is a sleigh that you can insert with the HD and the engineering of all the parts is perfect (is made by HP is not a clone!). By other hand the space is enough only for one HD and so forget to assemble a multi HD raid solution.
Another solution can be the Compaq iPaq PC: a quite similar PC, small as the HP e-pc but with integrated power supply (I don't ever hear how much noise it produces).
I suggest this PC also for another use: running Skype.
Ciao, Riccardo