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View Full Version : Some quick observations and questions about SlimServer on a NSLU2



gharris999
2005-08-01, 16:10
Well, I got my SlimSlug running today, in large part due to Dave Edwards excellent fleshed-out install instructions: http://www.geocities.com/daveyed123/nslu2-howto-2005-07-31.txt

So far, I’ve been able to stream from the SlimSlug to my wired SqueezeBox2:

1). MP3s
2). Internet radio (radioio:classical)
3). Whole-album flacs

All in all, a pretty amazing experience, especially given that SlimServer (today’s 6.1.x build) is running on what I think of as basically a souped up pocket calculator. (PCB about the size of may palm.) I’m completely in awe of the folks at http://www.nslu2-linux.org/wiki/Main/HomePage who have torn this device apart to turn it into a general purpose machine.

Some observations:

SlimServer on the Slug is not exactly speedy. Once I get my 15k+ files copied to the Slug’s usb drive, I expect it will take SlimServer the better part of a day to scan the library and build the db. I’ll be very interested to see how browsing the library via the web interface ends up feeling. So far, with the limited test library on the disk, the web interface seems just fine, if a tad slow.

If I browse the web interface while the SlimSlug is streaming a whole-album flac, I get lots of audio drop-outs / breakup. If I’m not using the web interface, whole-album flacs stream just fine, for the most part. I have noticed some gaps / drop-outs at track boundaries (e.g. classical music where tracks indicate sub-sections of continuous movement works.)

With the “show buffer fullness” option on the SB2’s display, the buffer slooooooowly builds to 98-99% over the course of a couple of minutes. With my regular PC-SlimServer rig, the buffer gets filled to 100% immediately.

Anyone have an idea what the limiting factor is here? Because I use whole-album flacs, SlimServer has to execute 2 flac sub-processes to stream the tracks. Is the Slug’s cpu just not up to doing that much work? Are the flac processes suffering from the Slug’s limited memory? Are they choking on the 200-300mb files?

Anyway, the Slug seems perfectly up to the task of SlimServer-ing an MP3 collection. All-in-all, the experience seems well worth the $80 for the NSLU2 and the couple of day’s tinkering-time that I have invested.

jimi
2005-08-01, 17:51
Hi,

I too have recently got Slimserver running on a NSLU2, and have had basically the same experience as you. Everything works fine, but can be a little slow. I think the lack of RAM on the device is probably one of the limiting factors. If I run the free command on my device, I see that my main memory of 32Mb is completely used up (save about 500kb), and I am basically using virtual memory most of the time. That would help explain the slowness of the web page I guess. Also the processor speed is probably pretty slow.

I have ripped my songs as individual flac files, but also notice the drop-outs when browsing, although the 6.1.1 release has helped enormously with that.

One thing I noticed is that the dropouts seem to be caused by the constant automatic refresh of the "status" page (right panel) in the default web skin. I usually control my SB2 via an IPAQ (or the standard remote) and the handheld skin does not have that pane. I have noticed that I never have dropouts using the handheld skin, so I assume the problem is related to the constant refreshing putting too much load on the NSLU2.

So to get around it you could either:
1. Use the handheld skin to control the SB2 on any browser
2. Change the refresh of the status page to a much less frequent value (I think you may have to hack the HTML itself, but don't quote me on that!)
3. Use another skin that doesn't have the auto refeshed status page (if there is one?)

Hope that helps

James

mac
2005-08-01, 17:59
Well, I got my SlimSlug running today, in large part due to Dave Edwards excellent fleshed-out install instructions: http://www.geocities.com/daveyed123/nslu2-howto-2005-07-31.txtCongratulations. Guess I was lucky as I had zero problems with my install by following the FAQ (http://www.nslu2-linux.org/wiki/HowTo/InstallSlimServer) verbatim.


SlimServer on the Slug is not exactly speedy.Have you clocked it? Expect nearly a 50% increase in speed.


Anyway, the Slug seems perfectly up to the task of SlimServer-ing an MP3 collection.I'm streaming loseless FLAC at an unlimited bit rates and have no problems with drop-outs. All of my music has been ripped per-track. I'm able to concurrently listen to music, copy large files to and from it and use the web interface. I did have some drop out problems prior to getting my static DHCP to work properly but that wasn't the fault of the slug.

Cheers, mac.

jimi
2005-08-01, 18:12
mac,

Have you overclocked your NSLU2? Were there any heat problems? Sounds like it would be a good idea. Did you overclock as suggested here http://www.nslu2-linux.org/wiki/HowTo/OverClockTheSlug . It doesn't look too hard, but I find messing with circuit boards like that a little scary!

Cheers
James

mac
2005-08-01, 18:43
mac,

Have you overclocked your NSLU2? Were there any heat problems? Sounds like it would be a good idea. Did you overclock as suggested here http://www.nslu2-linux.org/wiki/HowTo/OverClockTheSlug . It doesn't look too hard, but I find messing with circuit boards like that a little scary!

Cheers
JamesJames - Yes, I followed those instructions word for word. :)

My slug has been running 24/7 for the last few weeks with the one resistor removed and I haven't had any problems with it. PM me if you don't want to do the mod yourself. Maybe I can help.

Cheers, mac.

gharris999
2005-08-01, 20:34
Congratulations. Guess I was lucky as I had zero problems with my install by following the FAQ (http://www.nslu2-linux.org/wiki/HowTo/InstallSlimServer) verbatim.
Well, that wasn't my experience. I needed the "for dummies" version.


Have you clocked it? Expect nearly a 50% increase in speed.
Uhhh...what's "solderwick" and can I get some at HomeDepot?

mac
2005-08-01, 21:16
Uhhh...what's "solderwick" and can I get some at HomeDepot?You can buy it at Radio Shack. However, I don't recommend you use it. The easiest way to remove the resistor is to use an exacto knife. While heating one end of the resistor, place the exacto blade under the resistor and gently pry up one end. I recommend you use a small (SMD) soldering tip on your iron.