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Mike Sulphur
2005-08-15, 19:51
Just setting up my server machine and hoping to order my Squeezebox 2 in the
next 2 months. I haven't seen this question answered on the forums (smaller
track sizes, multiple squeezeboxes etc) in a way that really helps me.

I am intending on using the following hardware:
Celeron 500mhz
192mb RAM
40gb HD
(2x250gb HD on IDE controller)
using 802.11g on the router (WEP encryption etc handled by the router)
for a music library of about 35,000-45,000 songs in mp3 (a lot of live
bootlegs, demo's , and copies of promo CD's i received while working for a
magazine)
Intending on using only 1 Squeezebox 2 and no other access to this computer
(no SoftSqueeze/Itunes/Winamp etc). Only intending on using the web
interface for configuration and some extensive playlists, but doesnt need to
'play' at the same time.
Firstly, would you recommend I use Windows XP Pro or Linux (most likely
stripped down Fedora Core / Redhat), I assume that a stripped down linux
install will free up a lot more RAM to the machine.
Would this system be capable of supporting the music library of that size,
I dont mind having each scan that I would run every week taking over an hour
or so, but I would at least like it to play responsively. The system would
not be running any other applications, and non essential services would be
removed.
I have read that searching / using the web-browser becomes difficult at
this configuration, and also playing music while searching/browsing the
collection. I guess I would like a real life example of what this would be
capable of, I dont mind waiting 5 seconds for a search result, but I'd like
the folder/file browsing to be responsive, as im intending on relying mainly
on my own tree structure rather than the tags. If this machine is not gutsy
enough for my purposes, I'd probably need to wait around 6 months to
purchase a new machine, to justify my current main machine becoming a music
server (Athlon XP 2000+, 512mb RAM, etc).
Thanks for any advice possible, this appears to be the only device that can
do a well kept collection justice.

Jess Askey
2005-08-15, 20:05
I would suggest looking on pricewatch for a better barebones system or
Ebay for a used system with a little more oomph. I have a very similar
system...

PIII 366 OC'ed to 550Mhz
384M RAM
320gb HD
Mandrake Linux 9.1

I have about 12,000 songs in mostly MP3 (bootlegs as well mostly) with
clean tags. It takes about an hour to scan my songs which defintely
isn't bad once it is done the first time since I have it automatically
rescan at 3:00AM, nightly. However, that first scan is a bear if I have
to fix something screwy or my DB gets corrupt (probabably only once a
month).

Also, the menus are quite slow at that speed sometimes especially when I
load up a 'Phish' playlist with 6,000 songs or something like that.

Im not sure what the SB2 is doing sometimes but I often get long silent
pauses in the SB2 playback and if I go look at my Linux box, the CPU is
pegged at 99% for 5 minutes while I wait for the music to come back.

Im not complaining about the SB2, it works wonderfully considering the
slow server I have forced upon it. So, IMHO, I would definitely suggest
a faster system.

Hope that helps a little.

Im watching ebay now and looking for something in the 1.5-2.0GHz range
with 512 RAM and am expecting to pay about 150 without shipping.

jess


Mike Sulphur wrote:

> Just setting up my server machine and hoping to order my Squeezebox 2
> in the next 2 months. I haven't seen this question answered on the
> forums (smaller track sizes, multiple squeezeboxes etc) in a way that
> really helps me.
>
> I am intending on using the following hardware:
> Celeron 500mhz
> 192mb RAM
> 40gb HD
> (2x250gb HD on IDE controller)
>
> using 802.11g on the router (WEP encryption etc handled by the router)
>
> for a music library of about 35,000-45,000 songs in mp3 (a lot of live
> bootlegs, demo's , and copies of promo CD's i received while working
> for a magazine)
>
> Intending on using only 1 Squeezebox 2 and no other access to this
> computer (no SoftSqueeze/Itunes/Winamp etc). Only intending on using
> the web interface for configuration and some extensive playlists, but
> doesnt need to 'play' at the same time.
>
> Firstly, would you recommend I use Windows XP Pro or Linux (most
> likely stripped down Fedora Core / Redhat), I assume that a stripped
> down linux install will free up a lot more RAM to the machine.
>
> Would this system be capable of supporting the music library of that
> size, I dont mind having each scan that I would run every week taking
> over an hour or so, but I would at least like it to play responsively.
> The system would not be running any other applications, and non
> essential services would be removed.
>
> I have read that searching / using the web-browser becomes difficult
> at this configuration, and also playing music while searching/browsing
> the collection. I guess I would like a real life example of what this
> would be capable of, I dont mind waiting 5 seconds for a search
> result, but I'd like the folder/file browsing to be responsive, as im
> intending on relying mainly on my own tree structure rather than the
> tags. If this machine is not gutsy enough for my purposes, I'd
> probably need to wait around 6 months to purchase a new machine, to
> justify my current main machine becoming a music server (Athlon XP
> 2000+, 512mb RAM, etc).
>
> Thanks for any advice possible, this appears to be the only device
> that can do a well kept collection justice.
>
>------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>

pfarrell
2005-08-15, 20:45
On Mon, 2005-08-15 at 21:05 -0600, Jess Askey wrote:
> I would suggest looking on pricewatch for a better barebones system or
> Ebay for a used system with a little more oomph. I have a very similar
> system...
>
> PIII 366 OC'ed to 550Mhz
> 384M RAM
> 320gb HD
> Mandrake Linux 9.1

I ran for over a year one a PIII-500. It was OK with my 600 Albums,
10000 songs. But it did not have a lot of spare systems. I had 384M ram,
Some linux, I think it was an 9.1 Mandrake.

The OP system probably has enough CPU power, but it needs a lot more
memory. The good news is that memory for that old of a system is dirt
cheap. You can probably get another 256MB of PC100 or whatever it uses
for low or zero money.


--
Pat
http://www.pfarrell.com/music/slimserver/slimsoftware.html

SulphurSouls
2005-08-15, 21:01
Yes I used to have a lot of this memory spare, these days I can only find a few shops that still stock it, and they want more than the price for DDR-3200... might have to check ebay then and beef up the machine. What did you mean by 'it was OK'?

Reading the FAQ it states a need for 128mb of RAM, and 32mb extra per 15,000 tracks... so I'd assume i'd have close to enough anyway?

pfarrell
2005-08-15, 21:23
On Mon, 2005-08-15 at 21:01 -0700, SulphurSouls wrote:
> Yes I used to have a lot of this memory spare, these days I can only
> find a few shops that still stock it, and they want more than the price
> for DDR-3200... might have to check ebay then and beef up the machine.
> What did you mean by 'it was OK'?

It was OK in that it worked fine. Was not snappy. And when it did a
scan, it was unacceptably slow, but that was only periodic,
When I bought my third SqueezeBox, I replaced it with a whitebox,
AMD 2800+ with a gig. It is a lot nicer and only cost about $300 new.

I always believe that more memory is good.

--
Pat
http://www.pfarrell.com/music/slimserver/slimsoftware.html

SulphurSouls
2005-08-15, 21:32
Did your previous system use one Squeezebox or two? did you use the web interface much or only the remote? Did the machine do anything else at the same time?

SulphurSouls
2005-08-16, 00:06
I was unable to find any SDRAM for a price I was willing to pay, and realised I'd need a PCI ATA controller to support large drives on this old system (can't find a BIOS update anywhere), so I've managed to find a friend who wants it as a cheap webserver and am instead buying:

INTEL CELERON 2.53GHZ 533FSB 256K-L2 CACHE,SKT478
G'BYTE SKT478 800FSB DDR400 VGA/LAN/SND/SATA/USB2
KINGMAX 512MB PC3200 DDR RAM
CODEGEN BLACK MINI TOWER 350W F-I/O
WD 250GB 7200rpm 8Mb Cache SATA

With the view of doubling the RAM & HD at a later date. Should be a pretty solid system for running nothing but Slimserver and initially 15,000-20,000 mp3s or so?

danco
2005-08-16, 00:30
I quite often find my Squeezebox has lost the connection after my
computer wakes from sleep. I am almost sure of the cause of this,
there is a known problem with the latest revision of the software for
an Airport Extreme Base Station.

However, I've also noticed, using the latest software available on
the main page, that the Squeeebox responding differently when this
happens to what happened previously. It always used to make two tries
to connect (using two different methods). Now it tries only once,
counting down to zero and then saying "lost connection with network.
Try again?" That seems to be a step backwards.
--
Daniel Cohen

cliveb
2005-08-16, 02:37
For what it's worth, here are my experiences.

Most people seem to be thinking about running either Windows XP/2000 or Linux. It seems to me that the lightest footprint of them all is FreeBSD. I'm running Slimserver on a low-powered FreeBSD system:
500MHz AMD K6/2 CPU
196MB PC66 SDRAM
400GB Seagate Barracuda drive.

This is dedicated purely to Slimserver. RAM doesn't seem to be a problem. Of the 196MB on the system, only about 50MB is actually in use.

My music library is exclusively FLAC, currently about 10,000 songs. I'm using just one SB2, wired on a 100Mbs LAN. Performance of the web interface is OK but not "snappy". Using the SB2 via the remote is pretty good. Bringing up "Browse Artists" takes about 1 or 2 seconds.

Before building this FreeBSD system, I initially ran Slimserver on the household Win2000 server (a 533MHz mini-ITX box with 256MB PC133 SDRAM). It was definitely much less responsive, but still not that bad. And considering the server was also running email/printers/web server/Oracle database, I think it shows that Slimserver doesn't need lots of horsepower.

SulphurSouls
2005-08-16, 04:44
I find that I have enough trouble working with Linux somedays, dont know if FREEBSD would just add even more complexity to it, I dont have the time to research and play around with things like I used to. On the Windows 2000 server, did you have any issues with songs cutting out etc?

Thanks for all the replies, I think with my collection definatelly growing, i'll need to think of a more serious machine.

bernt
2005-08-16, 05:10
You should try Trustix. It's a Linux server only dist that is very easy to install and setup. It use RPM so I guess Slimserver is easy to install on it.

I'm trying out Slimserver on a Windows box right now but I will soon go back to Trustix.

Ups, forgot the link. http://www.trustix.org

elo
2005-08-16, 09:05
My 2Ghz linux Server with 256mb is generally stable for playing and searching my 10k songs (FLAC), but since I use this server to also rip/encode, plus shorewall and msec running, memory is sucked down fast. Plus add VNC to use GRIP.... needless to say, it runs outta memory. But, it's still more stable then my old XP-server. I was tring to go super-budget, but it didn't workout.Gonna have to spring for more memory. I'm upgrading today to atleast 512mb, maybe 1gb (depending on whats on sale.). I agree more memory is better.




INTEL CELERON 2.53GHZ 533FSB 256K-L2 CACHE,SKT478
G'BYTE SKT478 800FSB DDR400 VGA/LAN/SND/SATA/USB2
KINGMAX 512MB PC3200 DDR RAM
CODEGEN BLACK MINI TOWER 350W F-I/O
WD 250GB 7200rpm 8Mb Cache SATA

Jess Askey
2005-08-16, 11:09
Even tho Im running Mandrake 9.1 currently, I will definitely agree with
clive in that FreeBSD is a pretty light OS and if you rebuild the kernel
to minimize it to exactly what you need, it can be extremely light and
fast (I run FreeBSD as my firewall,VPN,web proxy box on a 200Mhz system
just fine belive it or not). I will probably switch to FreeBSD once I
upgrade my Linux box. My Mandrake Linux server runs Slimserver,
PostgreSQL and BIND9 so those 3 together hinder it quite a bit,
especially during rescans.

jess

cliveb wrote:

>For what it's worth, here are my experiences.
>
>Most people seem to be thinking about running either Windows XP/2000 or
>Linux. It seems to me that the lightest footprint of them all is
>FreeBSD. I'm running Slimserver on a low-powered FreeBSD system:
>500MHz AMD K6/2 CPU
>196MB PC66 SDRAM
>400GB Seagate Barracuda drive.
>
>This is dedicated purely to Slimserver. RAM doesn't seem to be a
>problem. Of the 196MB on the system, only about 50MB is actually in
>use.
>
>My music library is exclusively FLAC, currently about 10,000 songs. I'm
>using just one SB2, wired on a 100Mbs LAN. Performance of the web
>interface is OK but not "snappy". Using the SB2 via the remote is
>pretty good. Bringing up "Browse Artists" takes about 1 or 2 seconds.
>
>Before building this FreeBSD system, I initially ran Slimserver on the
>household Win2000 server (a 533MHz mini-ITX box with 256MB PC133
>SDRAM). It was definitely much less responsive, but still not that bad.
>And considering the server was also running email/printers/web
>server/Oracle database, I think it shows that Slimserver doesn't need
>lots of horsepower.
>
>
>
>

Jess Askey
2005-08-16, 11:13
FreeBSD is simpler than Linux IMHO. The ports collection is very nice in
comparison to packages. Also for both OS's, when you get frustrated,
don't ever forget about Webmin (www.webmin.org)... hehe... I suppose I
should write a webmin 'module' for Slimserver. ;-)


SulphurSouls wrote:

>I find that I have enough trouble working with Linux somedays, dont know
>if FREEBSD would just add even more complexity to it, I dont have the
>time to research and play around with things like I used to. On the
>Windows 2000 server, did you have any issues with songs cutting out
>etc?
>
>Thanks for all the replies, I think with my collection definatelly
>growing, i'll need to think of a more serious machine.
>
>
>
>

cliveb
2005-08-16, 11:28
I find that I have enough trouble working with Linux somedays, dont know if FREEBSD would just add even more complexity to it, I dont have the time to research and play around with things like I used to. On the Windows 2000 server, did you have any issues with songs cutting out etc?
As others have pointed out, FreeBSD seems simpler than Linux. 15 years back I worked on System V Unix a lot, but over the last several years I've been working exclusively on Windows, and looking at the *nix options FreeBSD seemed much less daunting than Linux. The minimal installation just worked out of the box, and the ports collection is very nicely set up - no problems at all. But if you're already comfortable with Linux then I guess it makes sense to stick with that.

As for running Slimserver on Win2000, I never had any cut outs. (Well, once I was alarmed by some very bad break-up, then remembered that I was also writing a DVD at 4x over the network from the same hard drive on the server at the same time!). The only problem I ever had was in the early days playing Ogg Vorbis - by default it gets transcoded to FLAC, which caused huge latency getting any song started. I switched it over to just decode to WAV and it was fine. But since then I've switched over to native FLAC anyway.

SulphurSouls
2005-08-16, 16:43
Thanks for all the advice guys!

I've decided to get the higher specs I suggested, as im having trouble finding SDRAM at a price im willing to pay for it, and having to get a seperate controller card for it as there is no BIOS update to support large discs. Its also a system that has no real upgrade path, so I might as well invest in something more robust and have a dedicated music host. I'm also planning on using VNC for that machine, but probably not much as the webinterface of Slimserver will take care of most things.

Trustix looks interesting, but I have no need for any of the security features it really offers, I was planning to go with BLAG: http://www.blagblagblag.org/; but due to the capabilities of the new system will probably just use a full linux suite and customise it as I go.

Might look into FREEBSD afterall down the track, im planning on keeping the music drives and OS drive seperate (spare 40gig drive), might even multi-boot and try a few different combinations.

As for Webmin, its a gem.. i've found things there that I could never find in the rest of the OS :)

pfarrell
2005-08-16, 16:59
On Tue, 2005-08-16 at 16:43 -0700, SulphurSouls wrote:
> music host. I'm also planning on using VNC for that machine, but
> probably not much as the webinterface of Slimserver will take care of
> most things.

My server with the SS is in my basement.
I never touch it, or at least hardly ever.
19:57:47 up 58 days, 7:03, 2 users, load average: 0.06, 0.10, 0.09

I don't bother to use VNC or even X, as it runs quietly
by itself. I rip/compress using an upstairs machine,
and simply copy the files down as needed.

It runs SS and samba and sshd and next to nothing else

Pat

--
Pat
http://www.pfarrell.com/music/slimserver/slimsoftware.html