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danm
2007-08-06, 19:23
Just curious. I took a spare, four year old Shuttle computer laying around. 1.6GHz processor, 2 gigs ram, with two 160GB disks. Nothing special, but this is the old Zen line which is very quiet (external brick power supply).

Anyhow it's got windows on it, I installed SS and my music and it's running flawlessly. No configuration, no wasted time. It also has a CD reader and EAC so it's the complete solution, and dedicated to serving, ripping, and holding my music.

The beautiful twist is that I have it suspend after an hour of no use. If it's down when I try to listen a WOL packet wakes it right up. If it's turned off it's the same, and up and running in less than a minute.

It's low power, quiet, powerful, cheap, upgradable, and easy. Why mess with any of the boutique NAS solutions?

haunyack
2007-08-06, 19:30
Just curious. I took a spare, four year old Shuttle computer laying around. 1.6GHz processor, 2 gigs ram, with two 160GB disks. Nothing special, but this is the old Zen line which is very quiet (external brick power supply).

Anyhow it's got windows on it, I installed SS and my music and it's running flawlessly. No configuration, no wasted time. It also has a CD reader and EAC so it's the complete solution, and dedicated to serving, ripping, and holding my music.

The beautiful twist is that I have it suspend after an hour of no use. If it's down when I try to listen a WOL packet wakes it right up. If it's turned off it's the same, and up and running in less than a minute.

It's low power, quiet, powerful, cheap, upgradable, and easy. Why mess with any of the boutique NAS solutions?


Laziness + money = convenient solution.

.

danm
2007-08-06, 19:39
That's it - in the end it costs about the same to do a box (any toaster computer), and it's far easier = lazy. So why bother getting the specialized stuff?

Maybe it's been a walk in the park, but I see lots of postings trying to get SS to work on these things.

Hint - I think the answer is that it's because it's the cool solution, though unnecessary.

haunyack
2007-08-06, 19:56
That's it - in the end it costs about the same to do a box (any toaster computer), and it's far easier = lazy. So why bother getting the specialized stuff?

Maybe it's been a walk in the park, but I see lots of postings trying to get SS to work on these things.

Hint - I think the answer is that it's because it's the cool solution, though unnecessary.

And, not necessarily problem solved.
As you say..."trying to get SS to work on these things" could be a project in itself.
If you have a "known" solution... (workstation,laptop,etc) why add a monkey wrench into the works with an NAS?
Unless of course (as we know people do like to tinker) you love the challenge of the unknown (new stuff).

.

mflint
2007-08-07, 01:07
Just curious. I took a spare, four year old Shuttle computer laying around. 1.6GHz processor, 2 gigs ram, with two 160GB disks.

It's low power, quiet, powerful, cheap, upgradable, and easy.
Cheap, upgradeable and easy - yes.

Low power and quiet? Well that depends what you're comparing it to... ;-)

danm
2007-08-07, 06:00
I suppose. Sure the NSLU2 is a few dB quieter, but this sits in a corner so no big. Power wise it's surely a wash, this is off most of the time as we only get to listen to music in the evenings.

A few dB and a few cents difference ... :)

Mark Lanctot
2007-08-07, 07:16
Well, I'm glad someone said it.

A NAS is not a PC. It is a specialized, single-purpose, stripped-down device. The manufacturers do not want end users installing software on it and will put significant barriers to stop this. The devices are usually supplied with the barest minimum of resources to do the job passably - add to it and it'll quickly run out.

An argument that frequently comes up is "I don't want my computer on 24/7, it wastes power." People see the power supplies in PCs, 500W + these days, and assume the PC uses 100% of this power 24/7. This is not the case. Sure, there have been some power-hungry architectures in the past (NetBurst - i.e. Pentium 4 and the worst of all, Prescott) but processors older than that (Pentium III) or newer (Core) are much more power-efficient. With some smart thinking (i.e. don't install two high-end graphics cards in SLI, don't even use a monitor at all) I bet power consumption of a dedicated PC would rival that of a NAS.

shermoid
2007-08-07, 07:32
there are other reasons people want to put slimserver on NAS devices. i have had a readynas 600 running slimserver for over 2 years now. despite some troubles i had upgrading to SS 6.5.1 (needed to write a perl script to rearrange many thousands of tracks into the way the software wanted them), the setup has distinct advantages:

1. i volunteer at a local radio station, playing space music at nights. i can literally unplug 2 cables (power and ethernet), and bring all the music with me, in one box. no PC necessary!

2. i can have only one device turned on (the readynas), and hear music all day long. i do not need to turn on the readynas AND a pc, when the readynas can run pre-compiled SS versions itself. so, that's less power, and a couple fewer fans to create white noise in the background. the readynas itself is pretty quiet.

3. although this next bit has disadvantages as well, i do not need to muck around with slimserver on my pc. that also means i can't take advantage of SS's open source nature. however, once installed and running, i do not have to deal with any slimserver issues until i upgrade. due to the huge amount of trouble i had last time, i probably will not upgrade again. the 6.5.1 SS version has more features than i'll ever need. all it has to do is play music, and i'm happy.

so, there ya have it! the use of a NAS device has alot to do with your intended use of music. if you need it to be portable (like i do), having a self-contained music box is great. and, since i use flac files exclusively, an "ipod" type of solution (i.e., ripped to mp3 format) would just never work. for my needs, the music has to be broadcast quality.

-sherm

bonze
2007-08-07, 08:05
Well in my case:
- I didn't have a spare computer lying around, I have bits, but not a whole PC.
- if I had, I wouldn't know how to install and setup Linux
- I wouldn't know how to set it up as a standalone server.
- I don't have the space in my office, the NAS sits on a shelf in the corner, next to the router.

I can buy a NAS with SS pre-installed, copy music to it and plug it in the back off a wireless router, simple.
Horses for courses and all that.....

erland
2007-08-07, 08:16
An argument that frequently comes up is "I don't want my computer on 24/7, it wastes power." People see the power supplies in PCs, 500W + these days, and assume the PC uses 100% of this power 24/7. This is not the case. Sure, there have been some power-hungry architectures in the past (NetBurst - i.e. Pentium 4 and the worst of all, Prescott) but processors older than that (Pentium III) or newer (Core) are much more power-efficient. With some smart thinking (i.e. don't install two high-end graphics cards in SLI, don't even use a monitor at all) I bet power consumption of a dedicated PC would rival that of a NAS.
I measured my MythTV media center machine some months back, it has a AMD 64 bit 3500+ processor. The power usages of that machine was 100W during reqular usage. But this computer hasn't been built at all with power usage in mind, so I suspect there wouldn't be a problem to create a SlimServer computer which uses less than 50W in average. SlimServer certainly doesn't need a 3500+ processor to run good. I saw some test on Mac Mini without a display where it used about 30-40W in average.

I'm not sure how much a NAS consume, I suspect it might be a bit less but probably not much.

I think the real power save when using a 24/7 computer is to make sure that it is configured to shutdown/hibernate and/or shutdown disks when not in use.


1. i volunteer at a local radio station, playing space music at nights. i can literally unplug 2 cables (power and ethernet), and bring all the music with me, in one box. no PC necessary!

2. i can have only one device turned on (the readynas), and hear music all day long. i do not need to turn on the readynas AND a pc, when the readynas can run pre-compiled SS versions itself. so, that's less power, and a couple fewer fans to create white noise in the background. the readynas itself is pretty quiet.

3. although this next bit has disadvantages as well, i do not need to muck around with slimserver on my pc. that also means i can't take advantage of SS's open source nature. however, once installed and running, i do not have to deal with any slimserver issues until i upgrade. due to the huge amount of trouble i had last time, i probably will not upgrade again. the 6.5.1 SS version has more features than i'll ever need. all it has to do is play music, and i'm happy.Wouldn't a computer like the Mac Mini or similar be able to do all this as easy ?

I can understand that it feels complicated if you have both a NAS and a computer, or if you have a computer with connected keyboard, mouse and monitor. But IMHO this is not what you should compare with.

You should compare with a standalone computer with no monitor, keyboard or mouse. This only require a network cable and a power cable to work. It can be pretty small, for example a Mac Mini a VIA EPIA solution a laptop or something similar.

ftlight
2007-08-07, 08:18
Mark Lanctot wrote:

> An argument that frequently comes up is "I don't want my computer on
> 24/7, it wastes power." People see the power supplies in PCs, 500W +
> these days, and assume the PC uses 100% of this power 24/7. This is
> not the case.

I just plugged my server (music and mail) into a Kill A Watt power
monitor, and it's running at a fairly steady 115 watts power
consumption. That's without the monitor, which I usually keep turned
off. That PC is a few years old, with an AMD K4 CPU, 2 gigs of RAM, and
a couple of hard drives.

I'd be interested to compare the power consumption of a typical NAS.

--
Bill Burns
Long Island NY USA
http://ftldesign.com

mick_w
2007-08-07, 08:41
My little Mini-ITX server uses between 30 and 35W, really is quiet (only a laptop drive spinning when it's not serving music) and has more than enough power to run SlimServer (unlike my old LinkStation NAS).

(See link in below for spec.)

Mick

Mark Lanctot
2007-08-07, 08:43
I can now monitor power usage through my new UPS.

It's 1200 VA which should equal 1200 W through the definition of volt-amperes, but I think there's some efficiency loss. Anyway my Core 2 Duo E6600 with 2 GB of RAM (a monster of a SlimServer to be sure, but also my general-purpose desktop) is at 9% load, including the 17" CRT monitor.

9% of 1200 W = 108 W.

I've monitored it from a networked PC when the monitor goes into power saving, it goes down to 3% load (36 W!)

If I'm wrong and 1200 VA on a UPS does not equal 1200 W of power out the UPS, it's even less.

I don't know how accurate the UPS's load-sensing hardware/software is. I changed power supplies shortly after I got it, going from a 4-year old 380 W PS to a brand-new 500 W Antec "EarthWatts" PS. Load dropped from 18% to 9-10%. That's a little too good to be true so there might be some inaccuracy.

TiredLegs
2007-08-07, 08:52
The specifications on my Buffalo LinkStation NAS say it consumes a MAXIMUM of 17 watts. I have it configured to spin down its drive after an hour of inactivity, so perhaps it's using 10 watts or less most of the time. The thing is tiny, no bigger than most external disk drives. It's incredibly quiet (no fan noise). And it only cost me about $200.

Other than dealing with the initial Linux set up hassle (certainly not for the lazy), I don't see any reason why I would want to use a PC or Mac as a SlimServer instead.

cliveb
2007-08-07, 08:57
My little Mini-ITX server uses between 30 and 35W...
I think what people need to appreciate is that on any low-power system like mini-ITX, Mac Mini, NAS, etc, the majority of the power consumption is due to the hard disk(s), and that's going to be the same regardless of the platform.

I too run a mini-ITX server (a 533MHz fanless version), and with no disks spinning it consumes about 10W. My setup has two 3.5" disks (400GB and 300GB), and with them both spinning it consumes about 40W. My guess is that if it had a single 750GB disk, consumption would probably be about 25W.

ftlight
2007-08-07, 09:19
mick_w wrote:
> My little Mini-ITX server uses between 30 and 35W, really is quiet (only
> a laptop drive spinning when it's not serving music) and has more than
> enough power to run SlimServer (unlike my old LinkStation NAS).
>
> (See link in below for spec.)
> http://www.ulverston.myzen.co.uk/mini-itx/

Excellent write-up, and looks like a very good solution.

--
Bill Burns
Long Island NY USA
http://ftldesign.com

shermoid
2007-08-07, 10:47
Wouldn't a computer like the Mac Mini or similar be able to do all this as easy ?

not really - i'd need, oh, 400-500GB of storage to hold all the music. so, that would entail a NAS or external device to the mac mini anyway. might as well not lug two boxes, but just one. :-)


I can understand that it feels complicated if you have both a NAS and a computer, or if you have a computer with connected keyboard, mouse and monitor. But IMHO this is not what you should compare with.

You should compare with a standalone computer with no monitor, keyboard or mouse. This only require a network cable and a power cable to work. It can be pretty small, for example a Mac Mini a VIA EPIA solution a laptop or something similar.

it's again the storage problem. the complexity of a computer and a NAS isn't an issue. the readynas is only 12"x12", and is not a big deal to carry around.

using only a NAS and a nokia 770 (pocket size) internet tablet, i can control the readynas, have it play 4 hours of music without human intervention, and be packed up and ready to go home in 3 minutes. for my use, it's a perfect solution.

many other solutions are possible, of course. however, i prefer a completely self-contained music machine, plus pocket-sized controller. this is all happening at 1-5am. the simpler, the better, at those early hours. :-)

best,
-sherm

ezkcdude
2007-08-07, 10:55
As long as one can fit his/her entire music directory on one hard drive, then coming up with solutions is easy. It's when your directory has to span multiple (physical) volumes, that you begin looking into RAID. At that point, many people will sooner shell out cash for a proven solution, rather than reinvent the wheel. The OP said he had two 160 GB drives. I'm curious whether his music folder was entirely on one of those drives, or if not, how did he set it up.

mrfantasy
2007-08-07, 11:06
The Kuro Box HG has a 25 watt power supply, so that's all it can ever use. If the hard drive spins down it's probably less than 10.

My Thecus N2100 has a 60 watt power supply. It has two hard drives and a beefier processor (although with the Debian install performance, especially floating point, is not as good as I hoped).

I'm seriously considering a Mini-ITX/ VIA processor solution. Power consumption is about the same as the Thecus, but with better performance, and x86 compatibility. I'm having trouble finding a Mini-ITX case with 2 3.5" hard drive slots (so I can do RAID 1.)

As a side note, it's also worth considering how much things like set-top boxes, TiVos, etc. use.

jaysung
2007-08-11, 04:59
Why using a nas device? Well.:
- the are scalable in terms of expanding storage needs
- they feature easy to setup redundant disk arrays and thus data security
- they are more stable than a full grown pc especially with windows on them
- the have a simple web interface
- they are based on open source software as slimserver itself and thus I can do more things with them asterisk might be worth considering
- and they just work flawlessly and smooth and easy and all GREAT for my case thanks goes to Andreas Vogel (may his name live long and prosperes). Thanks Omega I was trying myself but couldn't have done so well and easy to install and well documented!!!

badbob
2007-08-11, 06:56
I have a dual bay NAS, haven't installed Slimserver onto it (possible but could brick it) mainly used for data storage and videos. I can see why people wouldn't need a NAS, but for my needs, ease of use, quick startup, stable etc ideal as LAN mass storage.

Mark Lanctot
2007-08-11, 07:54
- they are based on open source software as slimserver itself and thus I can do more things with them asterisk might be worth considering

Really? Most of them are more closed than your average PC - you can't install anything on it and the manufacturer makes it very hard for you to change that. And merely installing something on it voids your warranty.

y360
2007-08-11, 07:55
You all seem to forget the most power efficient method of them all: Rhapsody, Pandora and Internet Radio via squeezenetwork

The only use I see for slimserver is for upgrading the firmware every now and then

Pellicle
2007-08-11, 10:17
"You all seem to forget the most power efficient method of them all: Rhapsody, Pandora and Internet Radio via squeezenetwork

The only use I see for slimserver is for upgrading the firmware every now and then"

Well many of us enjoy non compressed music which we own. I agree using steaming media from the Internet is less power consuming if you do it directly form the SB. However, I and many others prefer to listen to our own collections. I use FLAC so none of the audio information is lost and I have a fairly extensive collection so I don't get bored. I do find Internet radio good for trying new music before I buy, as well as occasional background ambiance, but it is not my preferred critical listening mode.

erland
2007-08-11, 23:16
Why using a nas device? Well.:
- the are scalable in terms of expanding storage needs
- they feature easy to setup redundant disk arrays and thus data securityAgreed, if the most important thing is to get a scalable redundant solution for serving files, a NAS isn't wrong at all. However, this still doesn't mean SlimServer needs to run on the NAS. But I can understand that it is nice to have everything in one box. If you like one box I guess you just have to select what the most important features are:
- If it's most important with scalability/redundancy regarding storage: Use a NAS
- If it's most important to have a 24/7 box running server applications: Use a computer
- If both is equally important: Either have two boxes or use a computer


- they are more stable than a full grown pc especially with windows on themI basically agree with you here, but I think people often are comparing apples and oranges when issuing statements like this. Windows is often thought of less stable compared to Linux and other operating systems, my feeling is that the reason is that we tend to use a Windows box where new third party drivers, games and applications are installed/uninstalled several times a month. On the other side of the comparison we compare with a Linux box which runs 24/7 and where we almost never install new software, just some bug corrections on the already installed software. In such a comparison the Windows computer is always going to lose since a lot more applications are installed and uninstalled on it. Now, I'm not saying that you are wrong, because the typical Windows box is used this way, so in that sense you are correct that the NAS box probably is more stable. I used Windows on a web servers a few years back and it never crashed and I don't think I had to reboot that more often than I need to reboot the current Linux solution I have.

As a side note, my routers needs to be rebooted at least as often as my 24/7 web server running Ubuntu Linux. I don't have a NAS so I can't say if it would be more stable than the web server or not.


- the have a simple web interfaceThere are web interfaces also for administrating 24/7 running computers, at least for Linux, but I'm pretty sure similar solutions also exist for Mac and Windows. IMHO though, a rich interface can often be easier to use than a web interface.


- they are based on open source software as slimserver itself and thus I can do more things with them asterisk might be worth consideringI'll have to agree with Mark here. Most vendors try to make it as hard as possible for end users to install anything at all on a NAS box. IMO a standard Linux computer will have a lot of advantage regarding this point compared to a NAS solution. When thinking of the amount of free software that is also available for Windows, I would also say that a Windows 24/7 server has advantages over a NAS box regarding this point.

Now to sum it up:
NAS boxes obviously have their uses. They are great for serving files and they are great if you want a scalable redundant storage solution. Even though it is possible to accomplish an equally good storage solution on a computer, it tends to get a lot more complicated. But if your main purpose is that you like to have a 24/7 box which can run applications, for example SlimServer, a NAS box might not be the optimal solution. It will work, but my feeling is that many people would be better of with a standard computer.

As I have said earlier in another thread, my feel is that the optimal solution for SlimServer would be if someone sold a small pretty silent computer with pre-installed, pre-configured SlimServer. It could be something like a Mac Mini or a VIA EPIA based solution. Some people would still need a NAS for the scalable redundant storage, but I'm pretty sure a pre-built computer would solve the SlimServer hardware problem for most people better than what a NAS solution does.

egd
2007-08-12, 04:46
As I have said earlier in another thread, my feel is that the optimal solution for SlimServer would be if someone sold a small pretty silent computer with pre-installed, pre-configured SlimServer. It could be something like a Mac Mini or a VIA EPIA based solution. Some people would still need a NAS for the scalable redundant storage, but I'm pretty sure a pre-built computer would solve the SlimServer hardware problem for most people better than what a NAS solution does.

No arguments here, however now that NAS boxes with sufficient grunt and supporting modularisation are becoming available I'm quite happy to divorce my listening from having to have one of my desktop PCs running. I think the point is either option is ok, so long as it is a dedicated, independent of my desktop PCs solution, that can for all intents and purposes run quietly and reliably 24/7/365. My Thecus N5200PRO fits that bill nicely.

jdh500
2007-08-12, 06:19
Agree, Purchased a cheap notebook computer for the task, I am thinking of atleast storing/backing up my music + other stuff on a compact dedicated NAS box running 24/7, most likely a QNAP 109 or 209 which should also be suitable for basic Slimserver tasks too. For the time being the built in 160GB HDD in the notebook computer is sufficient capacity for my current music collection if and when the cpacity of my collection grows beyond 160GB Ishould be able to upgrade it to say a 250GB or even larger in the future.

JDH.



Just curious. I took a spare, four year old Shuttle computer laying around. 1.6GHz processor, 2 gigs ram, with two 160GB disks. Nothing special, but this is the old Zen line which is very quiet (external brick power supply).

Anyhow it's got windows on it, I installed SS and my music and it's running flawlessly. No configuration, no wasted time. It also has a CD reader and EAC so it's the complete solution, and dedicated to serving, ripping, and holding my music.

The beautiful twist is that I have it suspend after an hour of no use. If it's down when I try to listen a WOL packet wakes it right up. If it's turned off it's the same, and up and running in less than a minute.

It's low power, quiet, powerful, cheap, upgradable, and easy. Why mess with any of the boutique NAS solutions?