PDA

View Full Version : Dedicated PC - current thoughts on specs?



roll - gybe
2007-11-06, 16:02
How would this set up handle slimserver?

What are the considerations between XP and Vista with respect to slimserver and SB?

Is this a fast enough hard drive?

If I leave it on all the time, I won't face any WOL issues will I?

IntelŪPentiumŪ dual-core processor E2140 (1MB L2,1.60GHz,800 FSB)

1GB2 Dual Channel3 DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz- 2DIMMs

250GB4 Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM) w/DataBurst Cache™

I've been monkeying with the idea of a dedicated PC for a while. Now I'm running 2 SBs and I'm not always going to have my monster laptop nearby. I have looked into cheaper options, but I'm not a super techy guy (compared to some of you!)

Thanks for your thoughts in advance...
Tom

pfarrell
2007-11-06, 16:23
roll - gybe wrote:
> How would this set up handle slimserver?

Massive overkill, IMHO

> What are the considerations between XP and Vista with respect to
> slimserver and SB?

Use XP. or Ubuntu


> Is this a fast enough hard drive?
> If I leave it on all the time, I won't face any WOL issues will I?
> IntelŪPentiumŪ dual-core processor E2140 (1MB L2,1.60GHz,800 FSB)
> 1GB2 Dual Channel3 DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz- 2DIMMs
> 250GB4 Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM) w/DataBurst Cache™

More memory. Always more memory.
a 250GB disk should hold 500 to 600 albums in FLAC

Both Intel and AMD have very cost effective dual core CPUs for about
$100. get 2GB of ram.

I have always run my SlimServer (now SlimCenter) on free computers, left
over from my day job. When I need a fast computer for work, the old one
is a good SlimServer

sugarmonster
2007-11-06, 16:30
Slimserver itself is fairly lightweight so that spec should be more than sufficient. The hard drive speed is pretty irrelevant, the SB has a large buffer so you won't notice any blips in the transfer.

For comparison, I was using slimserver and InguzDSP on a 1.8Ghz core duo laptop which is only slightly faster than your spec and that was only using 20% CPU (most of that was down to the Inguz plugin).

If you've got the choice I'd go XP over vista. XP is way less resource hungry and as it's a server you won't see the vista eye candy anyway.

I settled on a Mac Mini as my dedicated slimserver / media PC in the end. Small, quiet and horsepower to spare - the only thing against them is the cost.


Marc.

MrSinatra
2007-11-06, 16:50
i'd consider a mac mini.

gerph
2007-11-06, 16:54
Slimserver itself is fairly lightweight so that spec should be more than sufficient. The hard drive speed is pretty irrelevant, the SB has a large buffer so you won't notice any blips in the transfer.

For comparison, I was using slimserver and InguzDSP on a 1.8Ghz core duo laptop which is only slightly faster than your spec and that was only using 20% CPU (most of that was down to the Inguz plugin).

If you've got the choice I'd go XP over vista. XP is way less resource hungry and as it's a server you won't see the vista eye candy anyway.

Uh... For comparison, I'm using a 500 MHz PIII in linux and, looking at the 'top' output which tells me processor usage, it's hasn't used more than 4% of the processor time whilst playing a track. mysqld sometimes takes a bit longer to do some of the searches, but then that's not a big deal. If using the web interface is a bigger deal then more processor speed is better.

Other examples:
Selecting the Artists menu and it opening the list of artists: 23% processor time slimserver, 24% mysqld, time to open the menu about 1 second.

Holding down the 'down' button to scroll through the artists continuously: about 18% processor time pretty steady.

Internet radio, Slim Picks, Alt|Radio DavidByrne.com: never more than 1.5% processor time.

I'd say based on my figures that if your 1.8G machine is using 20% of its processor time doing stuff for slimserver then that plugin is seriously sapping the life from the system, because just playing music should be using ~1.3% of the processor time for slimserver (your machine is > 3x faster, so 1/3 of 4% processor time).

(all this said, I'm intending on getting a new server which far outstrips the current one shortly...)

JJZolx
2007-11-06, 17:06
That'll work fine. I'd go with XP rather than Vista. Vista seems to be a real pain in the ass, particularly with all the things they've thrown in for the sake of "security" (read: protecting you from yourself).

If you go with XP Pro instead of XP Home then also you'll have a built-in remote desktop. Then you can easily run the machine headless - with no monitor, mouse or keyboard. You can install VNC on XP Home, but XP Pro's remote desktop is a lot nicer.

IMO this spec isn't necessarily overkill, particularly if you'll be running Windows instead of Linux. There are very real gains in responsiveness of both the remote and the web interfaces with faster hardware.

For a music server, I'd recommend having a separate operating system hard drive. Find a 7200 RPM hard drive of the smallest size you can find, say 40 or 60 GB, then for the music storage get a disk large enough for your collection, plus a fair amount of room to grow. I get about three Flac albums per GB, so that 250 GB disk should hold 700 or more albums in Flac.

SuperQ
2007-11-06, 18:10
I also use an old throw-away PC with an upgraded IDE disk for a dedicated slimserver. I found an old compaq 350MHz P3, 256MB ram. It also does double-duty as a ripping machine (flac, so don't really need much CPU time). It runs Ubuntu with no GUI. Works great.

totoro
2007-11-06, 18:24
How would this set up handle slimserver?

What are the considerations between XP and Vista with respect to slimserver and SB?

Is this a fast enough hard drive?

If I leave it on all the time, I won't face any WOL issues will I?

IntelŪPentiumŪ dual-core processor E2140 (1MB L2,1.60GHz,800 FSB)

1GB2 Dual Channel3 DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz- 2DIMMs

250GB4 Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM) w/DataBurst Cache™

I've been monkeying with the idea of a dedicated PC for a while. Now I'm running 2 SBs and I'm not always going to have my monster laptop nearby. I have looked into cheaper options, but I'm not a super techy guy (compared to some of you!)

Thanks for your thoughts in advance...
Tom

That's probably about right if you decide to run inguz: http://inguzaudio.com/usage/caveats/performance/

Free room correction is a pretty cool thing. I'd always have at least 2g of ram on any box I was using though.

roll - gybe
2007-11-06, 19:20
thanks for the feedback. the 2gb thing keeps coming back.

I'm running my collection (flac) off of a fast 4gb laptop right now. Unfortunately, my XP laptop was stolen and I'm on vista now. That was a kick in the nuts! I really don't like vista, but I'm aware that I may need to just do it for the future. It's different with a windows based music server though.

I had heard vista takes 2gb. I didnt know if I could go with a 1 gb XP set up. I don't want to make a silly compromise - after all I have some serious gear at this point and I want good source material.

There has just always been something about buying a new server that kills me. I could put that money into new gear or something. With respect to the drive for my operating system - i just don't want to put that much money into it (if i can avoid it)... I have 100gb of flac and about 75gb of itunes. I would be surprised if I accumulate another 50 gb before this computer gets fried.

riffer
2007-11-06, 19:31
I'm running Slimserver on a Celeron 600 with 512KB of RAM.

The main problem is that the drives churn if I run the web application which, along with slim tray, java, etc. use up too much ram. Since I rarely use the web ap, this isn't a big problem. In other words, if my motherboard could take more ram, I would install it. Otherwise, a pretty minimal set-up is all that is required.

pfarrell
2007-11-06, 19:41
roll - gybe wrote:
> I had heard vista takes 2gb. I didnt know if I could go with a 1 gb XP
> set up. I don't want to make a silly compromise - after all I have some
> serious gear at this point and I want good source material.

Even XP likes memory, and its fairly cheap these days.

Ubuntu is free, as are other Linux distros which live well with less
power than XP or anything this side of Windows 98

> respect to the drive for my operating system - i just don't want to put
> that much money into it (if i can avoid it)... I have 100gb of flac and
> about 75gb of itunes. I would be surprised if I accumulate another 50
> gb before this computer gets fried.

its better to spend money on music.

KeithL
2007-11-06, 23:38
I use a cast off Apple Emac 1.25G with a large usb hard drive. The good thing about most Macs is that when they sleep, almost everything turns off, no fans for power supplies or processor chips.

bklaas
2007-11-07, 08:31
Two suggestions:

1. Buy 2 HDs of whatever you are getting, and use the second one as your first-order backup (having a second-order backup to a different media like DVD-R). Sync all your music from HD1 to HD2 daily (there are a huge number of software packages that will do this for you; I use rsnapshot on Linux). That way when HD1 fails, you won't feel like tearing your hair out wondering why you didn't cover yourself for that inevitability.

2. Speaking of Linux...since you are talking about a *dedicated* PC, I take that as "this is my SqueezeCenter machine and nothing else". In that case, it's an absolute no brainer to use Ubuntu here. It's free, it's more stable, and it's dead simple to install. Have I mentioned how free it is? Your only issue may be in getting SqueezeCenter installed properly, but then--this is the ONLY thing you are doing with it, so why take a little effort and do it right?

good luck,
#!/ben

schatzy
2007-11-07, 10:13
I am running a small fanless VIA C7 1 Mhz processor and 1 gig of memory on a mini itx board. Dead quite using a 2.5" laptop hard drive to run windows XP and slimserver on.

All my music is on a 500GB My Book connected via USB.

Total cost of less than $500.00 US

Have run Inguz on this and it worked but ran the processor at about 80%, and it is something that i did not need in my listening room.

To access this machine i have set it to run headless and use windows remote desk top to access it and control it if i need a web interface. Works great.

The computer, my book and squeeze box only use a bout 18 watts of power when running. This means that i can leave it on all the time and it is ready for music listening at a moments notice.

My regular desktop machine uses about 95 watts at idle and when running uses over 120 watts. This i do not want running all the time.

Just my 2 cents worth

teddy278
2007-11-07, 12:11
Hi,

my Slimserver-Setup on Ubuntu:

p3-500
384 MB RAM
3x 250 GB as a raid 5 (added a SATA-Controller for that one...)
1x 80 GB as a multi-purpose-drive (sleeps most of the time - just installed it because the drive was surplus somewhere else)

The server also acts as webserver, backup server and file server, and I think it's still not at its limit. Uptime now 89 days and counting - it would be more if our nuclear power plant hadn't blown up in August. :-) I doubt if XP would get there, but you may try of course.


greetings
teddy

Mark Lanctot
2007-11-07, 12:21
I'd say based on my figures that if your 1.8G machine is using 20% of its processor time doing stuff for slimserver then that plugin is seriously sapping the life from the system, because just playing music should be using ~1.3% of the processor time for slimserver (your machine is > 3x faster, so 1/3 of 4% processor time).

Keep in mind, inguz is one of the most processor-intensive plugins out there.

It ought to be - it's active DRC, every bit going through is analyzed and modified.

Mark Lanctot
2007-11-07, 12:30
I would go with the cheapest PC I could find and install Ubuntu on it.

The problem with cheap PCs is that they're noisy.

As a point of reference, my "production" SlimServer machine is my daily desktop, Intel Core 2 Duo E6600, 2 GB RAM, with a 250 GB 7200 RPM IDE HDD as a music library, plus another 250 GB 7200 RPM IDE HDD in a USB enclosure as a backup. Ubuntu 7.10 64-bit. Massive overkill, yes. But it does come in handy for encoding, FLAC -8 and MP3 -V6 in under 30 seconds per track! And obviously SS is super-responsive.

My "testing" SqueezeCenter machine I bought because it was cheap and I needed a secondary PC for other purposes. AMD Duron 1.2 GHz, 512 MB RAM. Ubuntu 7.10 32-bit. It's using the music library from the production machine. Still seamlessly responsive, even rescans of my 4500 tracks take 8 minutes across the network! Much noisier than the production machine, which is the main downfall of cheap computer hardware.

Your suggestion should work fine, even the 1 GB of memory (but only on XP). Before this I was running SS on XP and I only had 512 MB of RAM, but it ran SS and all my other daily desktop tasks without issue. 1 GB would be fine. Even now, I rarely get above 1 GB memory usage, I'm at 587.4 MB and that's with 6 programs running in addition to all the background processes and SS.

peter
2007-11-07, 12:38
Mark Lanctot wrote:
> I would go with the cheapest PC I could find and install Ubuntu on it.
>
> The problem with cheap PCs is that they're noisy.
>
> As a point of reference, my "production" SlimServer machine is my daily
> desktop, Intel Core 2 Duo E6600, 2 GB RAM, with a 250 GB 7200 RPM IDE
> HDD as a music library, plus another 250 GB 7200 RPM IDE HDD in a USB
> enclosure as a backup. Ubuntu 7.10 64-bit. Massive overkill, yes.
> But it does come in handy for encoding, FLAC -8 and MP3 -V6 in under 30
> seconds per track! And obviously SS is super-responsive.
>
> My "testing" SqueezeCenter machine I bought because it was cheap and I
> needed a secondary PC for other purposes. AMD Duron 1.2 GHz, 512 MB
> RAM. Ubuntu 7.10 32-bit. It's using the music library from the
> production machine. Still seamlessly responsive, even rescans of my
> 4500 tracks take 8 minutes across the network! Much noisier than the
> production machine, which is the main downfall of cheap computer
> hardware.
>

Why not help saving the planet as well as your ears and run your testing
machine on a virtual host under Xen?

Regards,
Peter

Mark Lanctot
2007-11-07, 12:47
Why not help saving the planet as well as your ears and run your testing
machine on a virtual host under Xen?

Mmm...

1. The testing machine runs for about an hour a week. I only use it when I'm playing with SC7 and Jive.

2. VM scares me, and although I have 2 GB in my production machine that's the limit for this motherboard and it's probably not enough.

3. Power is cheap here in Canada, and it mostly comes from hydro (renewable).

peter
2007-11-07, 13:57
Mark Lanctot wrote:
> Peter;240978 Wrote:
>
>> Why not help saving the planet as well as your ears and run your testing
>>
>> machine on a virtual host under Xen?
>>
>
> Mmm...
>
> 1. The testing machine runs for about an hour a week. I only use it
> when I'm playing with SC7 and Jive.
>
> 2. VM scares me, and although I have 2 GB in my production machine
> that's the limit for this motherboard and it's probably not enough.
>

It's pretty mature these days and very convenient. I don't know what
your memory requirements are but I think you should be able to run two
Ubuntu sessions on one machine easily. I've recently set up a server
with CentOS 5 and the Xen installation was really very smooth and
everything runs fast.

> 3. Power is cheap here in Canada, and it mostly comes from hydro
> (renewable).
>

No matter. You could export the surplus to countries less lucky!

Regards,
Peter

totoro
2007-11-07, 14:25
Uh... For comparison, I'm using a 500 MHz PIII in linux and, looking at the 'top' output which tells me processor usage, it's hasn't used more than 4% of the processor time whilst playing a track. mysqld sometimes takes a bit longer to do some of the searches, but then that's not a big deal. If using the web interface is a bigger deal then more processor speed is better.

Other examples:
Selecting the Artists menu and it opening the list of artists: 23% processor time slimserver, 24% mysqld, time to open the menu about 1 second.

Holding down the 'down' button to scroll through the artists continuously: about 18% processor time pretty steady.

Internet radio, Slim Picks, Alt|Radio DavidByrne.com: never more than 1.5% processor time.

I'd say based on my figures that if your 1.8G machine is using 20% of its processor time doing stuff for slimserver then that plugin is seriously sapping the life from the system, because just playing music should be using ~1.3% of the processor time for slimserver (your machine is > 3x faster, so 1/3 of 4% processor time).

(all this said, I'm intending on getting a new server which far outstrips the current one shortly...)

The plugin is convolving filters in real time, and it's in c# rather than c (not sure how badly that hurts, really). It's actually doing something more computationally complex than anything slimserver does directly AFAIK.

roll - gybe
2007-11-09, 11:49
great feedback guys. one thing about loving music is that i'm constantly learning about gear.

in this case... ubuantausauau or whatever you are talking about. seriously, i am sitting here at work with 4 monitors around me, and i have no clue about computers. I have to go crying to my IT guy every time a dialoge box pops up.

That's why I favor XP. However, if this linux thing is really that easy, I should try it.

Is it more cost effective?
Is there a thread out there about setting up a dedicated box this way?

Mark Lanctot
2007-11-09, 12:15
Is it more cost effective?

It's free - what have you got to lose? If you can't get it running, install Windows on it.


Is there a thread out there about setting up a dedicated box this way?

http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=38921

http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?DebianPackage

and lots of others in the Linux subforum:

http://forums.slimdevices.com/forumdisplay.php?f=3

Ubuntu also has the largest user forum of any Linux distro:

http://ubuntuforums.org/index.php

MrSinatra
2007-11-09, 19:53
why not get a mac mini? $599? its small, quiet, has a linux heart and a OS X wrapper.

AND, it can do other stuff too.