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RonM
2008-05-04, 19:57
Hi all,

I'd like to set up a server arrangement, whereby a server with all my music files was "always on", so my computer didn't have to be, in order to use the Duet at random times. I'm not exactly sure what my options are.

The objectives are:

1. Always available

2. Low power consumption (ideally, goes to sleep when not in use, awakes on demand)

3. Plenty of storage

4. Potential use as network storage for other kinds of files

The device (whatever it turns out to be) will be hard-wired to the router.

I was looking at the new little server for the home market that HP has out, and it looks kind of sweet (although at $500+ it's not cheap). It runs Windows Home Server, has to be accessed through a console (other computer on the network) and has 500gigs in its cheap version, with plenty of SATA slots for expansion.

Here's what I don't know -- can SqueezeCenter be installed on a device running Windows Home Server? I think I saw a thread that said it could but I can't find it now. When I ask the sales-people in the stores (e.g. Best Buy) they usually don't have a clue.

So, any thoughts or recommendations? I'd prefer not to have to enter the Linux world, if possible.

Ron

radish
2008-05-04, 20:01
Yes, you can install SC on WHS no problem. Check the 3rd party hardware forum for more.

snarlydwarf
2008-05-04, 20:06
Here's what I don't know -- can SqueezeCenter be installed on a device running Windows Home Server? I think I saw a thread that said it could but I can't find it now. When I ask the sales-people in the stores (e.g. Best Buy) they usually don't have a clue.

Yes, it can. No magic involved.




So, any thoughts or recommendations? I'd prefer not to have to enter the Linux world, if possible.


Your choice, but Linux makes for a nice multipurpose setup: the more junk you can offload onto the server, the easier it is to justify leaving it on all the time. Mine is a router, web server, SC server, and generic file server...

If you're comfy with Windows and can justify the cost of WHS (and the Windowsness of it all), then it should work fine. Search the forum for WHS and you should see plenty of people who have it working and didn't do anything special for it.

iPhone
2008-05-04, 20:35
Hi all,

I'd like to set up a server arrangement, whereby a server with all my music files was "always on", so my computer didn't have to be, in order to use the Duet at random times. I'm not exactly sure what my options are.

The objectives are:

1. Always available

Not a problem.


2. Low power consumption (ideally, goes to sleep when not in use, awakes on demand)
Just a matter of choosing the right equipment and getting the WOL to play ball. Personally, I leave mine running all the time.


3. Plenty of storage
Again, no problem just a matter of choosing the correct equipment.


4. Potential use as network storage for other kinds of files
See answer to Question 3.


I was looking at the new little server for the home market that HP has out, and it looks kind of sweet (although at $500+ it's not cheap). It runs Windows Home Server, has to be accessed through a console (other computer on the network) and has 500gigs in its cheap version, with plenty of SATA slots for expansion.
If you are a little computer savvy, you can build your own from an old PC or with all new parts and use Linux for the OS or WHS, cheaper then off the shelf.


So, any thoughts or recommendations? I'd prefer not to have to enter the Linux world, if possible. Ron

If not entering the Linux world, WHS might be the best choice. I prefer to build my own servers because I control the parts and cost. And because I built it, I can service it if need be.

chrislayeruk
2008-05-05, 13:01
Ron, are you looking for somthing like this.

http://www.ripfactory.com/ripserverfaq.html

Cheers,Chris :)

RonM
2008-05-06, 08:46
Ron, are you looking for somthing like this.

http://www.ripfactory.com/ripserverfaq.html

Cheers,Chris :)

Hmm. Doesn't look to me like it can have SC installed on it, so some computer on the network would have to be running. Unless I'm missing something, doesn't look like this would work as the only "on" device.

R.

jaffacake
2008-05-06, 09:19
You have some pretty natural requirements there, but I feel you're going to have to prioritise them a little to make it easier to make a decision.

For example, a device that uses less electricity is going to have a smaller power supply because, ultimately, it's a less powerful piece of kit.

A low powered dedicated NAS device may reduce your electricity bill, but it may not have enough horse-power to drive SqueezeCenter in the way you are used to. I tried SC on my Infrant ReadyNAS this weekend and found performance very average compared to a Windows laptop with less RAM.

On the other side you have Windows Home Server based devices like the HP. They're Intel powered and can handle things a bit better...but they use more electricity in the process. It's basically a normal PC in a different shaped box and may even use more power than the PC on which you run SqueezeCenter now.

Additionally you should be very aware that Windows Home Server is NOT ordinary Windows and does run a bit differently, especially if you intend to run programs directly on it. This article links to an example of this failing in a horrible way - http://blogs.zdnet.com/hardware/?p=1499

One low power option you could go for might be a cheap laptop with a big external USB drive on it for storage. It would be near silent and use much less juice than an equivalent desktop.

grrman
2008-05-06, 11:10
I prefer to build my own servers because I control the parts and cost. And because I built it, I can service it if need be.

I'd be interested in seeing your specs for the ones you've built. I've been struggling to find the right server solution myself. I do have expansion and flexibility in mind. Would like a server with a DVD so I can eventually rip DVDs to stream as well as music. Currently have two TB SATA drives that I can use.

RonM
2008-05-06, 11:20
One low power option you could go for might be a cheap laptop with a big external USB drive on it for storage. It would be near silent and use much less juice than an equivalent desktop.

In fact, that is one thing I'm looking at. My work has an old IBM R51, quite a capable computer, aside from the small hard drive and older processor, and has USB 2.0, which not all older laptops do. I might be able to get that for free -- it would probably be stripped of the OS, and I might then consider installing a Linux OS on it, assuming that would be possible. Now that external hard drives of 500gb capacity are routinely available on sale for little more than $100, it is a very tempting scenario.

As I intend to put the server in a basement room in the general vicinity of the router, noise isn't an issue, but the laptop solution would be elegant.



I'd be interested in seeing your specs for the ones you've built. I've been struggling to find the right server solution myself. I do have expansion and flexibility in mind. Would like a server with a DVD so I can eventually rip DVDs to stream as well as music. Currently have two TB SATA drives that I can use.

Not sure why a ripping device on a server is an advantage -- if I'm using another computer on the network with this capacity, I'd be inclined to just rip on that computer, but rip it to a drive on the server.

r.

Secret Squirrel
2008-05-06, 11:23
I'd be interested in seeing your specs for the ones you've built. I've been struggling to find the right server solution myself. I do have expansion and flexibility in mind. Would like a server with a DVD so I can eventually rip DVDs to stream as well as music. Currently have two TB SATA drives that I can use.

I built my server out of OLD Pentium III (766) machine with 512M of memory. I took everything out of the box that was not necessary (floppy, sound card, etc.). Then I download Ubuntu 7.10 server and have been using Putty to run it headless (it's in the basement). I do all of my ripping on my normal desktop and the FTP it to the server. (I instantly have a backup plus when I back up the desktop I have a third level backup of my library.) I have NO performance issues but I also have only a couple of plug-ins installed. I only spent money buying a larger disk drive to handle my library. I'm going to pick up a wattage measurement device to see the energy draw, but I love my server and it was basically free.

YMMV,

SS


PS I have another of the same machine coming out of service if anyone is interested.

pfarrell
2008-05-06, 11:24
grrman wrote:
> I'd be interested in seeing your specs for the ones you've built.

I built mine out of a left over PC that my kid rejected. Its an AMD
2000+ CPU, one GB of ram, had a built in nic and video card. Tower case,
have three IDE drives and one SATA. For some reason, it has a Promise
IDE controller card in addition to the two IDE channels on the MB.

777 albums with 9723 songs by 493 artists.
SqueezeCenter 7.01 on debian etch.

Periodically, I buy a new disk and move music off some of the older disks.

The case is bright green and has clear sides and cold lamps inside, and
LEDs on the fans, the kid liked all the bling. It sits in the basement
next to my furnace, so I never look at it, never touch it.

I've got Samba installed so its easy for Windows users to just drag and
drop files onto it.

I may have $400 in it.

--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

pfarrell
2008-05-06, 11:28
RonM wrote:
> Not sure why a ripping device on a server is an advantage -- if I'm
> using another computer on the network with this capacity, I'd be
> inclined to just rip on that computer, but rip it to a drive on the
> server.

My squeezeCenter and before it slimserver has always had a CD reader,
but I have only ever used it to boot the OS. I have never used the
server's reader to rip anything.

I never touch it, its in the basement, ignored for months at a time.

--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

peter
2008-05-06, 13:02
RonM wrote:
> Hi all,
>
> I'd like to set up a server arrangement, whereby a server with all my
> music files was "always on", so my computer didn't have to be, in order
> to use the Duet at random times. I'm not exactly sure what my options
> are.
>
> The objectives are:
>
> 1. Always available
>
> 2. Low power consumption (ideally, goes to sleep when not in use,
> awakes on demand)
>


This comes up a lot so I thought I'd google for low+power+server.
First Google hit is about a guy who wants to build a low power server to
run SlimServer ;)

http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,2071749,00.asp

Regards,
Peter

mparry
2008-05-06, 14:04
We use mac minis as servers for a lot of our trade shows. They are relatively quiet and easy to install squeezecenter on. they may cost a bit more than you are looking to spend but they are a great solution.

Nuuk
2008-05-07, 03:16
I've been using my old PC to run SlimServer. It has a 250 gig internal drive for storing the music and I have an external 250 gig drive for back-up.

Recently, I installed SlimCenter on my 'main' PC to try it out and connected the external drive to play the music. I can't honestly say that the sound quality is any worse using this set-up, than when using the separate PC so I am asking myself if it is sensible to power up a second PC for say 8-10 hours a day when the 'main' PC is powered up anyway.

If I want to be more frugal with my electricity consumption, I guess I could power up the external hard drive only when I wanted to listen to music, usually from about 16:00 to midnight, instead of having it powered up all day. Or does it shut down anyway when it is not required? If I move the internal 250 gig drive to the main computer, it will be powered up all the time the computer is on. Or will it? Is there a way to shut down that drive (in XP) until it is required?

I also run a third PC upstairs mainly for use when reviewing stuff like USB DAC's in my second hi-fi. Like Secret Squirrel, I got hold of a (free) Pentium III 766 that was being thrown away, bought 512 meg of RAM off Ebay for a few pounds, and installed Ubuntu 7.1 on it. It just goes to show that you don't need to throw a lot of money at a computer music server!

grrman
2008-05-07, 07:48
Not sure why a ripping device on a server is an advantage -- if I'm using another computer on the network with this capacity, I'd be inclined to just rip on that computer, but rip it to a drive on the server.r.

Just for convenience of having it all in one place. I currently use my Mac Pro for photo and video editing. I don't want it on all the time-don't need to waste the energy, but need to access the 1500 CDs I have whenever I want. So I'd rather have a main server for streaming music and video. I've looked at the ripserver solution, but figure its easier and cheaper to build something myself. Many of you have indicated the cost savings already.

Like pfarrell said, I like to leave it alone most of the time.

I've considered the mimi mac solution, but I've already invested in two 1TB drives, so I might as well find an old pc or mac to shove them in for less than $600USD.

ncarver
2008-05-07, 08:55
I used my daughter's recently discarded 2.5GHz P4 to set up a dedicated server to run SC, DNS (Bind), support file backups, and serve photos, etc. Bought two 1TB drives and a SATA controller card, and am running the drives in RAID1 using Linux software RAID. Machine runs SSH and Samba for file serving. May add Postfix for sending email. DNS lookups are way faster than via ISP's nameservers. Machine is in a closet.

P4 throttles down to 316MHz most of the time (including when serving FLAC files via SC). I have not set the disks to spin down, though might consider that. Have somewhat mixed feelings, as I have generally had fewer problems with machines whose disks run constantly, and the TB drives are WD "green" disks that use only a few watts each when just spinning. When processor is throttled down, machine uses about 75watts, which I think is acceptable for all its functions. Particularly useful to be able to run scripts to automatically back up all the machines in the house onto RAID1 disks.

menno
2008-05-08, 03:19
I use the QNAP TS-109. The main reason I use this instead of an old PC is that the power usage in operation is 14.4W and 6.6W at idle. Also fanless so very quiet.

It does run Linux, which you say you'd rather not use, but in my experience this is much more stable to run 24/7 than a Windows OS.

See the third party hardware forum for more info. You may get more ideas on low power dedicated Windows servers there too.

Cheers,
Menno

menno
2008-05-08, 04:42
Was just surfing the web looking for a Duet supplier and saw the following TranquilPC Windows Home servers:

http://www.ripcaster.co.uk/node/241

Cheers,
Menno

grrman
2008-05-08, 07:13
[QUOTE=ncarver;299765]I used my daughter's recently discarded 2.5GHz P4 to set up a dedicated server to run SC, DNS (Bind), support file backups, and serve photos, etc. Bought two 1TB drives and a SATA controller card, and am running the drives in RAID1 using Linux software RAID. Machine runs SSH and Samba for file serving. May add Postfix for sending email. DNS lookups are way faster than via ISP's nameservers. Machine is in a closet./QUOTE]

I considered an old G4 but they don't support big drives. With the SATA card, how many drives will it support? I've started looking at old G5s b/c those will support bigger drives and don't need SATA cards for RAID.

ncarver
2008-05-08, 11:31
With the SATA card, how many drives will it support?


The card I got was a Promise SATA300 TX4, which supports 4 (internal) SATA connections.

Harry G
2008-05-14, 15:47
My needs are similar to those of Ron M but a little more specific and for a larger music collection.

Currently, I have two wired and one wireless SB3's, streaming a library of 96,000 songs, mostly in flac from my home office XP machine running SlimServer 6.3.1 (I know its ancient but it runs and I've been too busy with work).

I'd like to move my music playback to a dedicated server running SqueezeCenter to free up resources on my work machine and hopefully lower my electric bill. I'm in rural Hawaii. We have the highest energy costs in the country and with the oil situation, the surcharge goes up every month.

Ready made machines like the HP home server make little sense here as any factory service is 2500 miles away.

I'm thinking of having my local repair and "we build it for you" computer shop put together a low powered machine to just stream music, using the Inguz EQ plugin, into the Squeezeboxes and possibly stream video to a few UPNP client devices that now stream from attached USB drives.

The plan is to run Linux, probably Ubuntu and do a software RAID 5 using five 1TB drives.

I would like to control this, including boot, from an XP tablet and continue ripping and tagging at my office machine.

Does this make sense? If so, can anyone suggest how fast a processor and how much RAM I need? Any reason I should use Windows Home Server instead of Linux?

I should probably add that I know near nothing of Linux but am good at learning by doing and of the two key guys at the computer shop, one uses a simple Squeezebox system and the other has expertise with Ubuntu, so I'm not alone blundering in the dark. I hope to share with them any suggestions the group may have.

Mark Lanctot
2008-05-15, 11:35
My needs are similar to those of Ron M but a little more specific and for a larger music collection.

Currently, I have two wired and one wireless SB3's, streaming a library of 96,000 songs, mostly in flac from my home office XP machine running SlimServer 6.3.1 (I know its ancient but it runs and I've been too busy with work).

I'd like to move my music playback to a dedicated server running SqueezeCenter to free up resources on my work machine and hopefully lower my electric bill. I'm in rural Hawaii. We have the highest energy costs in the country and with the oil situation, the surcharge goes up every month.

Ready made machines like the HP home server make little sense here as any factory service is 2500 miles away.

I'm thinking of having my local repair and "we build it for you" computer shop put together a low powered machine to just stream music, using the Inguz EQ plugin, into the Squeezeboxes and possibly stream video to a few UPNP client devices that now stream from attached USB drives.

The plan is to run Linux, probably Ubuntu and do a software RAID 5 using five 1TB drives.

I would like to control this, including boot, from an XP tablet and continue ripping and tagging at my office machine.

Does this make sense? If so, can anyone suggest how fast a processor and how much RAM I need? Any reason I should use Windows Home Server instead of Linux?

SC's CPU requirements are modest as are (I assume) video streaming requirements. The limiting factor here is inguz, from http://inguzaudio.com/usage/caveats/performance/


The system requirements specs indicate a 2GHz CPU, and this really is a realistic baseline.

Running room-correction and other filters takes quite a lot of processing power: on a 2GHz system, the CPU will typically run at about 20% usage when music is playing. This figure will be slightly higher for non-Windows systems.

If you have more than one Squeezebox or Transporter (not synchronized), the music signal is processed for each one separately. If processing for each one uses a fifth of the computerís processing power, then obviously this sets an upper limit on the number of squeezeboxes which can be supported simultaneously.

If your PC is used heavily for other things, then you may find that InguzDSP has a noticeable impact on the PC performance. Your mileage may vary, of course, but donít try running on a 1GHz P3; it just wonít work.

To save a bit of money you may want to go with an AMD processor. The Intel Core 2 Duos would work very well with such a large CPU requirement but as they're the current performance champs, they come at a premium. If performance depends only on processor speed as inguz states, you'll need a middle-of-the-line AMD processor. Compare prices carefully, AMD is priced close to Intel near the middle-of-the-line and an Intel processor will have a performance advantage.

In terms of RAM, the more the better. SC performance will depend greatly on available RAM. Ordinarily 1 GB would be fine but with your large library and inguz go with 2 GB at least.

Other than some learning time, there would be no advantage going with Windows Server over Linux here. Linux manages RAM better and is generally lighter on resources so your CPU and RAM goes further but unfortunately note the performance hit inguz has on Linux.


I should probably add that I know near nothing of Linux but am good at learning by doing and of the two key guys at the computer shop, one uses a simple Squeezebox system and the other has expertise with Ubuntu, so I'm not alone blundering in the dark. I hope to share with them any suggestions the group may have.

Ubuntu is very popular. You have a very nice GUI but once you get comfortable, you may want to get familiar with doing things via the CLI. With SC, this is very easy - there's not much to do via the CLI, most administration is over the web interface. Once you get familiar enough with the CLI, you can gain additional performance by going with Ubuntu Server and doing away with the GUI entirely.

pfarrell
2008-05-15, 18:47
I'm thinking of having my local repair and "we build it for you" computer shop put together a low powered machine to just stream music, using the Inguz EQ plugin, into the Squeezeboxes and possibly stream video to a few UPNP client devices that now stream from attached USB drives.

The plan is to run Linux, probably Ubuntu and do a software RAID 5 using five 1TB drives.


I would recommend, strongly, that you first take a random used PC and put Ubuntu on it. Learn how it works. get SqueezeCenter working on it.

Yes, you can use any computer with a browser to control it, including tablets or laptops. I used a laptop, to the near complete exclusion of the remotes for my SqueezeBox and Transporter.

If you are having it built, which is actually a pretty good idea, I'd go ahead and spring for a real Adaptec RAID controller. They work better, and are much more robust than the software stuff. And they are not really that much more expensive.

Nearly any modern CPU will work, a low end dual core AMD is more than enough and very cheap these days.

The OS doesn't really matter. I would not recommend learning Linux and SqueezeCenter and WiFi networking all at once. If you know Windows well, you can use it. But Ubuntu is very approachable and will run better than Windows on the same hardware than most Windows systems.

Remember, RAID is not backup. You might actually be better off skipping RAID altogether and just have some external disks that you manually back up once a month.

Sike
2008-05-15, 23:03
I was thinking of going with a Mac Mini. Currently it's running on one of my web servers which I want to get rid off.

The Mac Mini, from what I understand, uses 35-85Watts depending on use.

bobkoure
2008-05-16, 06:03
Just how much is a kwh of electricity in rural Hawai'i?
If you're concerned about power usage (and I am too - at 0.193/KWH), don't forget to pay attention to the power used by the disks. Currently, the current champs (GB/KW) are the WD "green" 1TB. Also think about not using a RAID - just make sure you have a backup. Even if you only backup once a week, how much change was there in your music library over that time?
Then there's wake on LAN (WOL). The idea that your machine will be in suspend (S3 is best) when it's not actually doing anything. Make sure whoever's building a PC for you knows you want this, as it's typically an on-the-motherboard capability.
Processors - last time I checked, the Intel processors had an advantage (performance/KW) over AMD. Depending on your cost of a KWH, this may undo any cost advantage that AMD might have.
Chipsets - there's some variability in power usage between chipsets. I'm out of date on this one, but you might want to google for something like "chipset poser usage"
Power supply - spend the extra $$ on an "80+" power supply. I've had only good experiences with Seasonic PSes.

I'm not really familiar with the horsepower inguz needs. Were it not for that, I'd be pointing you at one of the new Intel 'atom' processors. These were designed for really low power usage (mobile). It might be worth asking on the DIY forum if anyone's built a SC server with one of these - and if they're not running inguz could they please install it temporarily to see if it works OK.

Oh - and rural Hawai'i would be... big island? Wet side of Maui? Molokai? Lanai? Make us all jealous...
My wife's company moved an office to Oahu in the 80's and they were hot for us to both move there, but there weren't any software jobs there for me (the banks all said I was "overqualified") so we ended up not going. Yeah, Oahu's not rural, and I'm not a city dweller, which was another factor in our not going.

Finally - is there anything going on in HI with solar? Here in MA (and in CA) there are huge tax rebates, both for PV and for heat/hot water. Enough that payments on a 10 year loan for the remaining cost on a "supply all the electricity we need" PV system would be the same as what we're paying for electricity (tied to the grid - battery systems are still 'way expensive). Hard to say no

Matt Wise
2008-05-16, 11:47
Just thought I'd point out that I've been running SqueezeCenter 7 on Ubuntu on my Fit-PC (http://www.fit-pc.com/new/) for months now with great success. It uses less than 5 watts at full draw, and less than 3 at idle!

http://www.fit-pc.com/new/specifications.html

I've actually just replaced it with something a little bigger, so its for sale ... in case anyone wants it!


(I ended up replacing it with an Artigo Pico-ITX kit because I was bored...)

arekkusu
2008-05-16, 13:19
Hi!

I just registered to the forum. I recently ripped all my cd collection and wanted to put in a server with some other service.

The initial plan was to use an old computer but I has some problem with it so I build a new one for cheap. (changed CPU + RAM + MB + the PSU which was rather crappy)

It's not as low power as a laptop or NAS but with a power efficient AMD (I have a EB2350, about 80$), a small AMD960V (integrated video) motherboard it really should consume all that much. with 1GB of ram and a 380W antec 80Plus power supply it all come to less that 250$ (in Switzerland at least)

Just an example :) A server like that is especially interesting if you're planning to run some other service on it too.

Harry G
2008-05-19, 14:24
Guys,

Thank you very much for the info and wisdom. I've forwarded and discussed with my friends at the computer store.

Pat; I'm taking your suggestion about the hardware controller. Was a bit surprised by my retailer's advice that I then needed a spare controller as a backup, the logic being that if the controller goes bad the same model's firmware is needed. Oh well, another hundred bucks but it makes sense. I'm going to load Ubuntu on my daughter's old laptop and stress the poor thing (the PC, not my daughter) as a learning project.

Bob; I'm on Big Island. a kw/hr here is $.3752 and rising monthly. There are tax credits for solar but just for heating water. I have a few neighbors "off the grid" but all appliances and electronics they buy has to be 12 volt. There are more modern 117v systems but no one I know can afford them.

As far as being jealous, location is always a trade off. I dream of visiting a Fry's or being able to buy a shirt that doesn't have flowers or say "Hawaii" on it. Our only concerts are by has-been rock acts. I'd kill for good Mexican food and our lack of radio stations is what got me to start such a silly-big music collection when hard drives got large enough to make it practical and there wasn't yet internet radio.

While there's now a "Tech-Center" on Maui, you're still probably unemployable here but now there are lots of guys who telecommute to the mainland and Asia.

RonM
2008-05-22, 19:58
Just thought I'd point out that I've been running SqueezeCenter 7 on Ubuntu on my Fit-PC (http://www.fit-pc.com/new/) for months now with great success. It uses less than 5 watts at full draw, and less than 3 at idle!

http://www.fit-pc.com/new/specifications.html

I've actually just replaced it with something a little bigger, so its for sale ... in case anyone wants it!


Matt, I'd like to hear more about your FitPC experience. The little box seems like the perfect server solution, for a dedicated music server. I might even be interested in buying yours. . .

Actually, the full retail price (under $300 with Ubuntu installed) is pretty decent -- although you'd have to buy an external hard drive, and it doesn't come with any peripherals, e.g. keyboard, monitor, etc.

RonM