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frugality
2010-01-05, 16:42
I'm dropping some thoughts in case anyone else had been considering running a netbook as a stand-alone/dedicated server for running their Squeezebox:

I picked up a Samsung netbook running Windows 7 for $279 at Best Buy during their Thanksgiving 'cyber Monday' sale, and set it up to run my Squeezebox duet. The reason was twofold: 1) a netbook uses less power, so it'd be good for something that you could leave up and running a lot, and 2) it takes it off of your main computer and puts it on a separate, dedicated device. I really like the web interface in Squeezebox Server -- moreso than using the Duet remote. So I wanted something to set up as a dedicated server next to my couch.

Previously I'd been running Squeezebox Server on my Macbook Pro laptop, set up on a second space in OSX's 'Spaces.' Running Squeezebox Server on the Samsung netbook has worked, but has been a bit of a disappointment. I thought that a netbook would be fine for simply running Squeezebox Server, but it turns out that it's significantly more 'laggy', less responsive. It takes longer for selections to be made, played, and displayed on the web interface. Also, there occasionally is a disconnect between Squeezebox Server and Firefox (or IE that I initially tried, but Firefox works better); the right side of the display occasionally ceases to keep up with displaying the current song, and scrolling through the playlist.

All of this worked much better on my Macbook Pro. Being dual-core, it was much more responsive, and the connection was always maintained between Squeezebox Server and Safari. One of my considerations was to buy a Mac Mini to set up as a dedicated server, but with a monitor and all, it would have cost around $1000. The Samsung netbook was only $279.

I may try converting the netbook over to Linux, since Squeezebox Server is also available for Linux. (though, I don't know if it will run on something like Ubuntu netbook remix) I haven't messed with Linux yet, so that is uncharted territory for me.


Long story short, I just wanted to tell folks who might be considering setting up a netbook as a dedicated music server, that it may not be quite as responsive as on their main computer. I thought that a lightweight processor would be able to handle Squeezebox Server just fine, especially when it's not running any other programs. Maybe I should try upgrading to 2GB of RAM and see if things are snappier.

That said, I do still like running it on the netbook, but it involves some trade-offs.


Also, a big round of applause to the Logitech folks. Though it hasn't always been glitch-free (there were some issues when I upgraded to Snow Leopard on the Mac), the software runs amazingly well, given that it's communicating between the computer, the Duet remote, and the box on the stereo. I love the fact that all of my 350-ish CD's are in boxes in the basement, and I have access to all of my music in the jukebox of 90GB of CD-quality FLAC files, complete with album art.

ajkidle
2010-01-05, 17:41
I may try converting the netbook over to Linux, since Squeezebox Server is also available for Linux. (though, I don't know if it will run on something like Ubuntu netbook remix) I haven't messed with Linux yet, so that is uncharted territory for me.


Good informative post. I'm considering a move to an Atom based dedicated server, so this is interesting to read. With respect to your comments on Linux, I switched my dedicated server from XP to Ubuntu about 6 months ago. Performance is noticeably better on an old Pentium-D with only 512MB on memory. On occasion I use our MacBook (newer 13" aluminum model) as the server and I notice no difference in performance.

This was my first foray into Linux / Ubuntu, and certainly took a bit of googling to figure it all out, but in the end not that hard to do. I'd recommend you give it a go if you're not satisfied with current performance.

pski
2010-01-05, 18:38
Too bad vortexbox doesn't have a distro with a gui..

huytere
2010-01-06, 01:44
I think the market will in 6 months be
flooded with atom bases nettops that do a great job of running sbs at the 100 dollar price point.

JJZolx
2010-01-06, 02:34
I think the market will in 6 months be
flooded with atom bases nettops that do a great job of running sbs at the 100 dollar price point.

I'm afraid it won't. I've been in the market for a netbook and was waiting to see what the new generation of Atom processors and the Pinetrail platform would bring. So far the benchmarks show no increase in either CPU or graphics speed, only a modest gain in battery life. So there's little reason to retire your current netbook to upgrade. Some people have found that the netbook they bought six months ago is either underpowered for their needs or that that they no longer have a use for it, but nobody who paid $275-400 for a netbook in the past year will be selling them for $100.

signor_rossi
2010-01-06, 02:59
Applying the mysql tweaks (search here on the forums) might improve the responsiveness of your web GUI noticeably.
BTW, the funny thing with PineTrail is that the integrated GPU is much less powerful than before, no HDMI out and external display resolution is limited to 1440xsomething max!
EDIT: Also, an AMD platform might not be a bad choice for a dedicated SBS machine, an Athlon X2 3250e with suitable MB and PS (low suspend power requirements are important) with speedstepping/undervolting/suspend setup right.

mdh
2010-01-06, 08:26
(long-time lurker, first time poster).

Fwiw, I've been running a pair of squeezeboxes off of an eeepc 701 with a big USB hard drive attached to it and ubuntu server quite successfully for about a year: no noticeable on the devices themselves or through the web interface.

If you don't mind doing stuff from the command line, it might be worth a go.

bobkoure
2010-01-06, 10:09
I'm using s server with a processor that's actually slower than an atom - a Via C7, running Win2K.
The web interface isn't ridiculously slow - and, indeed, changes to the database options seem to speed it up a bit. See this thread (http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=70371&highlight=vote) if you haven't already.
If you're running windows, there seems to be some benefit in cranking innodb_buffer_pool_size to the point that all your tables reside in memory (that was 192M, your mileage will certainly vary). If you google for "innodb_buffer_pool_size" you'll find a decent explanation as to why.

I'm considering upgrading to an atom based motherboard. Guess I'd ought to check as to whether the server makes use of two cores before I think about a dual core. (Yes, I know transcoding should use a second core, but I've everything in flac or mp3 so they're just streamed directly)

agillis
2010-01-06, 12:00
I may try converting the netbook over to Linux, since Squeezebox Server is also available for Linux. (though, I don't know if it will run on something like Ubuntu netbook remix) I haven't messed with Linux yet, so that is uncharted territory for me.

You could try VortexBox. That way you can get your system up and running using the web GUI then learn Linux later.

johnas
2010-01-07, 09:59
(long-time lurker, first time poster).
Fwiw, I've been running a pair of squeezeboxes off of an eeepc 701 with a big USB hard drive attached to it and ubuntu server

Same here, I re-purposed an EEEpc 701 (running a stripped version Ubuntu 9.04). It does a great job of serving my 2 SB3s and Boom. No issues with a slow web interface, synching etc.

To the OP, you don't have to use Ubuntu netbook remix, the full 9.10 will likely support all your hardware - try the live CD to test it out before you install it.

frugality
2010-01-07, 17:36
I just wanted to drop back in to say that I have been watching this thread, though I haven't posted. Thanks to all for the thoughts/comments! I will look into VortexBox, as well as Ubuntu eventually....