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daytripper
2011-05-03, 06:30
Hi there

I've a lot of troubles stemming (I think) from running SqueezeServer on a USB HDD - it's practically unusable.

Fortunately(!), my home PC has broken, and I'm looking to replace it. High on my list of requirements for a new machine would be the ability to run quietly as a media server for my SB system.

The system would be used for casual surfing & some work, so I'm thinking a Nettop (compact PC). I have some questions..:

1. Would a Windows 7-based system have the ability to sit quietly in an 'always-on' function and run the SB server? I'd want it running almost silently on minimum power, rather like a Mac can (a Mac is too expensive for me...)

2. Any particular minimum specs needed for this kind of system..? I know very little about buying PCs these days...

thanks!

w3wilkes
2011-05-03, 22:07
WOW, these are very personal questions. Mostly you need to really ask yourself what will do the job for you...

Do you plan on keeping your music on the external HDD or are you planning on getting a large enough HDD in the PC to move your library onboard? Do you run SBS plugins, the more you run the slower the server. If you're planning on using it for work, surfing and email along with hosting your SBS is the small netbook screen really going to do the job for you? Most laptops today run fairly quiet so I don't see the big concern there.

My own opinion is to lean towards overkill, a minimum of a dual core 2.0 GHz, HDD at least 7200 RPM and plenty of room for growth, 4GB memory and 64 bit Windows. You'll notice the difference when it comes to maintenance tasks like rescanning your music, browsing the library from the webUI. Generally a snappier system.

Just my 2

Letten
2011-05-03, 22:43
Hi,

We just use our main PC (a laptop running win7) for SBS amongst other things.

I have stated some the advantages in this thread http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=83337

But in short:
powerfull, core 5i
fast, music on internal disks
low powerusage, 2w-15w
WOL, wake on lan

pablolie
2011-05-03, 22:53
As others have stated - without knowing what you *really* do with it recommendations are hard, and should be taken with a pinch of salt.

The system in my sig is great as an always on SBS, and just draws 20-something watts... but I also have a higher powered system to do real work.

There are now excellent Intel lga1155 boards that have both a lot of umph, aggressive power management features, and fit into a miniITX board that is whisper quiet. For a silent system you ahve to do some research before you buy the components, though - I recommend silentpcreview.com.

yocky
2011-05-04, 00:34
You can go to great lengths (and great expense) to build a silent computer and in some situations it's worth the effort.....but fairly cheap stock components can be pretty quiet these days.

I just built a PC with an Enermax 500W PSU (complete overkill), 3 5400 RPM drives and a 3 GHz dual core energy efficient AMD CPU running the stock fan and I can barely hear it when I put my ear to the case. Runs at about 70W.

It depends how much other background noise you've got going on I suppose.

slate
2011-05-04, 01:40
The machine that yocky put together is powerfull enough for you to use for all daily tasks.

You did mention "quiet" and "minimum power"

Many people here use a ATOM or AMD Brazo based system as they are powerfull enough for SBS and use little power.
And they are fine for casual browsing, especially if you buy the ATOM with added ION graphics or the Brazo; They can accelerate youtube videos and the generel experience.
Actually this is what is inside most Nettop, just look for "ION" and "AMD".

It might be OK for you if you do not do any FPS gaming and depending on what "some work" means.

Otherwise there are more powerfull options that does not use that much more power and still come in small boxes....

Are you looking to buy a finished product or put something together?

"Would a Windows 7-based system have the ability to sit quietly in an 'always-on' function and run the SB server?"

Sure; the system listed in my signature was pieced together 2 years ago. It runs Win7 and from memory it uses 28W when SBS is handing out music.
But not 'always-on', it goes asleep and is then fired up again when I use my Controller or SlimCtrl; they send a WOL package on the LAN interface which "kicks" the server. In my setup it takes 6-10 seconds and then music is playing.

tcutting
2011-05-04, 10:10
Another thing to think about is whether you want your squeezeboxserver and your "main" PC to be the same box? My main desktop PC gets used by every member of my household, with a wide range of software. As a result, it's not unusual to require reboots and/or to experience "crashes". I found it very nice to have the squeezeboxserver running on a separate, low power/reasonably quiet Atom mini PC which runs 24/7 with practically no intervention. I don't have to worry about the music stopping in the living room because my son crashed the PC running some video game.

daytripper
2011-05-06, 06:05
thanks for the replies and sorry for the delay in getting back - the subscribe feature didn't seem to work so I didn't know I had replies waiting..!

My criteria are:

- Must be able to access my music from it using SB at any time - so preferably has a sleep mode like a Mac (can WOL do this - see question at the end?)
- Run quietly when it's 'sleeping'(so towers are out of the question???)
- Mid-price (no more than, say, 400/$600). Ill buy a monitor & peripherals separately

I'll be using if for storing music, surfing the net, some basic work etc. (using MS office) and a little bit of gaming (generally 4-5 year old games).

I'd like to have the server on this machine and having the server on the USB drive has failed utterly for me.

TBH the ideal machine would be a Mac Mini I think but they are so darned expensive & I'm hoping I can get a PC that has the same 'always on/low noise/low power' functionality...

What is 'Wake On LAN' and how would it work in practise? Does it mean I can shut down my computer but the SB would wake it up..?

pablolie
2011-05-07, 08:25
There are several systems available like this one
http://us.shuttle.com/X350.aspx
Note this is not the only one, and I do not work for the company or anything related. It's a neat clean design (IMO) and suffices for browsing and the task you have in mind. (I'd still rather build my own :-))

> - Run quietly when it's 'sleeping'(so towers are out of the question???)

Pretty much any computer will be fairly silent when in low-power sleep mode. But quite a few computers these days can be quiet even under load - they just have to be designed smartly. I have a very quiet office and silence is a big thing for me.

> I'll be using if for storing music, surfing the net, some basic work etc.
> (using MS office) and a little bit of gaming (generally 4-5 year old games).

Like someone else said, any sort of gaming prolly means you want to look for ION graphics at least.

I'd like to have the server on this machine and having the server on the USB drive has failed utterly for me.

> What is 'Wake On LAN' and how would it work in practise? Does it mean I
> can shut down my computer but the SB would wake it up..?

Computers have several low power modes these days. If it's really shut down, nothing other than pushing the "power on" switch will make the computer run.

However, "sleep" mode is something you can enable. Sleep mode is a low power mode that preserves the computer's current status (running programs etc) and thus you don't have to go through boot-up when waking it up. The computer will only draw a few watts in sleep mode.

In sleep mode, the computer will be passively waiting for something to "wake it up" and feed power to all motherboard components again and quickly resume operation. It typically would be a keystroke or mouse click, but you can also enable a function called WOL. It means the computer is waiting for a specific wake-up request from the network. If it's a server, that means that clients can "wake it up" when they have a request for the server. The Squeeze clients support this and will send WOL requests to your sleeping SBS.

One thing to keep in mind is that WOL can be a bit finicky to really get to work in Windows given the vast array pf possible hardware. So I would not 100% count on it to work.

daytripper
2011-05-10, 09:38
thanks Pablo - really interesting little rig, that Shuttle one. I could get it set up with a moderate spec + monitor for under $600...

lrossouw
2011-05-10, 10:47
Depending on what broke on your existing PC a great option for a server is recycling an old PC for use as a server. When I replaced my regular PC a couple of years ago I setup my old PC as a server. Didn't cost me a cent and you are extending the useful life of old tech.

Swimmerbird123
2011-05-10, 13:17
If you were considering the form factor of the Mac Mini but want Windows 7, you could look at the Dell Zino:

http://www.dell.com/us/p/inspiron-zino-hd-410/pd

They currently have a nicely outfitted one for US$549, which includes an AMD 2.3GHz dual core processor, 6 GB of memory, a 1-TB hard drive, ATI graphics card, wireless N card, CD/DVD drive etc. plus an 18.5 inch monitor. One with lesser specs would probably be sufficient for your need too at less cost.

I paid over $600 last year for one with less CPU, less memory, less disk space, integrated graphics and no monitor, but it is still very quiet and powerful enough to run SBS and surf the net at the same time (I use my big TV as a monitor for it and it can stream video to it too). I like it a lot, but I do use a desktop for my main computer work though.

Swimmer

Letten
2011-05-10, 14:22
- Must be able to access my music from it using SB at any time - so preferably has a sleep mode like a Mac (can WOL do this - see question at the end?)
- Run quietly when it's 'sleeping'(so towers are out of the question???)
- Mid-price (no more than, say, 400/$600). I’ll buy a monitor & peripherals separately

I'll be using if for storing music, surfing the net, some basic work etc. (using MS office) and a little bit of gaming (generally 4-5 year old games).

I'd like to have the server on this machine and having the server on the USB drive has failed utterly for me.

TBH the ideal machine would be a Mac Mini I think but they are so darned expensive & I'm hoping I can get a PC that has the same 'always on/low noise/low power' functionality...

Just buy a cheap laptop, with a harddrive big enough for your music and make sure it supports Wak-on-Lan. They are low power and have sufficient power for SBserver and other stuff at the same time.

Windows 7 has much improved suspend function so it wakes very fast.

On my HP laptop, Windows 7 Home Premium, it was very simple to enable WOL. I didn't even have to go in to BIOS, it was enabled by default in the hardware and I just had to enable it in Windows powermanagement.

When suspended our laptop uses 1.7watt

Slabber
2011-05-14, 00:31
One the subject of WoL, I use a very nifty utility called SmartPower (http://ignatu.co.uk/SmartPower.aspx), which tries to hibernate (or suspend) a PC unless certain specified criteria are met (an 'on' schedule, other devices pingable, network activity etc). SB devices send a magic packet anyway of course, and I have the two PCs that connect to my server PC set to send magic packets to the server PC when Windows 7 detects that a network connection becomes operational (a feature of Task Scheduler if you want to do this). Whole thing works brilliantly!