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 Post subject: My 100% silent music(media)-server + some thoughts behind
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:20 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:10 pm
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Location: Denmark
This isn't the most advanced build as such but I still think some here could maybe get a kick out of seeing it. But first a little background info :wink:

Since 2005 I have been running a Slimserver music server on a G4 Mac Mini. At first it was making due with the internal storage and only on when I was listening to music and/or using the thing as a little office computer. Eventually the world moved on an I stopped running Office apps on the mini and I had to add an external drive for storage - by that time I also added FTP server and some other stuff so I turned into running it 24/7.

My mini was pretty quiet, even with the external drive, and while it did the job I started dreaming of something 100% silent. I considered putting in a basement, hiding it in a kitchen and what not but not wanting to add wireless networking or long cables that didn't happen. Then SSD drives appeared and I started waiting for the capacity to go up and the prices to come down and then the Mini died this summer sort of forcing my hand a bit.

I spend a good deal of time looking at all sorts of boards, CPU's, SSD's, PSU's and so on and of course also cases. I even went as far as posting some thoughts in the newbie section of this forum (and received 0 responses - there is not much happening in that part of the forum).

The part that caused the most seeking was the case. My thought on the case was to find a tall one with ventilation holes near the bottom and the top - the idea being that the hot components would heat up the air which would rise and that flow of air would then be sort of a chimney effect. Now I only found one case that seemed to offer what I sought after but with it being silly expensive and also impractical in some ways I made my own instead. Partly to save costs and partly because I was not sure if going 100% silent would work, so I ended up using a simple cardboard box as base ($1 at IKEA)!


Here is how it came out.

Box with mainboard, on/off-switch, power socket and air holes:
Image

Drive rack with drives mounted:
Image

Box with all things mounted. I had planned to mount the drive rack in the "case" with some extra support but the rack fits so neat it is unneeded (even moving it around is fine):
Image

Front of case - the "fire" button is one I had laying around from another project. The keyboard in front is to provide a sense of scale - I only control the server remotely it is not connected:
Image

Rear/side of case. I cut out air holes on three of the sides coming to 18 holes in all with them all being 5x5cm, so 5x5x18=450cm2 in all. The two wires seen going in are power and network, the red and black one next to case is just clutter on my desk:
Image

And finally a shoot of the hardware monitor program I run. When idle the mainboard reports aprox. 35 celsius above room temperature and the drives 17, 21 and 24 celsius respectively. I am rather surprised to see the big difference in drive temperatures, but it does follow that heat rises and the results are consistent. In the shoot I have the system CPU and drives working out a bit rescanning my whole music library, so the CPU is extra hot but the drives hardly show a rise in temperature. To get the drives hot it takes running them hard for more than just a few moments:
Image


All in all I am reasonably happy with the result. The cardboard box look is a little rough so maybe I will eventually fabricate something else, however for testing out if going 100% silent works it has been perfect so far. Easy to work with, cheap and fun.

The server is running Linux(Ubuntu) for now - working mainly as a SlimServer (music server) and FTP server . It was a bit of a pain to get just as I wanted with silly little issues taking much work to clear up. Even now I am not absolutely sure it is running optimal with regards to hardware power saving, like for instance controlling the graphics hardware side of things and was it not for a Windows OS costing stupid much I would likely go that way.


Specs and cost:
$226 ASUS E45M1-I DELUXE
$64 PSU: PICO-PSU 90 (Note - this requires 12V DC input)
$49 80W AC Adapter
$39 Memory: 2x2GB, Corsair
$213 Storage: Kingston SSDNow V200, 256 GB
$213 Storage: Kingston SSDNow V200, 256 GB
$213 Storage: Kingston SSDNow V200, 256 GB
$2 Fire button
$1 Case bought at IKEA
$0 OS Linux Ubuntu
=================
$1020 including 25% VAT. Postage not included.

Also used a bit of wiring and cables but I had that lying around.


It bugged me spending so much money on the PSU and AC adapter but I could not find it cheaper while sticking to brand names (also there is supposedly some bad copies of the PICO-PSU's out there, so look out).

Thoughts, critique and questions are welcome.

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Last edited by BZD on Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: My 100% silent music(media)-server + some thoughts behin
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:04 am 
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Very cool. 8)

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 Post subject: Re: My 100% silent music(media)-server + some thoughts behin
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:33 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:37 am
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Location: Romania
Gotta love the red button.
Can't stop thinking about the possibilities:
- a plastic cover for the button, plus some message like: Don't push the RED BUTTON!!! Maybe a picture of Dee-Dee trying to push it...
or
- a funny drawing with the red button being the nose of a drunken dwarf, or something... endless possibilities :)

Maybe you should start a contest :)


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 Post subject: Re: My 100% silent music(media)-server + some thoughts behin
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:45 pm 
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Gotta love cardboard !!!
nice build :)

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 Post subject: Re: My 100% silent music(media)-server + some thoughts behin
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:50 pm 
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love it!
I made one with a snowboard box once. 10" wide, 4 " thick and 80" tall. -great convection. (but that was in the days of maxtor 9GB noisemakers, and before pico's and other fanless PSU's, so it wasn't silent like yours...)

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 Post subject: Re: My 100% silent music(media)-server + some thoughts behin
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:19 pm 
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Location: Sweden
Even thou its a cool concept for a true DYI build, the cost is staggering for a music server with less then 1TB space.


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 Post subject: Re: My 100% silent music(media)-server + some thoughts behin
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:07 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:10 pm
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Location: Denmark
Thank you all for the kind words and creative thoughts.

I too have been looking at the red button and considering what to do with it. One thought is to go all military on it and try and give the whole case a look with grey camo paint, decals of some sort, fake rivets and some labels around the button. A more peaceful one is to simple put a clown face on it making the red button fit in as the nose. No decisions made so far.

Image



Also I gotta agree with AckeDman. The cost per GB is high but I wanted the 100% silence and my expectation is that the system will be good for a few years at least. I did consider putting lesser used music on a traditional hard drive to bring down costs but what is less used one month can be in heavy rotation on my stereo the next month so that was impractical.

If my Mac Mini had not died I would have waited for SSD prices to come down even further, However not I had to do something and while I could have build a new server reusing the storage of the Mini I decided to take the plunge.

Along with SSD's I also considered on-line storage solutions but eventually I came to the conclusion the lack of control and long time costs of on-line storage was not appealing. This may change in the future and for anyone considering SSD's not for speed but for silence it may be worth considering depending on exact needs.

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 Post subject: Re: My 100% silent music(media)-server + some thoughts behin
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:33 am 
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Location: Germany
A witty concoction and ingenious design using on-hand materials.

The build proves that truly silent components like SSDs make elaborate damping measures irrelevant. Case materials can now be chosen more freely.

I like the tilted mounting of SSDs in the drive rack, which takes into account the structural properties of cardboard.

As for "clown" versus "military," as long as it's still an Ikea box, I would go with the "clown."

Looking forward to your further builds.


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 Post subject: Re: My 100% silent music(media)-server + some thoughts behin
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:26 am 
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Location: Chattanooga
That case is freakin AWESOME!!!

Simplicity at it's finest, and gets the job done better than any other!

Let us know when you design a laptop based on similar properties!! :D


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 Post subject: Re: My 100% silent music(media)-server + some thoughts behin
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 1:03 am 
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very cool indeed.

i vote for the clown :!:

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 Post subject: Re: My 100% silent music(media)-server + some thoughts behin
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:28 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:10 pm
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Location: Denmark
So it has been a good five years now since I made my little server in a cardboard box and I guess it is high time to report how it worked out.

First since I can see the original pictures has vanished here are three pics from back then:
Image

Image

Image

And I am happy to report that my build has worked really well. Hardware wise there has been zero issues and by that I really mean 0 issues. And that is with the thing running 24/7/365 except for a few weeks, now and then, when I was traveling and knew I would not be needing remote access.

With the box working so dependable I have also been using it for some general file storage and not just music, something which meant I needed to add storage so the original 3x256 GB discs had become 2x256 GB + 500 GB + 1000 GB.

Software wise I grew tired of the Ubuntu . Not that there was anything wrong as such only I found it to time consuming to add functionality, so I found a cheap Win8 license that then later became a Win8.1 and then a Win10 back when upgrading was free. .
Now it is not that the Ubuntu Linux caused trouble as such it is just I know Windows so much better, that when adding function using the later it was much easier for me to do.
I must though say that running Win10 as a server OS has a downside - I absolutely detest that Microsoft forces updates and reboots to the system when they feel like it :evil:

Here are a few pics on how the system looks today:
Image

Image

I bit messy and dusty I know. As a sort of experiment I haven't been removing any dust for like the last 3 years, simply because I want to see how bad it gets in a system that has no fans or filtering. Also I admit that letting the fourth SSD just lay lose in the "case" is rather lazy and not something I recommend.

On the outside the case is as when I build the rig. I haven't yet gotten round to putting on the clown face, so instead here is a close up of the dust build up on the power button seen from inside.
Image


Currently I have no plans to replace the system as it does what I need. However having on occasion also used it for a bit of light office work and enjoyed the silence I am thinking on putting together a new 100% silent machine.

I "need" a machine that has something like Core i7 CPU power, a minimum of 8 GB ram and is able to eun two UHD monitors and playback UHD video.
No idea if it will be feasible - initial thought I need to look at the selection of cardboard boxes at Ikea and maybe of of the new mobile APU's from AMD. I shall make a thread on the project once I get a little further.

Any questions/thoughts on my experince with the cardboard server?
Or maybe on my initial ideas about a new rig?

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 Post subject: Re: My 100% silent music(media)-server + some thoughts behin
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:49 pm 
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I already said this about your original post, and it's still cool. Too bad those images are lost, as they are usually essential for full understanding of posts. You'll be better off to upload the images to SPCR's server; I think there's room enough still for a while. That way, the images will last at least as long as the site does. ;) (Check the file upload utility in the forum post input form.)

Image

That's a pic of a PC in a plastic Ikea breadbox I made eons ago, but cardboard is obviously much more ecological. It's also reasonably safe, as the temperature at which it burns is 427C, way higher than any heat sources in a PC can usually reach.

You could even paint a new fresh cardboard box & put in screen filters to reduce dust inside.

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 Post subject: Re: My 100% silent music(media)-server + some thoughts behin
PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:18 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:10 pm
Posts: 12
Location: Denmark
MikeC wrote:
I already said this about your original post, and it's still cool. Too bad those images are lost, as they are usually essential for full understanding of posts. You'll be better off to upload the images to SPCR's server; I think there's room enough still for a while. That way, the images will last at least as long as the site does. ;) (Check the file upload utility in the forum post input form.)

Image

That's a pic of a PC in a plastic Ikea breadbox I made eons ago, but cardboard is obviously much more ecological. It's also reasonably safe, as the temperature at which it burns is 427C, way higher than any heat sources in a PC can usually reach.

You could even paint a new fresh cardboard box & put in screen filters to reduce dust inside.


I like your Breadbox. Inspiring to see.

You're right about the pictures. It simply makes sense to have images stored where the forum is rather than somewhere separate. I should have the original photos somewhere so I can maybe restore the original post to full glory, that will be better than what I just did with the update even it that did contain a couple of the original shots.

A news card board box might be an idea. For starts though I think I'll end my "how dusty will it get"-experiment and simply remove the dust in the current box.

Since I posted just after new years CES has started and AMD have shown their road map. It looks like there are some interesting Ryzen APU's coming in spring that may just be what is needed. Once I've researched I will do a post on that in the right sub-forum to maybe get input for a new build. Maybe by then I will also have an idea for a fun case-

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