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 Post subject: Thoughts on my planned fanless music server?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:59 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:10 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Denmark
I'm planning on building myself a little server and before I pull the trigger it would be most welcome to what thoughts you all may have on the project.

Planned hardware:
Motherboard: ASUS E45M1-I DELUXE http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/AMD_CPU_on_Board/E45M1I_DELUXE/#specifications
PSU: PICO 120+AC Adapter http://www.mini-box.com/s.nl/it.A/id.417/.f + ?
Memory: 2x2GB, likely Crucial but undecided
Case: SilverStone Fortress FT03-MINI http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=333&area=en (The plan is to remove the fan and the frame for the optical drive)
Storage: SSD drives enough to hold OS, Music and perhaps a little extra.

Requirements.
- 100% silent, as in no moving parts.
- Able to Logitech Media Server aka. Slimserver and stream various music formats.
- 500 GB storage and room to moderate expansion.
- At least 4 SATA ports
- Digital video connection (DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort)
- Use as little electric power as possible
- Hardware must work with Linux (aka. no driver issues)

Nice to have:
- SATA 3.0, in order to get max benefit from SSD storage.
- USB 3.0
- E-SATA
- Enough power to also stream FullHD video, should I one day need it.

I am wondering about:
- Will things keep cool enough without a fan?
- Which AC adapter to get (I'm in 230V country if that makes a difference)?
- The Silverstone case is crazy expensive. is there an alternative I have not spotted (one with similar chimney like properties)? Maybe I should build something myself - tips?
- I think the Motherboard is a good compromise between price, performance and features. A similar Intel solutions seems more expensive, but maybe I overlooked something?
- Does it matter performance wise if one goes with 2x2GB or 1x4GB and which will use less power?
- What did I forget to consider?

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on my planned fanless music server?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:06 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:22 pm
Posts: 5
Seems like a sensible solution. Notice that if you remove the frame for the optical drive there is only one drive bay left (the 2.5" under the motherboard area). Of course, SSD's don't need such secure mounting - heck, you can tape one to the case just fine...

I think this would not be hard to cool, the chimney design should work without a fan as well. You could even consider buying a super-silent 140mm fan and put it at its slowest speed - that'll guarantee airflow up to the point where you can probably go for a much heavier CPU ;-)


Otherwise, this seems cool. Let us know how it worked out...

(I personally plan to build my new main system into a FT02 - with only one active fan in the bottom and passive cooling for GPU and PSU while using water cooling for the CPU)


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on my planned fanless music server?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:31 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:10 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Denmark
jospoortvliet wrote:
Seems like a sensible solution. Notice that if you remove the frame for the optical drive there is only one drive bay left (the 2.5" under the motherboard area). Of course, SSD's don't need such secure mounting - heck, you can tape one to the case just fine...

I think this would not be hard to cool, the chimney design should work without a fan as well. You could even consider buying a super-silent 140mm fan and put it at its slowest speed - that'll guarantee airflow up to the point where you can probably go for a much heavier CPU ;-)


Otherwise, this seems cool. Let us know how it worked out...

Thank you very much for the input.

I have in fact done the build already only I ended up doing a DIY case while still using the chimney effect. If you like you can check it out here: http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=65100


jospoortvliet wrote:
(I personally plan to build my new main system into a FT02 - with only one active fan in the bottom and passive cooling for GPU and PSU while using water cooling for the CPU)

I use a FT02 for my gaming rig and I love it.

I have not gone for super silent with it but in fact it is really quiet even with me having no less than eight fans running. I have all three bottom fans running at the low setting, plus two CPU cooler fans and the two in the PSU. The beast turns somewhat less silent when playing 3D games because my 7970 could be more quiet but it is still easy within acceptable levels.

As you know the FT02 comes with dust filters and I gotta say that is so nice (even though it would be even better if they came off without opening the case). I consider dust filters a must for all future builds :)

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on my planned fanless music server?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:02 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1730
Location: Switzerland
BZD wrote:
- The Silverstone case is crazy expensive. is there an alternative I have not spotted (one with similar chimney like properties)? Maybe I should build something myself - tips?

Get something easier to cool and you'll have a wealth of affordable/cheap cases to choose from, especially if you use laptop drives wihch aren't that expensive compared to fancy cases and are generally easier to cool.
Note that some small cases come with fanless power supplies which are a good alternative to picos.

BZD wrote:
- I think the Motherboard is a good compromise between price, performance and features. A similar Intel solutions seems more expensive, but maybe I overlooked something?

This motherboard is expensive and runs hot. Perhaps you overlooked the C60M1-I (or other Ontario boards if any are available in your locale). It's about half the price of the E450 board here.
The advantage of the E450 would be video playback but I don't think it's a good idea to spend real money for "should I one day need it", especially since the E450 board might force you to spend extra on cooling and wouldn't be able to stream everything anyway. If you already knew exactly what you wanted to stream and you knew for a fact you'd have a use for such a dual-purpose device, it'd be another story.

Intel's solutions are solid and cheap if you don't mind a fan or if you're OK with only 2 SATA ports. So far as I know, fanless with 4 SATA ports is an AMD niche.

BZD wrote:
- Does it matter performance wise if one goes with 2x2GB or 1x4GB and which will use less power?

RAM performance is irrelevant for your purpose. You don't need 4G anyway so why don't you go with 1x2G which would already be overkill?

BZD wrote:
- What did I forget to consider?

That an SSD would not provide much benefit.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on my planned fanless music server?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:50 am 
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Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2013 4:39 pm
Posts: 26
I wonder if you could store music files on cheaper media such as SD cards. Audio files are usually pretty small anyway, so I wouldn't expect much more latency especially if the computer is smart enough to cache the next file on the playlist.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on my planned fanless music server?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:54 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:10 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Denmark
Thank you for the comments and suggestions.

HFat wrote:
BZD wrote:
- The Silverstone case is crazy expensive. is there an alternative I have not spotted (one with similar chimney like properties)? Maybe I should build something myself - tips?

Get something easier to cool and you'll have a wealth of affordable/cheap cases to choose from, especially if you use laptop drives wihch aren't that expensive compared to fancy cases and are generally easier to cool.
Note that some small cases come with fanless power supplies which are a good alternative to picos.
I looked at lot but I could not find anything suitable when going for totally passive cooling and room enough for at least three drives. Maybe the market has changed a bit since my original post.


HFat wrote:
BZD wrote:
- I think the Motherboard is a good compromise between price, performance and features. A similar Intel solutions seems more expensive, but maybe I overlooked something?

This motherboard is expensive and runs hot. Perhaps you overlooked the C60M1-I (or other Ontario boards if any are available in your locale). It's about half the price of the E450 board here.
The advantage of the E450 would be video playback but I don't think it's a good idea to spend real money for "should I one day need it", especially since the E450 board might force you to spend extra on cooling and wouldn't be able to stream everything anyway. If you already knew exactly what you wanted to stream and you knew for a fact you'd have a use for such a dual-purpose device, it'd be another story.
No question I could have saved a little on the motherboard but with 4xSATA a requirement as well as fanless there wasn't that much choice. I did in fact look at the C60M1-I but the price diff was small and I liked getting USB 3.0 so I went with the E450. But no question with regards to buying for possible future needs - that is often too expensive especially since the future tends to bring other needs not really fulfilled by the future proof gear.

Intel's solutions are solid and cheap if you don't mind a fan or if you're OK with only 2 SATA ports. So far as I know, fanless with 4 SATA ports is an AMD niche.

HFat wrote:
BZD wrote:
- Does it matter performance wise if one goes with 2x2GB or 1x4GB and which will use less power?

RAM performance is irrelevant for your purpose. You don't need 4G anyway so why don't you go with 1x2G which would already be overkill?
Not sure 1x2GB is really overkill but I must admit I have not checked. As it turned out my little server is happy to go with the same RAM type as my desk computer so I grabbed 2x2GB from that and upgraded the big computer with 2x4GB. With ram being so cheap I simply went for "enough" to be on the safe side.

HFat wrote:
BZD wrote:
- What did I forget to consider?

That an SSD would not provide much benefit.
It did bring one over anything else - silence.

The SSD's also mean the rig responds like instantly when changing music or when starting to play as the is no spin-up wait ever. It sure was costly compared to a more traditional storage solution but it does pay me back a bit everyday :)

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on my planned fanless music server?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:59 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:10 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Denmark
gdr wrote:
I wonder if you could store music files on cheaper media such as SD cards. Audio files are usually pretty small anyway, so I wouldn't expect much more latency especially if the computer is smart enough to cache the next file on the playlist.
SD cards was a possible way to go but with my capacity needs it ended up being a fun but slightly more expensive solution than the SSD drives.

I know it is only music but having a somewhat large collection and using lossless compression means that it is 550 GB+ and growing.

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