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 Post subject: Totally silent PC? Just use HDMI and/or DVI KVM Extenders?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:52 pm 
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My first post!....and surprise surprise it's a question!

So I've built about 10 or so PC's in my time but only recently (due to a desire to build a PC for audio recording as a DAW) have I become interested in the powerful AND silent types. Boy, does that throw a monkey wrench in everything.

Right now I have 4 computers that I use in the house, and they're all networked together. At the center, I run a server (Windows Home Server ver. 2003) that basically functions as a media server but it also automatically backs up all my other computers. It's got all my movies, tv shows, music, files etc. on four 2TB drives. I've got a small ATOM-based HTPC (Acer Revo with Nvida ION chipset) by the big 65" plasma tv (hdmi out) that streams everything (gigabit ethernet) from the server...1080p no problems. Then I've got a laptop and an office PC as well. Now what's awesome about the tiny htpc is that it's functionally silent and can do one-thing-at-a-time no problem, streams 1080p content to the big 65" plasma or browse the internet, etc. In fact, I've been sort of spoiled in that my "muscles" (the server and/or the office PC) are upstairs in a different rooms...and I can use my silent little Revo HTPC to remote desktop into either of them to process files or do something that the tiny, silent little htpc would complain about. It's a pretty sweet setup, and it got me thinking. Since I am soon going to build a POWERHOUSE computer for audio work...something that would only approach "silent" if watercooling, a royal pain in the butt, was used....the only way to keep something like that silent would be to....you guessed it....put the damn thing in another room. Now obviously I can't be remote-desktoping into it for latency reasons, but it did make me wonder how far along HDMI or DVI KVM (keyboard/video/mouse) extender technology has gotten...and how expensive it is. I mean, once the technology is fast enough and cheap enough, you wouldn't really need to worry about "silent" computers in many settings (like a networked house) as you could just stick it somewhere else and use the extender console where ever you were originally going to place the computer.

So after a little searching I found a higher-end HDMI KVM extender console pair here:

http://www.gefen.com/kvm/ext-hdkvm-lan.jsp?prod_id=10594

It does usb 2.0 and hdmi at 1080p over Cat5 for a grand. Now, yes, that is expensive, but worth it to me if it does what it says it will do.

Here's another extender, this on a Dual-Link DVI KVM model that supports higher resolutions:

http://www.gefen.com/kvm/ext-2dvi-dlkvm-cat6.jsp?prod_id=10257

As you can see, this one is two grand...no thanks...but good to know that it's available.

So finally, my questions:

Have any of you had experience with these types of products, even these specific gefen products?

If so, did you notice any latency issues or problems with 1080p video quality or any other issues?

If I'm gonna drop 4k into my audio computer, I would gladly spend another grand to make it "completely silent" but putting it in another room and using an HDMI or DVI-based KVM extender. All I'd be after is 1080p resolutions at this point, and I'd also need a firewire extender (which they also have) for my external audio interface. Then I'd be able to air-cool my powerhouse audio computer, stick it in another room, and access it all in complete and beautiful silence...right? RIGHT?!?

Tell me why I'm wrong and ruin my weekend. Go ahead.

(thanks for reading :) )


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 Post subject: Re: Totally silent PC? Just use HDMI and/or DVI KVM Extende
PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:30 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
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Location: Monterey Bay, CA
Welcome to SPCR. A lot of people have built pretty powerful DAWs that met their silencing needs without resorting to sticking em in another room...let alone spending that much to do it. Maybe you could back up a bit, tell us what you want to build, what apps you are using, is it a live mic environment, is it a mega-VST build, etc, and we can help you optimize for your needs.

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1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic X-560. 35-40W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 200-230W Rift, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)


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 Post subject: Re: Totally silent PC? Just use HDMI and/or DVI KVM Extende
PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2013 9:34 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 6:39 pm
Posts: 2
Hi Steve. Thanks for the reply.

"Maybe you could back up a bit, tell us what you want to build, what apps you are using, is it a live mic environment, is it a mega-VST build, etc, and we can help you optimize for your needs."

What I'm looking to build:

Sure. I'm looking to build a multiple-partition Xenon-based (2 x LGA2011 E5 series, 95w or 135w) Windows 7 system. One partition would be dedicated to Pro Tools 10/11 using an external firewire audio interface. The other partition would be for general use, but I also do a lot of video and audio transcoding (blu ray transcodes/rips to my server, new cd to FLAC to the server, etc.). I do not care about gaming...(too old :) ). So I wanted to do a larger SSD for the main system drive, a few larger conventional drives for added storage, probably 32 gigs RAM, an upper-mid-level video card capable of handling 1080p video without a sweat and also the ability to drive three monitors, and I was looking to put it all in a larger tower-style case.

Primary Apps:

Pro Tools 10/11, FLAC front-end, various audio/video transcoding software, media player classic & VLC,....and unfortunately, HD FLASH.

Live Mic or Plug-Ins?

Both. Live Mic at the audio interface (AKG C414 into Mbox Pro) with one or two video displays and a pair of near-field monitors. Using both virtual instruments and effects plug-ins for recording and post processing.

---------------

I figured even with carefully-chosen after-market air cooling, a system like that isn't going to be tamed...but I'm no expert. And at night, when I like to record (because it's the most quiet), the noise floor in my target room can get eerily quiet (I live in the country), though I haven't measured it. But you would be correct in assuming that I don't have any hands-on experience in building silent-tuned PC's.

At any rate, yea, I was just curious if any of you has had experience with these higher-end extenders or even possibly some cheaper models that have worked that you know of. I know they are being increasingly utilized in professional studios or mastering rooms nowadays, and I just kinda had my heart set on them. I at least was interested in trying them.

Cheers.

And yes, any silencing tips


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 Post subject: Re: Totally silent PC? Just use HDMI and/or DVI KVM Extende
PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2013 7:25 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
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Location: Monterey Bay, CA
Thanks for the overview :)

I haven't messed with the extenders - perhaps another forum member will chime in. Also, if you haven't already done so, take a look at gearslutz.com. They can probably help you out with more DAW-specific questions.

That said, your setup looks more like a massive HD video editing setup than a DAW and BD transcoder. You sure you need/want all that horsepower/wattage/heat/noise? I've seen people do builds for orchestral arrangements and use a quad core i7. Again, I'm no expert. Here's some thoughts:
- maybe it's better to separate out the live mic recording and the editing function. Instead of spending a thousand bucks for cables, use a silent laptop for recording. Use the monster for editing.
- You don't need a lot of GPU to drive 3 monitors. Any recent graphics card can do this. If you do want the GPU for Open CL / Open GL acceleration, you still only need maybe a GTX 650 class card.
- If you were to step down to an i7, instead of using a server style motherboard, you could get a nice board from Asus with it's excellent Fan Xpert s/w. You could set up a silent profile for low cpu tasks (live mic recording) and a low noise profile for DAW/transcoding work.
- Unless you plan to overclock/overvolt, a top shelf air cooler will beat out a water cooled system on noise.

_________________
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic X-560. 35-40W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 200-230W Rift, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)


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