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 Post subject: Media server fanless build
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 11:52 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:54 am
Posts: 5
Hello all

Happy to have bumped into this forum and have read about a few awesome and inspiring builds too - many thanks all for sharing!

Have been wanting to build a fanless home / media server for a while and finally feel it's almost time. Here is the list of components I am currently thinking of getting (partly based on what has been shared in the forum):
- HDPLEX H3 V2
- HDPLEX 200W LPS + 400W HiFi DC-ATX
- ASRock Z370M-ITX/AC
- Intel Core i7-8700
- Crucial DDR4 2666MHz Non ECC 16GB x 2
- Samsung 970 PRO 512 GB M.2
- Samsung 2TB 860 EVO Sata III

Will run Roon, home automation integrator (e.g.Home Assistant, Grafana), maybe also Plex (or just a simple file server). And will sit in the living room (hence the fanless case & power supply). Mostly overkill but would like to be a little future proof while keeping the power draw reasonable.

Am I getting this about right? Re fanless cases, do they still work well if the room temperature reaches 30degC in summer?

Thanks a lot in advance!


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 Post subject: Re: Media server fanless build
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 5:26 pm 
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Welcome to SPCR.

Sizing your power supply: CPU is 65W TDP. Figure another 30W for motherboard and everything else that plugs into it. So, less than <100W with a stress load. There is zero possibility of you ever..ever..ever approaching 400W :) Actual power use while pushing audio files will be essentially near idle..call it 30-40W (unless super huge library).

- You aren't using the motherboard's analog audio chain are you? I'm assuming this is just a digital file server with a decent DAC somewhere...

- Roon: i7 will be overkill unless your music collection is in the 20k album range. Roon's a bit of a pig when it comes to library size and processor req.. If you plan to transcode video, then an i7 can speed things up.

- pushing digital audio isn't I/O intensive at all. You can go with the cheaper 970 EVO with no diff in noticed performance...or just the big SATA SSD.

Temps: should be fine. Mostly idling CPU and no other big power components.

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 Post subject: Re: Media server fanless build
PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2018 12:40 pm 
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Many thanks Steve for your comments!

CA_Steve wrote:
Sizing your power supply: CPU is 65W TDP. Figure another 30W for motherboard and everything else that plugs into it. So, less than <100W with a stress load. There is zero possibility of you ever..ever..ever approaching 400W :) Actual power use while pushing audio files will be essentially near idle..call it 30-40W (unless super huge library).

Agreed - the issue was that re the linear AC-DC power supply HDPLEX does one with 200W and they only do one DC-ATX at 400W with low noise (aka the "HiFi" edition)... Pretty sure there are other comparable power supplies just too much hassle trying to find another brand checking compatibility etc... Unless you happen to know one? :)

CA_Steve wrote:
- You aren't using the motherboard's analog audio chain are you? I'm assuming this is just a digital file server with a decent DAC somewhere...

Yes that's correct. There is a separate USD DAC (+ a bunch of pi-DACs)...

CA_Steve wrote:
- Roon: i7 will be overkill unless your music collection is in the 20k album range. Roon's a bit of a pig when it comes to library size and processor req.. If you plan to transcode video, then an i7 can speed things up.

Yes - i7 definitely overkill just for Roon. Have around 3k album so more in the i5 area per Brian's post. Unlikely to grow to 20k albums LOL! Thought about having i5-8600. In the end it was the difference in price (50 pounds between the two, or a bit more if going for i5-8400) and the potential to do Plex that pushed it over to i7...

CA_Steve wrote:
- pushing digital audio isn't I/O intensive at all. You can go with the cheaper 970 EVO with no diff in noticed performance...or just the big SATA SSD.
Yes that makes sense. Will change that. Wanted two only to have some separation between program files and data files (also home automation related backup can go straight to the SATA SSD).

CA_Steve wrote:
Temps: should be fine. Mostly idling CPU and no other big power components.

Great. Looks like it will be less than 1kWh draw a day so about 15 pence in the UK! :-) okay plus usage will be a bit higher but still affordable...

I guess not many alternatives to HDPLEX out there in the market at the moment?


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 Post subject: Re: Media server fanless build
PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 5:42 am 
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PSU: My gut feel is the hi-fi stuff for the PSU just doesn't matter when you are pushing digital bits around. Maybe there's a potential for noise if you are using a high priced USB DAC with crappy filtering and powering it via the PC...but optical out for DAC solves that via isolation. <shrug>

Remember that the linked article was using older CPUs with only 4 cores rather than 6.

There's also Streacom and Akasa...but I think HDPlex is the better fit for your needs...unless you want to go really small and use Akasa...not sure if they are Coffee Lake compatible, yet.

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 Post subject: Re: Media server fanless build
PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 5:53 am 
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Thanks Steve.

This particular board does not seem to have an optical out btw. Would have to go for the gaming edition (perhaps should consider).

And yeah the hifi low noise PSU might be a myth. I will probably do a bit more research on the PSU. Just wanted it to be really quiet when operating too. Had some noisy switching power supplies before drove me mad...


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 Post subject: Re: Media server fanless build
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 4:42 am 
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Is it even possible to go linear if you care for efficiency? I've built a linear power supply myself, for my old headphone amplifier. But for a computer I would never be able to use something that. The thought of all those wasted watts would ruin the whole experience.
With a small and also powerful fanless build you probably don't want any extra heat.

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Main: ASRock B85M-ITX | i3-4330 | 16GB DDR3 | Intel 730 240GB | HDPLEX H1-S | picoPSU | No moving parts | Idle 13.9W
HTPC: ASRock H81M-ITX | Pentium G3420 | 4GB DDR3 | Intel 535 120GB | HDPLEX H1-S | picoPSU | No moving parts | Idle 11.2W
Gaming: Intel DH77EB | i5-3570K | GTX 1060 6GB | 16GB DDR3 | TJ08-E | RM750X
Server: ASRock N3150-ITX | ~30TB | G-360 | Idle ~25W


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 Post subject: Re: Media server fanless build
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 4:57 am 
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HDPlex has three different PSU series: the usual switched, one touted as HiFi and is switched, and a linear one. We've been discussing the HiFi switched...I think.. :)

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1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

Support SPCR through these links: Amazon and Newegg


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 Post subject: Re: Media server fanless build
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:00 am 
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Apparently this one: https://www.hdplex.com/hdplex-fanless-200w-linear-power-supply-for-pc-audio-and-ce-device.html is supposed to be efficient (R-core transformer etc.).

I do agree with Steve though: if just pushing digital files around, there is perhaps not much benefit using LPS. I am going to email HDPlex to see what alternatives they have...


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 Post subject: Re: Media server fanless build
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:03 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:54 am
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CA_Steve wrote:
HDPlex has three different PSU series: the usual switched, one touted as HiFi and is switched, and a linear one. We've been discussing the HiFi switched...I think.. :)


Correct - indeed not sure whether there is any real benefit having an AC-DC LPS to go to a DC-ATX switched PS.... There must be a more efficient combo! :lol:


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