Old silent PC recommendation.

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mickbald
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Old silent PC recommendation.

Postby mickbald » Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:10 pm

I seem to remember a while back there was a recommendation for a small, silent PC that could be used as a music server in a lounge. I cannot find it now.

Can anyone point me to it please?

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Re: Old silent PC recommendation.

Postby STodd » Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:15 pm

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Re: Old silent PC recommendation.

Postby mickbald » Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:25 pm

Thx, I'll have a look at the various specs.

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Re: Old silent PC recommendation.

Postby mojo » Fri Feb 02, 2018 6:36 pm

I'm not sure that any standard NUCs are completely silent. I ~think~ they all have fans, though they are very quiet on the ones that I have (I've got four of them in various places). So it does depend on exactly how quiet you need them to be.

If you do want completely silent then there are people that repackage them in silent cases, or there are companies such as Akasa that make heatsink-based fanless cases that you can fit your own NUC motherboard into.

It's a bit of a minefield - I bought an MSI Wind (cheap, it's true) to use as a media PC and although it's supposed to be low noise I could not tolerate the background whine from the tiny fan in it (which changed in pitch as the load on it changed) - so it's worth reading the reviews before buying one...

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Re: Old silent PC recommendation.

Postby wyjsar » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:51 am

My NUC came from QuietPC - so modded to make it as quiet as possible. 2TB SSD on board so no spinning discs.
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Re: Old silent PC recommendation.

Postby ACE_VENTURA » Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:24 pm

wyjsar wrote:My NUC came from QuietPC - so modded to make it as quiet as possible. 2TB SSD on board so no spinning discs.


SSDs are a must for music servers. I bought a 1 TB for just over £200

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Re: Old silent PC recommendation.

Postby mickbald » Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:58 pm

Thank guys, been looking into this. The idea was to replace the old laptop that works fine but only runs W8 and has a knackered battery. I only use it for Spotify and streaming from the NAS or external drive. Options are too expensive so I'll stay as we are for the moment.

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Re: Old silent PC recommendation.

Postby mojo » Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:14 pm

I hate to disagree (well no, actually I like to disagree) but an SSD isn't really critical for a music server. Any modern OS will be reading massive chunks of file way ahead of demand, so the data will spend most of its time buffered in main memory - in terms of disk access it's not very demanding at all.

For small media frontends I use a NUC with the smallest decent SSD I can get away with (e.g. 120GB) which is usually more than enough, because I don't store any music at all on the frontends.

For my media backend server I use a small SSD for the OS, and a big conventional disk for the content. If you try to do all of the storage on an SSD it will cost a fortune and you won't gain anything at all in terms of performance. I don't care about the noise of a spinning disk (which is almost silent anyway) because the server is hidden away in a cupboard in a remote part of the house (the servant's quarters).

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Re: Old silent PC recommendation.

Postby David H » Sat Feb 17, 2018 5:31 pm

I use a Zotac Zbox nano silent, fanless, heatsink based PC with small SSD. Cheap & works well. I have a NAS in a different room.
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Re: Old silent PC recommendation.

Postby callen24 » Sat Feb 17, 2018 5:37 pm

David H wrote:I use a Zotac Zbox nano silent, fanless, heatsink based PC with small SSD. Cheap & works well. I have a NAS in a different room.


how much do they cost?
link?
does it do video streaming to?
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Re: Old silent PC recommendation.

Postby David H » Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:14 pm

callen24 wrote:
David H wrote:I use a Zotac Zbox nano silent, fanless, heatsink based PC with small SSD. Cheap & works well. I have a NAS in a different room.


how much do they cost?
link?
does it do video streaming to?

Prices vary across the range and between suppliers. I spent £350.
If you Google Zotac Zbox nano, you can't go wrong.
Yes. It's a Win10 PC so it'll do most things except make the toast. Though it does run quite hot so, maybe?

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Re: Old silent PC recommendation.

Postby roadsterg » Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:53 am

My favourite is the Gigabyte Brix 2807
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Gigabyte-Brix-GB-BXBT-2807-Ultra-Compact-Mini-Barebone-PC/111470233973?epid=219488844&hash=item19f424c975:g:AFcAAOSwjqVZIqlm

This requires the addition of memory and a solid state drive plus a small and cheap 15" or 17" vga monitor and a mouse and keyboard. I would also recommend a Windows 10 license key available very cheaply on Ebay.

It has a 1Gbit Ethernet socket and more than enough CPU power for typical player software.

I run two of these and they have been completely reliable over several years.

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Re: Old silent PC recommendation.

Postby zippy » Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:34 pm

an SSD isn't really critical for a music server


not in terms of performance, but of course SSD's are completely silent, that's their potential advantage.
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Re: Old silent PC recommendation.

Postby mojo » Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:01 pm

Agreed - a few years back I was using Asus mini-PCs as MythTV frontends, and the clunking of even a laptop hard drive was noticeable when the soundtrack was quiet. I suspended the HDD from fishing line (plenty of space in a 3.5 inch drive bay) and that helped, but an SSD would have solved that issue, if they had been affordable then.

I also agree that the Gigabyte Brix are great value and even the lowest spec should have enough grunt for music streaming. However if you prefer digital optical out to your DAC in preference to USB (I do, because of the complete electrical isolation) you need to be aware that quite a lot of the lower-end NUC derivatives don't have one. It's frustrating because the early NUCs all had one - often stealthed into the headphone output - and then someone in production decided to save money...

Technically it's easy to extract the digital audio from the HDMI out, and HDMI-Toslink converters are fairly cheap, but my experience of them is that they often don't work very well!

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Re: Old silent PC recommendation.

Postby Ianmac » Sat Feb 24, 2018 3:15 pm

Been playing with USB galvanic isolators that will ensure complete electrical isolation between PC and DAC USB.
Working extremely well and not overly expensive.
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=31445&sid=7168dd806335d02baa3111e96112f6d8#p358660
Sytem 1.
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System 2
Engineered SA-NMR Renderer (Ianmac PSU) :Benchmark DAC1.Sony CDP D11 pro: 2*-Hypex Ncore monos: Kef ref1-2.
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