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Fan-less silent PC

MikeP

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I spec‘ed a PC with the same hardware as the one I am building. They want almost $1000 more more money than the folks at QuietPc do for the same hardware in a Streacom case. Is their case worth $900 more? I thought about Rock but decided I wanted control of the OS.
Well, it depends on what you are looking for and how much you are willing to spend.

If the net price difference is 900 USD, then it's probably not worth it. Last time I've checked, their biggest case was around 400 USD from the total build cost. Expensive, but beautifully crafted and assembled. The cooling is very efficient, despite the small form factor.
 

El Cheapo

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Fanless: Macbook Air M1; US $799 at Best Buy currently.

(If it meets the s/w, h/w requirements for the intended applications)
 

pablolie

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I get it, you wanna have some fun and build a thing... BUT it it were me, I'd just get something like this
or any number of fanless industrial PCs availlable on AMZN
Now that is a pretty awesome fanless media server deal! (The fact it comes with Win installed at that price and a fanless PC is incredible, that stuff is half the price). I would get this for my cabin system when some critter finally destroys the ancient laptop I have there.
 
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rwortman

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rwortman

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Fanless: Macbook Air M1; US $799 at Best Buy currently.

(If it meets the s/w, h/w requirements for the intended applications)
I can’t really understand buying a laptop as a server. Keyboard and display not needed, no room in case for more drives.
 
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rwortman

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Oh wow, really? I'm running Roon on a 13-year old Samsung RF711, the only upgrades being a mid-range SSD and RAM expanded to 8GB DDR3. I know there's DSP, upsampling and whatever, but Foobar has had these since, like, forever, and doesn't require an €900 PC for stable playback

EDIT: I don't need a 24/7/365 music server, so maybe that's the limiting factor?
EDIT2: I had my eyes on the 3C (256/16 version), as it has a more adequate set of ports for me.
The post I replied to suggested a PC with a Celeron processor that the Roon guru’s say is insufficient. According to a quick Google search that Samsung featured Core iX processors. Not the same thing. I’ve played around with Fubar and JRiver, and used LMS for years. I tried a two week demo of Roon and that was that. What Fubar can or can’t do isn’t relevant. I have music systems in 4 locations and I stream from Roon to my phone using ARC. It’s annoying to go to play some music and realize I have to go somewhere and turn the music server on. A dedicated server is a real convenience. I also am putting drives in it for file storage. Laptops have no room in the case.

I know there are all kinds of cheaper alternatives. I am using one now. This isn’t a question of need. The 8 year old cheap desktop I have running on the other side of the wall is working fine. Like much of audio, it’s a question of want.
 

pablolie

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I can’t really understand buying a laptop as a server. Keyboard and display not needed, no room in case for more drives.
Depends on your needs. For music, a very old laptop running Linux (regular Ubuntu 22.04) will do admirable sever duties. In my remote place, an old Lenovo X61 (was it issued in 2007?) still does an awesome job, even 24/192 content doesn't push it past 25% CPU utilization and it completely silent. I leave it folded up, never use oit for anything else... and the music is on an external hard drive. HD video server duties also don't push it into using the fan.
As I -and others- said before, totally depends on needs and priorities. If it's music only, an ancient laptop you can get for $close-to-nothing on Ebay will do the job just fine. Getting an i9 for only music server duty is overkill, but hey.
 
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rwortman

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Who said anything about an i9? My design requirement is enough power to run Roon with quick response. It’s own engineers say Core i3 or better. More if serving many endpoints, using DSP, or a large library ( mine isn’t tiny, but not huge but I like fast response so I am putting in an i5. An SSD for the OS and Roon core, a 1tb SSD for music files. The other requirement is a 2.5g ethernet port and 8tb of storage to act as a file server for other PC’s in the house. I have a big PC that is 6 yesrs old that I built as a general purpose PC and gaming rig. I also have an Acer Ryzen 7 laptop. I barely use each of them a couple hours a week. I am going to ditch the big tower and get a laptop dock. Down to one general purpose machine but now I need external file storage so It’s going into my new build.

I know there is a lot of “how cheap can it get and still sound good“ feeling on this site. The trucking company that employed the nitwit that caused my accident is paying me a pretty good settlement. I am 65 years old. I don’t have kids to leave anything to. Some of my buying decisions going forward are going to be driven a bit less by what is cheap that will work and a little more by what is cool that I really want. A box that looks like an audio component that can be an NAS and Roon server is a cool thing that I want to build.
 

dualazmak

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Who said anything about an i9? My design requirement is enough power to run Roon with quick response. It’s own engineers say Core i3 or better. More if serving many endpoints, using DSP, or a large library ( mine isn’t tiny, but not huge but I like fast response so I am putting in an i5. An SSD for the OS and Roon core, a 1tb SSD for music files. The other requirement is a 2.5g ethernet port and 8tb of storage to act as a file server for other PC’s in the house. I have a big PC that is 6 yesrs old that I built as a general purpose PC and gaming rig. I also have an Acer Ryzen 7 laptop. I barely use each of them a couple hours a week. I am going to ditch the big tower and get a laptop dock. Down to one general purpose machine but now I need external file storage so It’s going into my new build.

I know there is a lot of “how cheap can it get and still sound good“ feeling on this site. The trucking company that employed the nitwit that caused my accident is paying me a pretty good settlement. I am 65 years old. I don’t have kids to leave anything to. Some of my buying decisions going forward are going to be driven a bit less by what is cheap that will work and a little more by what is cool that I really want. A box that looks like an audio component that can be an NAS and Roon server is a cool thing that I want to build.

I am very much looking forward to seeing hearing your progress and completion of DIY fan-less audio dedicated PC/Server/Workstation. You would please keep sharing your progress; it will be a nice reference for us all, I believe.
 

Jmudrick

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Depends on your needs. For music, a very old laptop running Linux (regular Ubuntu 22.04) will do admirable sever duties. In my remote place, an old Lenovo X61 (was it issued in 2007?) still does an awesome job, even 24/192 content doesn't push it past 25% CPU utilization and it completely silent. I leave it folded up, never use oit for anything else... and the music is on an external hard drive. HD video server duties also don't push it into using the fan.
As I -and others- said before, totally depends on needs and priorities. If it's music only, an ancient laptop you can get for $close-to-nothing on Ebay will do the job just fine. Getting an i9 for only music server duty is overkill, but hey.
Agreed. Paid less than $200 for my Lenovo T470s, i7 processor, runs Roon core at 20-30x with upsample and EQ, consistent 40C with no fan noise. And the display is nice to have.
 

computer-audiophile

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A small, passively cooled PC with Linux can be sufficient for simple audio tasks. Currently costs about 60 euros as a barebone. Matches perfectly with a cheap topping DAC. ;)

 

Digby

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Who said anything about an i9? My design requirement is enough power to run Roon with quick response. It’s own engineers say Core i3 or better. More if serving many endpoints, using DSP, or a large library ( mine isn’t tiny, but not huge but I like fast response so I am putting in an i5. An SSD for the OS and Roon core, a 1tb SSD for music files. The other requirement is a 2.5g ethernet port and 8tb of storage to act as a file server for other PC’s in the house. I have a big PC that is 6 yesrs old that I built as a general purpose PC and gaming rig. I also have an Acer Ryzen 7 laptop. I barely use each of them a couple hours a week. I am going to ditch the big tower and get a laptop dock. Down to one general purpose machine but now I need external file storage so It’s going into my new build.
This information would have been useful to put in the first post. You already have pretty solid ideas about what you want, so need to be pretty specific from the get go.

The more detail you provide, the less noise by way of reply (and wasted energy for other members).
 

El Cheapo

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I can’t really understand buying a laptop as a server. Keyboard and display not needed, no room in case for more drives.
Macbook Air M1 is probably cheaper, smaller and more powerful than a lot of other "big" machines folks are using ... one can plug in a couple of 4/8/16TB portable disks for storage...

Or mac mini...silent under light loads...has fan though that kicks in at higher loads .

Things have probably improved since 2018:
 
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pablolie

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I get it - building a computer from scratch is fun and allows one to truly build their "dream machine" - not unlike audio components. :) After all it's what I do for my main system every couple of years. It's fun and easy, I'd say the only trick is to watch out for component compatibility and make sure your motherboard of choice supports exactly what you need - CPU socket, memory modules, fans etc... and also compatibility in fit: with some compact cases it's impossible to fit a silent fan (they are obviously larger) etc.

This thread has provided great online communities and shops to get ideas. Personally, if it's for server duty, probably all that's needed is an i3, like this one https://www.intel.com/content/www/u...-12m-cache-up-to-4-20-ghz/specifications.html. If it's a main workstation, hey. go all the way :-D.
 

Prana Ferox

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If I was building a box specifically as a server, to store files I considered precious and couldn't just re-download from somewhere, I would want data protection, at least 2 drives mirrored. I doubt Roon needs high bandwidth so SATA SSDs are likely more than enough. For the boot / Roon drive if you use an NVME drive certainly don't get PCI gen 4 as they all run hot.

If you want 8TB of storage (and don't want to pay for a full drive 8TB+N array of SSD, which isn't that cheap) that puts you on spinning rust though, and HDDs aren't silent, and that also puts you in actual NAS territory. I don't use Roon so I can't speak to CPU requirements, but the Raspberry Pi players all do DSP etc with ease and I'm pretty sure LMS can run on a pocket calculator, it's not like you're transcoding video. Roon's page on NAS is like 5 years old and a modern Celeron blows the doors off a 5-year old i3 so I'm not really sure what their actual minimum hardware is.
 

dualazmak

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"Backup of our treasure digital music library" is really an important issue; we may even better to start new thread on the issue.

I am living in the land of typhoon, earthquake and tsunami; of course I always keep multiple backups, therefore, of my entire digital library in several SSDs (within PCs and also in portable USB 3.0 SSDs), HDDs and NAS at my home and also in remote at my daughter's home and son's (300 km and 100 km away!). Of course, I periodically update the backups in my home at least once in a month and update the remote (daughter's ans son's) backups at least once in 6 months through high-speed optical internet connections.

I essentially do not like, do not fully trust, any of the cloud storage services especially for my large digital music library; I daily use Dropbox, however, for my daily business and for occasional "music sharing", but even with my Dropbox contents I always keep local and remote backups (in off-Dropbax folders) in SSDs, HDDs and NAS.

Fortunately my current iron-frame house is on a little hill with solid ground (free from flood), but almost no way to avoid possible mega earthquake (once in 600 years?) which might happen any place in Japan...
 
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