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Building the ideal(ish) Music Server

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Thanks for the encouragements guys. 
 

i have acquired two new mobo’s and Intel M.2 SSD 800P for this new R&D. Still waiting for my i7-9700 cpu and
some electronics/parts from Mousers for the power supplies. 
 

AudioPC will be running from RAMDisk with Win Server 2019 in core mode, with HQPlayer and room acoustic Convolution. Hardware will be Gigabyte mATX with one pcie 16 for USB card, PCIe for Ethernet card. Both power by external chokes input mod Upton Powersupply you saw here. The server in itself will be power the revised ATX management with vintage Western electric choke individually input for each power rails, 3.3Vdc, 5Vdc, -5Vdc, 12vdc and -12vdc. 
 

serverpc will be i3 4.2Ghz. PCIe for ethernet card time connect direct to Audiopc for Roon and HQplayer. Software will also be Win server 2019 in core mode with 2x5TB 2.5” sea gate HDD and 2TB Samsung SSD for 256 DSD only. This is not necessarily be operate by ramdisk. it is more likely be via Intel M.2 SSD.  

 

That is pretty much in a nutshell, guys. 
will keep you update on my progress.. 

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@Chanh I'd put that M.2 on a separate PCIe slot and powered independently... I'd even shield it! They're noisy as hell.

 

Ethernet or optical? The cards aren't so expensive and most do a good amount of CPU offload.

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3 hours ago, rmpfyf said:

@Chanh I'd put that M.2 on a separate PCIe slot and powered independently... I'd even shield it! They're noisy as hell.

 

Ethernet or optical? The cards aren't so expensive and most do a good amount of CPU offload.

Cheers! I am still with two minds about this. I think for the benefit of the doubt, I will give both a chance then decide by ears as humanly possibly can. 

Ultimately, I provision no M.2 SSD attached. Bios will load the image into Ramdisk via usb3.1 every time the audiopc is turning on. This will also to eliminate built up in the registry, temporary catches...., for which can also influenced the SQ performance. For those unsure, try to do a fresh install every now and then on your audio pc, you will be glad to know (based on my personal experiences only)  that SQ can improve noticeable every time you reinstall fresh OS again... Don't take my words for it, give it a go and do the evaluations yourself.     

 

Communications between Roon server to audiopc is direct Ethernet protocol. Each pc is doing it own task without interfering another.  

 

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2 hours ago, Chanh said:

Cheers! I am still with two minds about this. I think for the benefit of the doubt, I will give both a chance then decide by ears as humanly possibly can. 

Ultimately, I provision no M.2 SSD attached. Bios will load the image into Ramdisk via usb3.1 every time the audiopc is turning on. This will also to eliminate built up in the registry, temporary catches...., for which can also influenced the SQ performance. For those unsure, try to do a fresh install every now and then on your audio pc, you will be glad to know (based on my personal experiences only)  that SQ can improve noticeable every time you reinstall fresh OS again... Don't take my words for it, give it a go and do the evaluations yourself.     

 

Communications between Roon server to audiopc is direct Ethernet protocol. Each pc is doing it own task without interfering another.  

 

You could do that direct connection Ethernet over optical - good Mellanox cards are cheap on eBay, and they power independently very well 

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On 12/11/2019 at 10:58 AM, Chanh said:

Cheers! I am still with two minds about this. I think for the benefit of the doubt, I will give both a chance then decide by ears as humanly possibly can. 

Ultimately, I provision no M.2 SSD attached. Bios will load the image into Ramdisk via usb3.1 every time the audiopc is turning on. This will also to eliminate built up in the registry, temporary catches...., for which can also influenced the SQ performance. For those unsure, try to do a fresh install every now and then on your audio pc, you will be glad to know (based on my personal experiences only)  that SQ can improve noticeable every time you reinstall fresh OS again... Don't take my words for it, give it a go and do the evaluations yourself.     

 

Communications between Roon server to audiopc is direct Ethernet protocol. Each pc is doing it own task without interfering another.  

 

I confidently predict you won't be in two minds regarding an M.2 card once you've heard its excruciating effects!

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I'm pointing out that there’s more to SGM servers than just a good power supply; the ram they use is custom built to their spec and then matched to extremely high tolerances, which they say is very wasteful and therefore expensive.

 

I’m not saying they’re the best, I’ve not heard them although I’m sure a significant portion of their cost is the casework.

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40 minutes ago, realysm42 said:

I'm pointing out that there’s more to SGM servers than just a good power supply; the ram they use is custom built to their spec and then matched to extremely high tolerances, which they say is very wasteful and therefore expensive.

 

I’m not saying they’re the best, I’ve not heard them although I’m sure a significant portion of their cost is the casework.

not sure about the ram is custom built. I for sure knew that they did is no speciality but load up from ramdisk. Infor from JPlay forum. see photo. 

As for PSU, you will be laughing your gut off when found its lid opened.... Actually you will be pretty p!ssed if you paying for it. Same psu in a server Sold by Phil Audio optimiser for $US5k. 
 

yes - ECC Ram appears abit more organic sounding... other than that..., remains questionable! 

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2 hours ago, realysm42 said:

I’ll find the quote but the manufacturer did say it’s unique ram.

Sure... But what's unique about it? You're more likely to get a significant audible difference in how RAM is powered than anything else.

 

RAMdisk running isn't too hard.

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I’m not the manufacturer, I don’t have to explain what they claim on their behalf - if you care that much find it yourself.

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1 hour ago, realysm42 said:

I’m not the manufacturer, I don’t have to explain what they claim on their behalf - if you care that much find it yourself.

Was just asking out of interest. It's tricky though, all our audiophoolery, the but making the most difference (motherboard) is the one thing we cant customise.

 

(With any sense of relative ease)

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2 hours ago, rmpfyf said:

Was just asking out of interest. It's tricky though, all our audiophoolery, the but making the most difference (motherboard) is the one thing we cant customise.

 

(With any sense of relative ease)

Fair enough.

 

My trusted audio dealer in the UK showed me a motherboard he’d modified for audio; he’d effectively ‘shut down’ parts of it by inserting some sort of circuitry on the underside of it - that’s getting way beyond me lol.

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4 hours ago, realysm42 said:

Fair enough.

 

My trusted audio dealer in the UK showed me a motherboard he’d modified for audio; he’d effectively ‘shut down’ parts of it by inserting some sort of circuitry on the underside of it - that’s getting way beyond me lol.

 

Sone that before.... Two motherboards later I learned that my soldering skills needed work :)

 

I reckon there's some magic in the BIOS, much hackery to be had of use for a board with good basics. Super skills there tho. 

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Finally I managed to get Windows Server 2019 boot from RAM. The initial booting and loading into ram takes several minutes. A good working progress for software part. Next is to complete the linear PSU then a gtg one Sunday?! 🥳

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I had a listen to my trail server from the entire OS loaded into RAM.  The motherboard has everything disable including the video output. PCIe network card and PCIe usb card are the only two attached and operational. Operating from RAMDisk was a significant step up on SQ and I highly recommend you to give it a go.  Another step up was to disable the video output via bios. Note - you need to ensure that your sever is boot up consistently prior doing the disabling the video output. Another significant SQ improvement without damaging your bank account. 

 

When I find sometime this festive break, will write up a manual on how to achieve a more refined high-end server at low-end diy investment. 

 

 

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Spending my Christmas break with this project... dual pc setup.
Control-PC with only Roon via WS2019 core mode ethernet to Audio-PC with only HQ-Player and my Accuphase DC-950 driver, operates from RAMDisk WS2019 core mode. 

 

will post the hardwares infor once I am happy with the listening outcome.  
 

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Big changes there @Chanh, keep us posted and good luck. 

 

The contents of your second image would render me quite musical also.

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2 hours ago, rmpfyf said:

The contents of your second image would render me quite musical also.

Records showed I tend to make better assessment/judgement(s) when accompany by the nice good Red. 
 

On a serious note - This combo is no kidding..., hey!. Once completed, I will share a  Uptone JS-2 powesupply clone that you can diy for approx $350, pending parts selection...  

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Looks good Chanh.

When it's up and running I'd enjoy a shootout with my Accuphase streamer. 

 

Let me know.

Cheers

Andrew

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5 hours ago, a.dent said:

Let me know.

It was a fun session last time round. Few years back now I think when we did this shootout... The findings was clear by the majority, yourself included? 

 

Worth my last iteration recently, I think this time round will be more so interesting.... Definitely a fun session bounce to be for all to enjoy... 

  

A gtg at yours or mine? 🥳

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And my "Accuphase" streamer is upgraded since the last time.

sMS-200 Ultra Neo now. Somewhat different.

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9 minutes ago, a.dent said:

Best at yours I think.

You have much more gear.

Oh yeah... you haven’t heard my Technics SP10 mk3 table with Kuzma arm and Accuphase cart? With the right records, I often question myself “Why the heck am I bothering with Digital?” 😂

 

should come for an audition @a.dent!

Edited by Chanh
Typo

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