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want to build dedicated music PC
denti
post Nov 25 2013, 21:23
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So I'd like to build a quality, but cheap, PC which will only be used to rip CDs and play FLAC through J.River.

I'd like it to be fanless, quiet, and good quality. I'm a bit skeptical of the C.A.P.S. systems over at computeraudiophile.com, though I would be happy to hear that those are a good deal and worth the investment. I already have a Juli@ soundcard, which I could integrate into the PC, or not. I would fine outputting USB or optical.

Suggestions?
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pdq
post Nov 25 2013, 21:44
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Personally I would go with a netbook PC, USB sound card and a USB external drive for ripping. Low cost, low power, takes up little space, and silent operation.
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DVDdoug
post Nov 25 2013, 21:59
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QUOTE
used to rip CDs...
Here is ripping quality information collected via AccurateRip.

As long as you have a low-noise soundcard, playback should be acceptable (better than human hearing).

It doesn't take anything special in terms of CPU power or memory to play 2-channel stereo, or to rip CDs.

If you were recording, or doing multi-track production, things can get more specialized & more demanding.


(I don't know anything about fanless PCs.)

P.S.
QUOTE
...which will only be used to rip CDs and play FLAC through J.River.
A few years ago, I needed a laptop for a particular short-term purpose. It ended-up in my living room connected to my home theater system (for playing MP3s). Later, I regretted not getting one with HDMI. My new laptop has HDMI and a Blu-Ray drive.

This post has been edited by DVDdoug: Nov 25 2013, 22:21
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dutch109
post Nov 25 2013, 23:21
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You can build such computer with a mini ITX motherboard and fanless components.

If you use a pico PSU, a fanless chassis and motherboard, a SSD and no hard drive you will have absolutely zero noise (apart from the eventual optical drive).

I recommand Streacom chassis, as they have very good passive cooling abilities, and can handle the heat of most Core i3/i5 CPUs without problems. I own a FC8 evo, and am very happy with it.

This post has been edited by dutch109: Nov 25 2013, 23:23


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Brand
post Nov 26 2013, 01:02
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Also have a look at Fanlesstech for some ideas.

This post has been edited by Brand: Nov 26 2013, 01:04
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denti
post Nov 26 2013, 01:31
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QUOTE (dutch109 @ Nov 25 2013, 23:21) *
You can build such computer with a mini ITX motherboard and fanless components.

If you use a pico PSU, a fanless chassis and motherboard, a SSD and no hard drive you will have absolutely zero noise (apart from the eventual optical drive).

I recommand Streacom chassis, as they have very good passive cooling abilities, and can handle the heat of most Core i3/i5 CPUs without problems. I own a FC8 evo, and am very happy with it.


So the HD with music would be external through USB? Is that ideal?
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yourlord
post Nov 26 2013, 03:30
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QUOTE (denti @ Nov 25 2013, 19:31) *
So the HD with music would be external through USB? Is that ideal?


Won't make any difference as far as audio quality. I was going to suggest storing the FLAC files on a remote machine and simply play them over the network. Thatway even the spinning HDD is even removed from the area you are listening in.
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RonaldDumsfeld
post Nov 26 2013, 13:27
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Last year I built a silent audio only PC using standard socket 1155 components and a 2.6 GHz T series Pentium (ultra low power). Fanless Power supply and SSD. It does have fans but they only come on @ delta T +55. Which so far has never happened except during testing. Runs Reaper, Ableton and Traktor sweetly.

If I was to do so again today I would look at the new Intel NUC boards.

These are effectively laptop chips bonded to a board on the other side of which lies an SSD. The case acts as a heatsink, fits in the palm of your hand and is even dustproof.

Here is an example.

NUC example.

Silent case only

ed. + links

This post has been edited by RonaldDumsfeld: Nov 26 2013, 14:00
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edwardar
post Nov 26 2013, 13:36
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A Shuttle XS35GT, which may suit you. This is a 'nettop' with an Atom CPU (there are various versions). It's well build and small.

The onboard audio suffers from interference when the DVD/CD drive is used (I use a behringer external DAC), but this doesn't look like it would be an issue for you.

I run linux on mine, but it can run windows too.
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dutch109
post Nov 26 2013, 19:58
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QUOTE (denti @ Nov 26 2013, 02:31) *
So the HD with music would be external through USB? Is that ideal?

It depends on how much music you have, and your budget.

SSD are silent but expensive. On the other hand you can get a 3.5" 4TB hard drive for ~200$ and fit it inside pretty much any mini ITX chassis. It will produce some noise, but I'm sure you can find low noise hard drives, especially if performance is not an issue.

This post has been edited by dutch109: Nov 26 2013, 19:58


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http://playnoise.com/
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skamp
post Nov 27 2013, 08:11
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For low noise and low heat operation with large enough storage capabilities, if an SSD is not an option, I suggest using two 2.5" hard drives in a 3.5" adapter, in a RAID 0/1 configuration. That's what I'm currently using in my silent PC, and it works better (IME) than large 3.5" HDDs.

This post has been edited by skamp: Nov 27 2013, 08:15


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Porcus
post Nov 27 2013, 10:02
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This does not fulfill the OP's request, but I am using a Dell Mini 9 netbook for playback. Can be eBayed for < $100 and is fanless and has an SSD. Audio out over USB. (In my case, just a USB-to-SPDIF.) Storage is external of course (spinning drives --> different room).

Compromises:
- Slow on large media libraries (I have literally thousands of CDs ripped), but as I use foobar2000 I can restrict to a few metadata fields.
- No eSATA (then you need to hack the hardware, unless there happens to exist some adapter that fits into a memory card slot), so I use a different computer for ripping CDs. (USB is a hit-or-miss when it comes to C2 error information, useful for secure ripping).


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aztec_mystic
post Nov 27 2013, 10:32
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I'd look into the latest generation on Mini PCs. Gigabyte Brix, Intel NUC, etc. External CD drive for ripping (some of this has already been suggested). Some builds won't be fanless, but they'll usually be sufficiently quiet under low load such as music playback.

This post has been edited by aztec_mystic: Nov 27 2013, 10:35
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