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Building a 100% silent media server (only for Music) - Now updated with build result

BlindZenDriverBlindZenDriver Registered User regular
edited September 2012 in Moe's Stupid Technology Tavern
UPDATE: For build result see a few posts down.

I'm planning on building myself a little server and before I pull the trigger it would be most welcome to what thoughts you all may have on the project.

Planned hardware:
Motherboard: ASUS E45M1-I DELUXE http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/AMD_CPU_on_Board/E45M1I_DELUXE/#specifications
PSU: PICO 120+AC Adapter http://www.mini-box.com/s.nl/it.A/id.417/.f + ?
Memory: 2x2GB, likely Crucial but undecided
Case: SilverStone Fortress FT03-MINI http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=333&area=en (The plan is to remove the fan and the frame for the optical drive)
Storage: SSD drives enough to hold OS, Music and perhaps a little extra.

Requirements.
- 100% silent, as in no moving parts.
- Able to Logitech Media Server aka. Slimserver and stream various music formats.
- 500 GB storage and room for moderate expansion.
- At least 4 SATA ports
- Digital video connection (DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort)
- Use as little electric power as possible
- Hardware must work with Linux (aka. no driver issues)

Nice to have:
- SATA 3.0, in order to get max benefit from SSD storage.
- USB 3.0
- E-SATA
- Enough power to also stream FullHD video, should I one day need it.

I am wondering about:
- Will things keep cool enough without a fan?
- Which AC adapter to get (I'm in 230V country if that makes a difference)?
- The Silverstone case is crazy expensive. is there an alternative I have not spotted (one with similar chimney like properties)? Maybe I should build something myself - tips?
- I think the Motherboard is a good compromise between price, performance and features. A similar Intel solutions seems more expensive, but maybe I overlooked something?
- Does it matter performance wise if one goes with 2x2GB or 1x4GB and which will use less power?
- What did I forget to consider?

Bones heal, glory is forever.
BlindZenDriver on

Posts

  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    Just so you know, those Pico PSU do have a little fan in the AC adapter. But from the experience with mine you'll never hear it.

    and you might want to look at just using some really silent mechanical hd's mounted on rubber standoffs. it wont be entirely silent, but enough so that unless your sitting with your ear against the case you wont hear it.

    as for the heat, it will run a bit hot, but should be fine. I have a fanless ASUS ION based system, similar to that one you linked, running in a mini-box m350 case. I use it as an xbmc machine and when playing video it gets to about 90C and the high heat hasn't seemed to caused any damage over 2 years of running it ~4 hours/day.

    but your use shouldn't hit as high temps just running as a media server, seeing as the video gpu wont get used.

    Steam Profile: FoomyFooms
  • BlindZenDriverBlindZenDriver Registered User regular
    Foomy wrote: »
    Just so you know, those Pico PSU do have a little fan in the AC adapter. But from the experience with mine you'll never hear it.
    Thx for the heads up. I was under the impression that some AC adapters works without a fan - seems like I must be extra careful then because I really want to avoid having moving parts.

    Foomy wrote: »
    and you might want to look at just using some really silent mechanical hd's mounted on rubber standoffs. it wont be entirely silent, but enough so that unless your sitting with your ear against the case you wont hear it.
    Thx, but I really want to go all the way (been waiting for sometime for SSD's to reach reasonable price pr. GB). If only there was such a thing as really cheap "slow" SSD's because in a way I'll be wasting their speed except when indexing the music files.

    Foomy wrote: »
    as for the heat, it will run a bit hot, but should be fine. I have a fanless ASUS ION based system, similar to that one you linked, running in a mini-box m350 case. I use it as an xbmc machine and when playing video it gets to about 90C and the high heat hasn't seemed to caused any damage over 2 years of running it ~4 hours/day.

    but your use shouldn't hit as high temps just running as a media server, seeing as the video gpu wont get used.
    That is good info - I was hoping for something like that. I shall of course run some test to make sure once I have the parts just to be on the safe side. Maybe add a fan to sit idle except in case of imminent danger of overheating.

    Bones heal, glory is forever.
  • BlindZenDriverBlindZenDriver Registered User regular
    UPDATE

    I went ahead build the thing and so far all is well.

    The previous posts tells much of the thinking that went on before pulling the trigger. I managed to find a AC adapter without a fan and case wise I found a really cheap solution.

    My thought on the case was to find a tall one with ventilation holes near the bottom and the top - the idea being that the hot components would heat up the air which would rise and that flow of air would then be sort of a chimney effect. Now I only found one case that seemed to offer what I sought after but with it being silly expensive and also impractical in some ways I made my own instead using a simple cardboard box as base ($1 at IKEA).

    Here is how it came out.

    Box with mainboard, on/off-switch, power socket and air holes:
    mainboard-mounted.jpg

    Drive rack with drives mounted:
    drive-rack.jpg

    Box with all things mounted. I had planned to mount the drive rack in the "case" with some extra support but the rack fits so neat it is unneeded (even moving it around is fine):
    mianboard-drives-mounted.jpg

    Front of case - the "fire" button is one I had laying around from another project. The keyboard in front is to provide a sense of scale - I only control the server remotely it is not connected:
    front.jpg

    Rear/side of case. I cut out air holes on three of the sides coming to 18 holes in all with them all being 5x5cm, so 5x5x18=450cm2 in all. The two wires seen going in are power and network, the red and black one next to case is just clutter on my desk:
    back.jpg

    And finally a shoot of the hardware monitor program I run. When idle the mainboard reports aprox. 35 celsius above room temperature and the drives 17, 21 and 24 celsius respectively. I am rather surprised to see the big difference in drive temperatures, but it does follow that heat rises and the results are consistent. In the shoot I have the system CPU and drives working out a bit rescanning my whole music library, so the CPU is extra hot but the drives hardly show a rise in temperature. To get the drives hot it takes running them hard for more than just a few moments:
    temperature.jpg

    All in all I am reasonably happy with the result. The cardboard box look is a little rough so maybe I will eventually fabricate something else, however for testing out if going 100% silent works it has been perfect so far. Easy to work with, cheap and fun.

    The server is running Linux(Ubuntu) for now - working mainly as a SlimServer (music server) and FTP server . It was a bit of a pain to get just as I wanted with silly little issues taking much work to clear up. Even now I am not absolutely sure it is running optimal with regards to hardware power saving, like for instance controlling the graphics hardware side of things and was it not for a Windows OS costing stupid much I would likely go that way.

    Bones heal, glory is forever.
    urahonkyTef
  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    Nice job. What board is that?

    you could probably replace the cardboard with a plastic tote box and just cut holes into that. or just make a similar design out of sheets of plexi. if it works well as design that is.

    if you spent some time with the cabling and part layout a clear plastic case might actually look pretty awesome.

    Foomy on
    Steam Profile: FoomyFooms
  • BlindZenDriverBlindZenDriver Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    Foomy wrote: »
    Nice job. What board is that?

    Thank you.
    I'm using the ASUS E45M1-I DELUXE that I picked originally. It's an AMD Fusion thing which holds a dual core CPU and a graphics equivalent of a Radeon 6-thousand something. So it does support DX11 and it also has a lot more horse power then what is needed for a music server. I do however like the extra flexibility as opposed if I went with something just enough for music and also I felt stupid going with less than SATA-3 now the storage is SSD-drives (3x256 GB).

    Foomy wrote: »
    you could probably replace the cardboard with a plastic tote box and just cut holes into that. or just make a similar design out of sheets of plexi. if it works well as design that is.

    if you spent some time with the cabling and part layout a clear plastic case might actually look pretty awesome.
    I agree. I think I'll let this run for a while and see how it works out and also how much dust it collects. Then I may try making a smaller box and if that works then perhaps do something in something clear or maybe even coloured smoked glass of sorts.

    Also while I was configuring the thing I did run a web browser on it googling for solutions and found it fast enough for it not to be a pain. So I am considering doing a 100% silent machine for light office use if I can find the cash(it will need less storage than the server so should be like half price) - sitting with a computer and not hearing a sound i pretty sweet.

    BlindZenDriver on
    Bones heal, glory is forever.
  • ueanuean Registered User regular
    Wicked. I've been looking to do the same thing. Maybe I missed it in thread here but I don't think you mentioned cost (minus the drives of course) ?

    Also keep in mind that while fanless is awesome, you are going to have to keep an eye on the fins and keep that sucker dust free or your temps are going to go up quick.

    last thought re. the drive temp issue, you could get around that by running them vertically instead of horizontally no?

    Guys? Hay guys?
    PSN - sumowot
  • BlindZenDriverBlindZenDriver Registered User regular
    uean wrote: »
    Wicked. I've been looking to do the same thing. Maybe I missed it in thread here but I don't think you mentioned cost (minus the drives of course) ?

    You didn't miss it. Here you go:

    $226 ASUS E45M1-I DELUXE
    $64 PSU: PICO-PSU 90 (Note - this requires 12V DC input)
    $49 80W AC Adapter
    $39 Memory: 2x2GB, Corsair
    $213 Storage: Kingston SSDNow V200, 256 GB
    $213 Storage: Kingston SSDNow V200, 256 GB
    $213 Storage: Kingston SSDNow V200, 256 GB
    $2 Fire button
    $1 Case bought at IKEA
    $0 OS Linux Ubuntu
    $1020 including 25% VAT. Postages not included.

    Also used a bit of wiring and cables but I had that lying around.

    It bugged me spending so much money on the PSU and AC adapter but I could not find it cheaper while sticking to brand names (also there is supposedly some bad copies of the PICO-PSU's out there, so look out)

    uean wrote: »
    Also keep in mind that while fanless is awesome, you are going to have to keep an eye on the fins and keep that sucker dust free or your temps are going to go up quick.

    I'm hoping only having holes in the side and not on top will limit the problem somewhat, but there is being air sucked in by the heating of the air alone so it is something to look out for.

    I may set up something to monitor and log temperatures plus make the server mail me if it gets hot and even shut down if it gets really hot. Adding a fan and only have it run if overheating looks imminent could also be an option - the difference between no fan and a fan running is huge.

    uean wrote: »
    last thought re. the drive temp issue, you could get around that by running them vertically instead of horizontally no?

    If you mean arranged next to each other horizontally as opposed to one above the other as now, then I suppose it could make all three run at the current lowest measured temperature. But I see that as a non-issue since they are hardly hot and can handle a lot more (Kingston list's 70 degrees Celsius as max).

    Bones heal, glory is forever.
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