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Hackintosh as a music server?


djn04
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Leaving the legalities aside, what are your opinions on using a hackintosh as a music server with a USB DAC. The one I'm considering is the EEE Box.

 

http://www.buy.com/prod/asus-eee-box-nettop-pc-1-6-ghz-intel-atom-processor-1gb-160gb-hard/q/loc/101/209840847.html

 

I would probably swap the harddrive for a small solid state and pull the music from a NAS over Wifi. Would I see any difference in performance from a mac mini? My file format is Apple Lossless.

 

Thanks

 

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Hi djn04,

 

Just to let you know I own a PowerBook AND a G5 Quad tower and even though I give them the same settings as to get a bit perfect signal to the Duet, the G5 sounds better. It must have something to do with the power fed through the FIREWIRE bus… but the Powerbook sounds a hint harsh (battery or AC). Good to know before purchase!!

 

Don’t know with a USB device…

 

Erik

 

Digital music addict[br]Mac G5 quad -> Apogee Duet -> Quad 303 (Planabox) -> Proac tablette 2000 -> Sweeeet bliss

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Erik-

 

Thanks for the reply. i wonder why that is. I have a macbook currently and my plan was to use it or my iphone to control the pc via screen sharing, vnc and apple remote. Obviously what appeals to me is the price of the eee box. I am also looking at other intel atom based barebones systems but I wanted to know if anyone has experience with these low cost components.

 

They will feed into a Peachtree Audio Nova when it comes out.

 

 

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I'm using a Samsung NC10 netbook to drive my system - this is currently feeding a Tascam U122L, providing the Dac duties. It's pretty much the same thing as the EEEEEEEEEEEEbox and does its job very well indeed. No noise, very stable and more than enough power to deliver the high res stuff. If you don't need a screen then the 'Box' will do the job, I'm sure.

 

Be wary of swapping out the hard drive at the moment, though.

 

There are three types of SSD, MLC (multi-level cell) , SLC (single level cell) and hybrid slc-mlc. The MLC drives are much cheaper, per gig, but have questionable reliability. It is the use of MLC (4 possible digital states per cell, ie 2 bits of information) that is creating the high 'headline' storage capacities. Most technical articles, however, give the mean life to failure of MLC drives as being much, much lower than SLC types. Some work out to be as low as months, rather than years! MLC is fine for the many non-critical applications it is common in - usb pen drives, mp3 players et al - but it is not really a viable proposition for critical applications. If you must do it, then SLC is the way to go. The whole subject is typically obfuscated and geeky - 'headline' rates hiding technical shortcomings - but it will be worth a bit of research before you invest and entrust your audio replay set-up to one. Proceed with caution ;)

 

 

 

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Bob

 

Thanks for the info on the SSD drives. My plan was to get something small and just have OS X an a few apps on the drive. This would remove all the moving parts from the eee box. Good to hear you have had good results with the NC10. I just might have a go at this. Are you running XP or OS X on the NC10?

 

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I'm running WinXP - with just about everything either uninstalled or switched off! I don't need the wireless function, for instance, or networking - so it's all switched off. It boots from cold in 20 secs.

 

One point worth mentioning is that the Hibernation feature on these little netbooks seems to be awfully slow, when compared to a standard laptop. My laptop is always hibernated, rather than shut down, and comes back to life in about 15 secs, naturally I was going to do the same with the netbook. But it takes longer to boot back from hibernate than it does to boot from cold! The little Atom processor must have more trouble handling the hibernation image than just going through the cold boot process.

 

Anyway, been running it, with MediaMonkey mostly, for about 3 months now with not a single hiccup. When left running but not actually playing anything, the usb drives will spin down and the usb ports go into snooze mode and I've not been able to persuade the ports to stay active. It's never been a problem but it can take about 15 secs for everything to wind back up again - so there's a bit of a delay between clicking and anything appearing to happen. Like I say, not a problem once you know what's happening. The mobo in the Samsung has very few BIOS settings to play with, much less than normal, so it's not as easy to fix these little quirks. But the silence, low power consumption and ease of use more than make up for the odd shortcoming.

 

We've recently installed a couple of the Asus 'Boxes' at work, for use as 'thin' clients in the meeting rooms, and they handle basic office duties, with storage accessed over a wireless network, no problem at all. If they can run MS Office2003 without falling over then I'm sure they'll play wav files!

 

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