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Article: Computer Audiophile Pocket Server C.A.P.S. v3 Topanga

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Chris-

 

Great job. Amazing that a good server can be put together so easily and cheaply. I'm more interested in the Carbon and Zuma, but am very impressed.

 

If I remember correctly, you're rolling out one CAPS version per week?

 

Thanks,

Danny


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS >SOtM Lan Isolator>Bricasti M5 Network Player >Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>IFi iOne DAC>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT and a RB Pi 3B+ running piCorePlayer as an SBT emulator. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Nice work. as a CAPS v2 user, this build seems a logical evolution from the last. I note there's no SOtM USB card in this version but I figure that this card will make an appearance in the (more expensive) versions yet to come. Keep 'em coming!

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One per week, I hope faster, but it's good to finally get an answer about that. I've been checking this place like crazy for the Carbon and especially the Zuma to turn up. Every time I think about the C.A.P.S. versions I feel really grateful that Chris has put so much into this. I searched high and low and did my own research for a long time, but didn't have anything else to compare it against than my own experiences until I found CA and C.A.P.S.

 

It was a great read and a really nice intro to where the next generation, C.A.P.S. v3, is going.

 

Keep 'em coming, Chris, and thanks a lot!

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Very interesting. As one in the "bits are bits" camp (provided delivered accurately!), I will definitely consider when my MacMini (bootcampted) is getting on in age...


Roon + HQPlayer / JRiver Win -> T + A DAC DSD -> Cyrus Mono x200 Signatures -> Audiovector Si3 Avantgarde Arretes

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>>One additional item in this category is my selection of a single 4GB module rather than two 2GB modules. I did this because the modules are 1.5v >>each. Doubling the power requirement for the same amount of memory doesn't make sense. Also, I could not locate readily available RAM modules >>with low voltage of 1.35v.

 

Energy consumption of DRAM would usually be considerd in terms of current/time. Increasing generations of DRAM are tending towards lower voltage. But you are right this is a significant part of energy demand in a personal computer/server


Music Interests: http://www.onebitaudio.com

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Good specs, I like the the simple but functional LGX MC500 case. But with delivery it's over £50 in the UK. For an extra £20 I think others might choose one of the basic Streacom cases.

 

AFAIK all cederview CPUs (N2xxx) have a 3rd party PowerPV sgx 545 integrated graphics core (aka Intel GMA 3650). There are no 64bit drivers for these, hence Intel quotes memory support on the DN2800MT as 4GB.

 

But you can install 64bit Windows on this platform and use more memory if you are happy to run with a standard (VESA?) MS graphics driver and a non-optimal video display. The sort of thing you'd see if you installed Windows on your regular PC but never installed your graphics card drivers.

 

Some analysis over at silentpcreview would suggest that without the proper 32bit Intel graphic drivers installed a DN2800MT cannot operate with maximum power savings.

 

SPCR • View topic - Intel DN2800MT hands on...Single digit world?

 

But the difference is likely to be measured in a few watts, and in any case, “audiophiles” will probably turn Intel's SpeedStep (EIST) off, although I 'm not sure why.

 

Anyone prepared to use Linux OS and apps can make some savings here. Potential Linux users will I'm sure be capable of deciphering information at http://openbenchmarking.org/system/1208316-SU-SCIMARK2T59/Intel%20Atom%20N2800 which shows Linux running on a DN2800MT system. There's limited graphics support, but that doesn't matter as you're likely to run this headless. You can see that acpi-cpufreq is loaded which means frequency scaling is under your control.

 

Which Linux would you use? VoyageMPD is known to work on the DN2800MT and as a further cost saving you can use a CF card in an adapter rather than the more expensive mSATA card. I believe Idolse's mdpPUP should also work on the DN2800MT but may need tweakng, or is awaiting a fix. Otherwise it's the lightweight Linux distro of your choice operating in text mode.


Chris

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Great Job Chris...

Amazing how things move fast and you still keep the pace. True service for the community to be apple to present good designs at different price points...appreciated that approach (and the extra amount if work it must have taken you).

 

I would consider this if I could get my JRiver Media Center to play Gapless.

Do you know if JRMC is capable of true gapless?

 

Finally, the only thing I miss is some more information of how it performs sonically, compared to other servers you might use and the previous CAPS...and compared to the improved designs of v3...

Do you plan to review it's musical performance later on?

 

Thanks!

Miguel

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Chris, thank you very much. For me the most important take-away from this is that Win 8 doesn't sonically differs much from Win 7. People at some other forums may state otherwise, but your perspective is certainly very important to me. Look forward to your other designs.


Main system: Music Server (Win 7/64+Foobar+JPlay) -> Furutech GT2 USB Cable -> Audiolab M-DAC -> Plinius 9200 (Chord Anthem interconnects) -> ATC SCM 40 w/Kimber Kable 8TC speaker cables

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Small Green Computer has it built with an SoTM tX-USBexp card for $645. That price seems pretty impossible given the price of the SoTM card. Maybe a mistake?


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS >SOtM Lan Isolator>Bricasti M5 Network Player >Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>IFi iOne DAC>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT and a RB Pi 3B+ running piCorePlayer as an SBT emulator. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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I emailed Andrew to get his confirmation (that its likely a typo). And yes, Win 8 64 bit installs easily on that mobo; I never really noticed any video issues with my CAPS V2+ (headless maintenance only) so the default driver is quite fine. That being said, I'd follow Chris's recipe for Topanga, especially early on.

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And yes, Win 8 64 bit installs easily on that mobo; I never really noticed any video issues with my CAPS V2+ (headless maintenance only) so the default driver is quite fine. That being said, I'd follow Chris's recipe for Topanga, especially early on.

 

When you install Win 8 64 bit on this board Windows will use the Generic VGA driver. You won't get great video performance with the generic driver but who cares it's a music player not a gaming PC!


agillis

Small Green Computer

http://www.smallgreencomputer.com/

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Chris, thank you very much. For me the most important take-away from this is that Win 8 doesn't sonically differs much from Win 7. People at some other forums may state otherwise, but your perspective is certainly very important to me. Look forward to your other designs.

 

One thing to consider is that Win 8 is presently only $40 vial download.


Forrest:

Win10 i7 3770k HQPlayer>Win10 NAA

DSD512>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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One thing to consider is that Win 8 is presently only $40 vial download.

 

Just make sure you do a clean install, not an upgrade (for those reading this with an existing server). Have the download create an ISO (download option) and load it to a bootable USB drive.

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Just make sure you do a clean install, not an upgrade (for those reading this with an existing server). Have the download create an ISO (download option) and load it to a bootable USB drive.

 

Thanks Ted, Is there a way to do a clean install with an upgrade version? In the past, some ugrades only asked you to put the install S/N of the prior verison or disc. I have an old version of XP lying around and would hate to miss out on the cheap upgrade download promo going on.


Equipment:

Auralic Vega DAC, Auralic Taurus Preamp, KEF LS50 Speakers, Hypex Ncore400 monoblock amps, CAPs V3, Paul Hynes SR5 (12v and 9v rails), Audioquest King Cobra XLRs, Signal Cable speaker cable, Furutech power and USB cable

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Hi Chris, This is a great design, and incredibly helpful. Thank you. Not just for the design, but process helped in understanding many other things about bit perfect streaming.

For anyone needing either a portable, or a really low cost solution, one option is Win 7 Home w/ TighVNC remote viewer installed which is free installed on a mini. I've got a Dell Mini10v, dual core Atom, which is fanless running as a music server feeding an Onkyo USB DAC which drives a Musical Fidelity A324 DAC via optical. It is Configured to run with the lid down. You can pick one up on eBay for $80-$130. Upgrade from XP to Win 7 for $60, and for less than $200, you've got a pretty good portable, wireless, silent music server. Add SSD and JRiver to suit. It was the articles on this site that enabled me to use a mini this way. SF

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Hi Chris, This is a great design, and incredibly helpful. Thank you. Not just for the design, but your process helped in understanding many other things about bit perfect streaming.

For anyone needing either a portable, or a really low cost solution, one option is Win 7 Home w/ TighVNC remote viewer installed which is free installed on a mini. I've got a Dell Mini10v, dual core Atom, which is fanless running as a music server feeding an Onkyo USB DAC which drives a Musical Fidelity A324 DAC via optical. It is Configured to run with the lid down. You can pick one up on eBay for $80-$130. Upgrade from XP to Win 7 for $60, and for less than $200, you've got a pretty good portable, wireless, silent music server. Add SSD and JRiver to suit. It was the articles on this site that enabled me to effectively use a mini this way. SF

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Thanks Ted, Is there a way to do a clean install with an upgrade version? In the past, some ugrades only asked you to put the install S/N of the prior verison or disc. I have an old version of XP lying around and would hate to miss out on the cheap upgrade download promo going on.

 

I will find the article that helped me, but no, it does not ask for another s/n or copy, as long as you do a clean install with the ISO and a WinUSB bootable USB thumb drive (WINusb link in my CAPS V2+ thread).

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When you install Win 8 64 bit on this board Windows will use the Generic VGA driver. You won't get great video performance with the generic driver but who cares it's a music player not a gaming PC!

But do you think that we still can play video, at least 1080p, on it?

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I will find the article that helped me, but no, it does not ask for another s/n or copy, as long as you do a clean install with the ISO and a WinUSB bootable USB thumb drive (WINusb link in my CAPS V2+ thread).

 

Thanks Ted, I did some more research and it appears that the prior OS has to at least be on the drive and then Win 8 will do a clean install over it. I have XP on disc so i think i will just have to install a dvd-rom in the server and install xp then do the clean install over it (and will wipe the HD hopefully).


Equipment:

Auralic Vega DAC, Auralic Taurus Preamp, KEF LS50 Speakers, Hypex Ncore400 monoblock amps, CAPs V3, Paul Hynes SR5 (12v and 9v rails), Audioquest King Cobra XLRs, Signal Cable speaker cable, Furutech power and USB cable

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@Chris,

 

Thanks a lot for your work!

 

It's really nice to see v3 with different options, so we can decide for our needs... ;)

 

Did you tried JPlay on this version?

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But do you think that we still can play video, at least 1080p, on it?

 

"at least" 1080p... 4K is barely even out yet, you can't be calling it "at least" 1080p already...

 

But as far as I can gather, no, this baby ain't going to be playing 1080p movies very smoothly, but correct me if I'm wrong. It's kind of against the design of CAPS, especially this level, this is for music and album art only. I'd look toward the higher end ones if you're going to make this a multi-trick pony :-)

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Chris, thanks for doing another round of CAPS! Way cool.

 

You have made *no* mention of how the Topanga compares, sonically, to the CAPS2. I hope you include this topic in the next article. Along those lines, are you able to discern any sonic differences between this MOBO/RAM/SSD compared that combo for the CAPS1 and CAPS2? Or is it simply about the feature set (given your req's re: low power, passive cooling, etc)?


Roon ROCK (Roon 1.6; NUC7i3) > Ayre QB-9 DSD > Ayre AX-5 Twenty > Thiel CS2.4SE (crossovers rebuilt with Clarity CSA and Multicap RTX caps, Mills MRA-12 resistors; ERSE and Jantzen coils; Cardas binding posts and hookup wire); Cardas and OEM power cables, interconnects, and speaker cables

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I have a question! I am currently using a Viao i3 core laptop dedicated for playback only, with 8 GB memory. Would it be and upgrade to build the Topanga versus the Viao or would I need to go with the more pricey units that Chris will release in the next several weeks? Sam


C.A.P. Pipeline > Roon / HQP> Paul Pang V2 usb > Keces power > HDplex power supply >win 10 > 4x2 HD Mini DSP> Burson Virtuoso > Red Wine Isabellina/ Bel Canto ULink Inspire SET Hot Rod EL84> HornShoppe single Driver> Sunfire 300 > Magnanpan 1.7 > Forte 4A > Rel Strata lll / 2 Hawthorne Augie's Dipole sub's> Deadicated room with acoustical treatment.

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