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

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Chris, thank you and great write-up. I was thinking of building a higher powered music server, but hasn't proceeded to this yet as I am still trying to understand applications for having high powered CPU vs. Atom purely for music playback. I understand that JPlay requires as much power it you can provide, but what else? It would be interesting to understand these applications for music. Also, have you tested sound quality between Zuma and Carbon? Does having more power for Zuma results in better music reproduction?

 

Thanks again for great work and Happy New Year!


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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Hi Chris. Love the write up! Awesome. So there are no other motherborad options suitable for the zuma with direct external DC power connectors? What other motherboards have this option? Or is it just the Intel Atoms? Cheers


New simplified setup: STEREO- Primary listening Area: Cullen Circuits Mod ZP90> Benchmark DAC1>RotelRKB250 Power amp>KEF Q Series. Secondary listening areas: 1/ QNAP 119P II(running MinimServer)>UPnP>Linn Majik DSI>Linn Majik 140's. 2/ (Source awaiting)>Invicta DAC>RotelRKB2100 Power amp>Rega's. Tertiary multiroom areas: Same QNAP>SMB>Sonos>Various. MULTICHANNEL- MacMini>A+(Standalone mode)>Exasound e28 >5.1 analog out>Yamaha Avantage Receiver>Pre-outs>Linn Chakra power amps>Linn Katan front and sides. Linn Trikan Centre. Velodyne SPL1000 Ultra

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Chris, thank you and great write-up. I was thinking of building a higher powered music server, but hasn't proceeded to this yet as I am still trying to understand applications for having high powered CPU vs. Atom purely for music playback. I understand that JPlay requires as much power it you can provide, but what else? It would be interesting to understand these applications for music. Also, have you tested sound quality between Zuma and Carbon? Does having more power for Zuma results in better music reproduction?

 

Thanks again for great work and Happy New Year!

 

In the context of small, fanless computers, I think that for JPlay you are looking minimum at an miniITX Ivy Bridge-capable MB such as the Asus P8Z77-I LGA Wi-Fi, a Core i5-3330 CPU (low power, 45W) and 8GB memory (full scale hibernate for JPlay).


Lets End Apostrophe Abuse's

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Finally Zuma is here, thanks Chris!

I ordered parts for my high power server before Zuma is out, since I wanted it to be done before new year. It's very similar with a mini-itx form factor.

One question is that I ordered the "150W PSU-450+120W converter" in checkout options. As you tested, it had problems powering Zuma, I guess it's not the best for my "i5-2500T + mushkin mSATA" combo. I'll try after it arrives tomorrow.

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I am wondering if this can do FIR filters? Like room correction or digital XO? Could the HD-PLEX work instead of the the Streacom? Any reason for SSD vs mSSD?

The SSD is SATA III whereas the mSATA is only SATA II.

 

This design should work for room correction and digital XO. It has power.


Founder of Audiophile Style

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Hi Chris,

 

I checked and thought you might like to know that the Intel i7 3770T (45w max TDP) is shown as being available at these two sites:

 

INTEL (CM8063701212200) Product Page -- NextWarehouse.com

 

Buy Intel Processor, Core i7-3770T LV 2.5GHz, 8MB Cache, LGA1155, Processor Upgrades CM8063701212200 today at PC Connection

 

Hope this helps...

 

Cheers,

Alan Goodwin

Goodwin's High End

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Hi Chris,

 

I checked and thought you might like to know that the Intel i7 3770T (45w max TDP) is shown as available at these two sites:

 

INTEL (CM8063701212200) Product Page -- NextWarehouse.com

 

Buy Intel Processor, Core i7-3770T LV 2.5GHz, 8MB Cache, LGA1155, Processor Upgrades CM8063701212200 today at PC Connection

 

Hope this helps...

 

Cheers,

Alan Goodwin

Goodwin's High End

 

Hi Alan - Thanks for the extra sources. ATech Fabrication has the T model as well. Hopefull these will be available for purchase by computer audiophiles around the world from major retailers.

 

I encourage people to try the T model processor. It should be terrific.


Founder of Audiophile Style

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Chris, what about the intel motherboards such as the DQ77KB which run with a single 19V DC input?

 

This way you don't have to go through the PICO PSU since the voltage regulators are already built in. I spoke with Vinnie of Red Wine who said that the 19V DC input can be satisfied using two packs at 25.6V. Not sure which solution is better.

 

I was thinking of going the DQ77KB way for more power until you posted the specs for the Zuma, battery power is a must for me.

 

Yeang

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Chris, what about the intel motherboards such as the DQ77KB which run with a single 19V DC input?

 

This way you don't have to go through the PICO PSU since the voltage regulators are already built in. I spoke with Vinnie of Red Wine who said that the 19V DC input can be satisfied using two packs at 25.6V. Not sure which solution is better.

 

I was thinking of going the DQ77KB way for more power until you posted the specs for the Zuma, battery power is a must for me.

 

Yeang

 

Hi Yeang - The KB board is difficult to passively cool because of where the CPU sits on the board.


Founder of Audiophile Style

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Nice Chris. This is the setup I envisioned for my CAPS (sort of). One note. Is it just me or the copper pipes of FC5WS-EVO are not long enough to cover the entire CPU where is located on DH77EB board. It seems that the pipes are covering only about 50% of CPU. This will somewhat diminish cooling efficiency. Please correct me if I am wrong.

 

On the other note, if your input is higher than 12V into PicoPSU, could you not use the Wide Input version of Pico ? Not sure if it is available in 150W though, I have seen 120W.


DS411+II <-> Mac Mini -> El cheapo 1 ft USB Cable -> QB9 -> Tyr XLR -> YBA Passion Integre 300 -> Auditorium 23 -> Vaughn Cabernets

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I really like this build. It's extremely well-rounded, capable, expandable and could easily double as a HTPC. It's almost identical to what I would build.

 

My main question is, why an i7? That's some serious horsepower. Any of the Core gen 3 processors should handle any music server load, and most HTPC loads, without breaking a sweat. Going for an i7 seems like serious overkill, especially since this server is designed to offload the music processing to an outboard DAC via the SotM.

 

I would recommend to keep the i7 as an option, but for those who want to shave cost and power, give some alternate processors. I would suggest the i5-3225 (55W TDP, 4 cores without HT, $145) as a mid-range alternate and the i3-3220T (35W TDP, 2 cores w/ HT, $130) as a low-end alternate.

 

Personally, I think the i3-3220T is the best way to go for a pure music server. It still has some serious processing power, and should last a lot longer on battery power than its i7 counterpart.

 

Which brings me a power question...

 

The Red Wine Audio, Black Lightning High-Current Battery Power Supply... What happens when the batteries are about to die? Does it auto-switch to wall power? is there an optional USB connection that will power down the computer before power is lost, like a UPS? Or does the computer simply lose power and go down?


Whatever works.

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The Red Wine Audio, Black Lightning High-Current Battery Power Supply... What happens when the batteries are about to die? Does it auto-switch to wall power? is there an optional USB connection that will power down the computer before power is lost, like a UPS? Or does the computer simply lose power and go down?

 

I believe Vinnie can program the BL to do anything the user wants such as auto-switch to wall power etc...


Founder of Audiophile Style

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Nice Chris. This is the setup I envisioned for my CAPS (sort of). One note. Is it just me or the copper pipes of FC5WS-EVO are not long enough to cover the entire CPU where is located on DH77EB board. It seems that the pipes are covering only about 50% of CPU. This will somewhat diminish cooling efficiency. Please correct me if I am wrong.

 

On the other note, if your input is higher than 12V into PicoPSU, could you not use the Wide Input version of Pico ? Not sure if it is available in 150W though, I have seen 120W.

 

The CPU and its heat sink run pretty cool in the Zuma server. I can't remember how far the heat pipes go in and cover the CPU, but it's enough to properly cool the unit.

 

A wide input version of the PSU could probably be used.


Founder of Audiophile Style

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Miki. In the images of Zuma, that star shaped metal plate contraption with the "Streatcom" label on it sits right over the top of the chip. So I'm not sure what you mean? Do you mean that the heat pipes under this don't go far in enough? They are connected to that metal plate on top right? So why should this matter...? As heat is collected by the plate, then conducted away via the pipes... I'm no computer engineer, but isn't this how heat dissipation is working?


New simplified setup: STEREO- Primary listening Area: Cullen Circuits Mod ZP90> Benchmark DAC1>RotelRKB250 Power amp>KEF Q Series. Secondary listening areas: 1/ QNAP 119P II(running MinimServer)>UPnP>Linn Majik DSI>Linn Majik 140's. 2/ (Source awaiting)>Invicta DAC>RotelRKB2100 Power amp>Rega's. Tertiary multiroom areas: Same QNAP>SMB>Sonos>Various. MULTICHANNEL- MacMini>A+(Standalone mode)>Exasound e28 >5.1 analog out>Yamaha Avantage Receiver>Pre-outs>Linn Chakra power amps>Linn Katan front and sides. Linn Trikan Centre. Velodyne SPL1000 Ultra

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I tend to agree with i3-3220T. I was going to use it for my CAPS and Intel DH61DL but that board has a weired CPU and 12-pin power placement, so it is out. Anyway, I exchanged some emails with Vinnie from Red Wine Audio and he said:

 

"When the switch is in BATT mode, it only runs on the internal battery packs. If you switch to AC mode, it will charge and play at the same time (not as clean as BATT mode since you'll be using the charger).

 

When it needs charging, the red light on the power switch will begin to blink. At that time, you can switch to AC mode if you want to keep on playing, or shut down your server and then switch off your BL to allow it to charge."

 

I don't think there is any smart logic in BL to power down the server properly.


DS411+II <-> Mac Mini -> El cheapo 1 ft USB Cable -> QB9 -> Tyr XLR -> YBA Passion Integre 300 -> Auditorium 23 -> Vaughn Cabernets

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^ well just leave the server on, and keep the Redwine in charge mode. (Unless you are listening)... In which case switch it to battery mode. When you are finished listening, switch it over and leave it in charger mode again.... :)


New simplified setup: STEREO- Primary listening Area: Cullen Circuits Mod ZP90> Benchmark DAC1>RotelRKB250 Power amp>KEF Q Series. Secondary listening areas: 1/ QNAP 119P II(running MinimServer)>UPnP>Linn Majik DSI>Linn Majik 140's. 2/ (Source awaiting)>Invicta DAC>RotelRKB2100 Power amp>Rega's. Tertiary multiroom areas: Same QNAP>SMB>Sonos>Various. MULTICHANNEL- MacMini>A+(Standalone mode)>Exasound e28 >5.1 analog out>Yamaha Avantage Receiver>Pre-outs>Linn Chakra power amps>Linn Katan front and sides. Linn Trikan Centre. Velodyne SPL1000 Ultra

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Special Request for Chris C.

 

Hi Chris.

 

Could you contact SGC and put in a request for a CAPS V3 Zuma "kit"

 

Same format as the lagoon kit. Everything made up (user self installs SSD and OS)

 

Perhaps with choice of processor (to allow i3-i7 lower power "T" varieties.)

 

I'm sure they would sell lots of these. :)

 

As that would take the heart ache out of the heat pipe stuff for computer maker newbies, but allow ultimate choice of plug in "add on's"... Which most of us here are capable of (and enjoy the flexibilty of doing anyway....)

 

Cheers

 

And thanks so much for the awesome site !!!

 

Wap.


New simplified setup: STEREO- Primary listening Area: Cullen Circuits Mod ZP90> Benchmark DAC1>RotelRKB250 Power amp>KEF Q Series. Secondary listening areas: 1/ QNAP 119P II(running MinimServer)>UPnP>Linn Majik DSI>Linn Majik 140's. 2/ (Source awaiting)>Invicta DAC>RotelRKB2100 Power amp>Rega's. Tertiary multiroom areas: Same QNAP>SMB>Sonos>Various. MULTICHANNEL- MacMini>A+(Standalone mode)>Exasound e28 >5.1 analog out>Yamaha Avantage Receiver>Pre-outs>Linn Chakra power amps>Linn Katan front and sides. Linn Trikan Centre. Velodyne SPL1000 Ultra

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I wonder, how a CAPS v4 will look like. The next gen of Intel processors, about to hit the market in q3 2013, are said to use 20x (twenty times) less power than the current gen at idle, and seriously enchance the video playback at the same time. The Zuma may be the last CAPS to require external cooling at all.


Adam

 

PC: Hot rodded CAPS v4 Pipeline: Teradak ATX linear PSU, Jcat Femto USB card, UpTone Audio JS-2 + 2x LPS-1.2 combo, Jcat SSD battery PSU, Jcat SATA cable, TotalDAC D1 USB cable, SOtM sMS-200, W4S Recovery USB, Jcat USB Isolator, Win 2012, AO v2.10

Digital: Lampizator Pacific DAC

Amp: Dan D'Agostino Momentum Stereo

Speakers: Magcio M3

Cables: AudioQuest WEL Signature IC / Shunyata Anaconda Z-Tron SC

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Sure. I guess that's life in computeraudiofile server land. What makes this Zuma CAPS so attractive is when that day comes, this V3 has the processing power and video capabilities to be re-used as an all round HTPC... In other words it can be oncycled to a different use.. ..anyway by end of 2013, some genius will probably be getting bit perfect 24/192 and DSD asynchronous USB out of a AA battery powered Rasberry Pi (? Version b..or the next "c"..all for 100 bucks and it won't matter anymore. C'est la vie:)


New simplified setup: STEREO- Primary listening Area: Cullen Circuits Mod ZP90> Benchmark DAC1>RotelRKB250 Power amp>KEF Q Series. Secondary listening areas: 1/ QNAP 119P II(running MinimServer)>UPnP>Linn Majik DSI>Linn Majik 140's. 2/ (Source awaiting)>Invicta DAC>RotelRKB2100 Power amp>Rega's. Tertiary multiroom areas: Same QNAP>SMB>Sonos>Various. MULTICHANNEL- MacMini>A+(Standalone mode)>Exasound e28 >5.1 analog out>Yamaha Avantage Receiver>Pre-outs>Linn Chakra power amps>Linn Katan front and sides. Linn Trikan Centre. Velodyne SPL1000 Ultra

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As we're considering the "ultimate" CAPS 3 build, maybe this power supply option would be eligible - with it being linear throughout there should be no DC to DC converters feeding crud back into the mains bus. It is a little pricey though...

 

https://coreaudiotechnology.com/products/power-supplies/nanoatx

 

BTW I have had more or less the same server running Vortexbox via the excellent Squeezepad using the i3-3220T processor and a Gigabyte GA-H61N-USB3 LGA1155 Mini ITX Motherboard. At present I use the PicoPSU for the mobo but I intend to revert to linear throughout, a project for the new year....

 

I also use this external RAID enclosure which has it's own power supply (5V DC 2.0A) fitted with 2 x 480GB SSD drives in RAID1 configuration and connected to the mobo via eSata

 

http://eu.startech.com/HDD/Enclosures/25in-Removable-eSATA-USB-Dual-SATA-Hard-Drive-Enclosure-with-RAID~S252U2ERR


Various >i2s> NAD M2 > Quad 2905s

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A word of warning about using this case. Note very carefully the configuration of the heat pipes and the CPU position. (Google the casing and you'll find an extensive pdf manual online)

 

My mobo didn't fit as standard as the CPU was on the wrong side of the mobo for the heat pipes. Thankfully the rear panel can be detached and reversed (ie upside down) which is what I had to do, and then custom install the pipes, cutting one down in length to fit. However, all seems to run just fine, my less powerful processor only raises the casing temperature to luke warm so the pipes seem to be doing their job.

 

For the PCIe I've had to run a flexible riser across the top of the mobo as the mobo slot and the casing mount are now on opposite sides...


Various >i2s> NAD M2 > Quad 2905s

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