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

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Hi all

I coincidentally built a similar but cheaper PC using the Intel DH77DF board and an i3 processor, in a cheaper case, using the CPU fan and a low-noise case fan, running Windows 7. I intend to upgrade to i7 at some point (better be soon, as this generation is nearing its end of run) and passive cooling in a more expensive case. I'll end up with something very similar to the Zuma.

This box does double duty as HT and audio server. I use the spdif on-board header for music, as it seems to sound a bit more solid (?) than USB on my M-DAC.

The weakness is that the thing won't play 88k or 176k files at all, and my DAC fails to sync with 192k over SPDIF (stuttering). Anybody building an Intel HD board experience the same thing? I've seen some reports online about the 88k issue with the Realtek drivers, but no real resolution. The system is still usable, but leaves a nagging feeling that something is not right.

Any advice or thoughts? Would using the SoTM USB card make a difference here? A more powerful processor? Or is the 192k problem in the DAC? Supposedly the M-DAC will play 192k.

Thanks for any advice you can give

Phil

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Hi all

I coincidentally built a similar but cheaper PC using the Intel DH77DF board and an i3 processor, in a cheaper case, using the CPU fan and a low-noise case fan, running Windows 7. I intend to upgrade to i7 at some point (better be soon, as this generation is nearing its end of run) and passive cooling in a more expensive case. I'll end up with something very similar to the Zuma.

This box does double duty as HT and audio server. I use the spdif on-board header for music, as it seems to sound a bit more solid (?) than USB on my M-DAC.

The weakness is that the thing won't play 88k or 176k files at all, and my DAC fails to sync with 192k over SPDIF (stuttering). Anybody building an Intel HD board experience the same thing? I've seen some reports online about the 88k issue with the Realtek drivers, but no real resolution. The system is still usable, but leaves a nagging feeling that something is not right.

Any advice or thoughts? Would using the SoTM USB card make a difference here? A more powerful processor? Or is the 192k problem in the DAC? Supposedly the M-DAC will play 192k.

Thanks for any advice you can give

Phil

 

PS: I got 88k working with USB, using ASIO4All, so I think the problem is with the Realtek/MS drivers. Sorry to trouble you.

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Hi all, I am a newbie without computer knowledge. It's time for me to replace my old Intel Centrino laptop (win 7 64bit, Jriver 19) and buy a dedicated computer (laptop or desktop) as my audio player. Files are stored in NAS.

I consider to buy CAPS v3 Zuma from Small Green Computer but I do have some basic questions. I have a DAC (Lampizator L5 + DSD) with asynchronous USB connection and the USB chip has its own psu so it doesn't require power from USB input.

Question is, in my DAC case would using CAPS yields to better SQ compare with regular computer (assuming the regular computer is also silent).

Thank you all.

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Hi all, I am a newbie without computer knowledge. It's time for me to replace my old Intel Centrino laptop (win 7 64bit, Jriver 19) and buy a dedicated computer (laptop or desktop) as my audio player. Files are stored in NAS.

I consider to buy CAPS v3 Zuma from Small Green Computer but I do have some basic questions. I have a DAC (Lampizator L5 + DSD) with asynchronous USB connection and the USB chip has its own psu so it doesn't require power from USB input.

Question is, in my DAC case would using CAPS yields to better SQ compare with regular computer (assuming the regular computer is also silent).

Thank you all.

 

Dear Narukama,

 

With your DAC, you appear to have one issue resolved and do not require the SOtM USB card.

 

But there are other benefits to the various CAPS design:

- No moving parts

- Fanless and complete silence

- External brick power supply of the lowest power possible

- SSD for the OS and JRiver

- Minimalist design for the cleanest operation.

 

Control your CAPS with something like TeamViewer (which I use and recommend), do not do anything else with that device than running JRiver (make sure it is configured to start automatically when Windows powers up), use JRemote on an iPad, and you'll be very satisfied.

 

Marc

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Thanks Marc for the explanatio. Beside the silent mechanical operation of CAPS, how does clean power from linear psu or battery will benefit me if my DAC doesn't require power from USB input? Is the data sent through USB is "polluted" by "dirty" power such as jittered?

I guess my question is if I use a regular but powerful and silent laptop that is operated with its battery would produce the same SQ as CAPS v3? I mainly interested in using USB connection which should be available in every laptop. Thanks.

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Thanks Marc for the explanatio. Beside the silent mechanical operation of CAPS, how does clean power from linear psu or battery will benefit me if my DAC doesn't require power from USB input? Is the data sent through USB is "polluted" by "dirty" power such as jittered?

I guess my question is if I use a regular but powerful and silent laptop that is operated with its battery would produce the same SQ as CAPS v3? I mainly interested in using USB connection which should be available in every laptop. Thanks.

 

Dear Narukama,

 

As far as I know, a linear PSU is only applicable to the SOtM USB card. I was told that a linear PS is not meant to drive a computer which needs a switching PSU. In your case, assuming that indeed your DAC supplies its own power to the incoming USB signal, it appears to be a moot point. in other words, the PSU source of the PC should be irrelevant or at the very least very little significative.

 

Regarding your second main point, my understanding is that despite the fact your portable PC gets its power from a battery, it still runs in the equivalent a switching PSU. It should make no difference whether your portable is on AC or only on battery audio-wise.

 

My personal opinion is that shutting down everything but the bare minimum on the music player, CAPS or otherwise, shutting down all background running apps in Windows 8, not having any expansion cards, no fan, nothing mechanical such as the motors of HDD, will considerably quiet the electrical activity and any form pollution that would otherwise have come from an overactive PSU.

 

Marc

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Thanks again Marc. Now that I know I don't need USB card such as SOTM I will look into mini pc with ssd and no fan to avoid mechanical noise that plaque my current laptop and reduce the OS function to bare minimum.

 

Narukama

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Thanks again Marc. Now that I know I don't need USB card such as SOTM I will look into mini pc with ssd and no fan to avoid mechanical noise that plaque my current laptop and reduce the OS function to bare minimum.

 

Narukama

 

I've never tried them, but I took note of the Gigabyte Brix series of ultra-compact PC. They even come equipped with a S/PDIF output, which can be an alternative to USB - but not sure which is superior.

 

GIGABYTE BRIX Ultra Compact PC Kit

 

Good luck!

 

Marc

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I've never tried them, but I took note of the Gigabyte Brix series of ultra-compact PC. They even come equipped with a S/PDIF output, which can be an alternative to USB - but not sure which is superior.

 

GIGABYTE BRIX Ultra Compact PC Kit

 

Good luck!

 

Marc[/quote

 

Yes I read about the Brix and I look more into it. Thanks Marc! Appreciate it.

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I have built a CAPS-system now, but I'm experiencing problems installing the SoTM tx-USBexp drivers. When installing, the installation software complains that no supported hardware is detected. Has anyone experienced this issue?

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Maybe this question has been answered somewhere on this site. If so, I couldn't find it.

 

Can the Intel DH77EB motherboard be overclocked or underclocked?

 

Thanks,

 

Joel

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I have built a CAPS-system now, but I'm experiencing problems installing the SoTM tx-USBexp drivers. When installing, the installation software complains that no supported hardware is detected. Has anyone experienced this issue?

 

Make sure you powered the card with 12v from the internal Molex connector. The SOtM card is not active unless you do.


agillis

Small Green Computer

http://www.smallgreencomputer.com/

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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

 

I came across this old post of your, I am trying to build an Audio PC and was looking at ASUS Q87T, and it needs 19v, and there are not many 19v options. Do you have any experience with that. Please let me know. Thanks.

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Hi All

 

I am a newbie and love to build Zuma v3 but i need a big help!!!!! I got all components but don't know where to start, I able to install Window 8 to hard drive but what should i do with Bios set up? how do i install Jriver to this hard drive? sorry I spent lot of time to read the forum but getting confused. Can someone give me a good instruction from start to end please.......please. Thank you all for reading my post, Hien.

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I built a Zuma shortly after its intro, but with an Intel DQ77MK MOBO. Everything worked perfect for a long time till I moved from CA to CO. I kept it in the box for 7 months. Upon setup in our new sound room, I can't get any video. No POST, no nothing. The MOBO lights up and beeps, the Ethernet ports blinks. Everything seems fine, but no video. I've checked all connections for looseness, and I have changed video cables and monitors, so I know it's in the system. Any help on this dilemma is appreciated. Norm

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I built a Zuma shortly after its intro, but with an Intel DQ77MK MOBO. Everything worked perfect for a long time till I moved from CA to CO. I kept it in the box for 7 months. Upon setup in our new sound room, I can't get any video. No POST, no nothing. The MOBO lights up and beeps, the Ethernet ports blinks. Everything seems fine, but no video. I've checked all connections for looseness, and I have changed video cables and monitors, so I know it's in the system. Any help on this dilemma is appreciated. Norm

 

Try booting from a usb stick (make a bootable usb stick if you dont have one). Make sure the bios is set to boot from usb before internal HDD. If the video works, get the latest video driver from Microsoft and update the driver on the CAPS. Hope this helps.

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