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Best MOBO/ CPU combination to use for audio NAS?


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My current digital solution has evolved over the last 3 years from a PC running Jriver with

asynch USB to a wired Ethernet solution where the PC becomes basically a "tricked out"

high performance NAS for audio feeding a separate DLNA renderer. After searching the available

discussions and reviews for the last 8 months I've seen only 1 comparative review of

off the shelf commercial NAS's by audiophiles and that there is no way to validate before purchase

if any one of them performs musically as well as the solution l have built.

 

I have also with the last 8 months dabbled with a few motherboards that work with the Phenom II processors

I have. My current preferred MOBO is a Biostar 785GE which is several years old. I tried its earlier sibling a 780L

which sounded harsh, unresolving. Assuming a newer MOBO would provide improvements, I tried an ASRock

960GM/U3S3 to get the benefits of DDR3 and USB3... this sounded worse that the the 785GE but better than the

Biostar 780L. It was very apparent in swapping the 2 different Phenom II processors I had between MOBO's

that within the processor family an improvement in processor speed wasn't significant for audio performance....

the MOBO was the limiting factor. I use SSD OS drive, SSHD media drive,Noctua CPU fans, Rosewill fanless PS for the MOBO so that noise isn't a concern and the SATA drives are Ankar battery powered to eliminate bus power as a performance concern.

 

My preferred software setup at this point is WS2012 using Audiophil's script for core mode, with Foobar2000

as UPNP media server... Foobar2000 is funky for library info but beats out other media server software in my system

for low bass and the level of detail that helps you enjoy even ordinary recordings. I'm looking for a MOBO/CPU combination

that's in between the 2 extremes used in the CAP servers; the ITX MOBO's are underpowered, don't support a 64bit OS.

The 1150/intel 4770s looks like massive overkill for a NAS.

 

Anyone have suggestions on a current good compromise MOBO/CPU combination (ATX or uATX) that they have tried and

found suitable feeding a good quality streamer? Suspecting that MOBO's designed for consumer overclocking are the wrong direction, that a milspec philosophy of minimum RFI and EM noise prevention is the key.

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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I like the Intel Thin Mini ITX DQ77KB. It has an external 180 Watt power brick with a 1150 socket. It supports I3 to I7 processors. You have to use a special Intel heat sink and fan and find a thin mini case. I just stuck a low wattage I3 with 8 gig of memory. They make other flavors too, but this one the few that has the external power brick.

Dahlquist DQ-10 Speakers DQ-LP1 crossover 2 DW-1 Subs

Dynaco Mk III Mains - Rotel 991 Subs

Wyred W4S Pre Gustard X10 DAC

SOtM dx-USB-HD reclocked SOtMmBPS-d2s

Intel Thin-mini ITX

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If you use the I3 - I7 the graphics are on the CPU itself outputted through HDMI. Different CPU have some different graphic options as far as GPU clock speed. The only negative I see is the limited connectivity.

 

DSC_1654_zps348bb941.jpg

 

It has native USB 3 dual nics and the other gold connecter is for a wireless antenna.

 

DSC_1647_zps3f9db753.jpg

 

The guts with a Blue Tooth and wireless card and a 120 gig SD in a mSata slot. The Lian case also allows for two 2.5" drives. Good or bad it's 100% Intel with the recommended memory. I can't hear the fan at all and the heat sink contacts the case (making it a big heat sink) and I think you could go fanless with one of the lower wattage CPUs.

Dahlquist DQ-10 Speakers DQ-LP1 crossover 2 DW-1 Subs

Dynaco Mk III Mains - Rotel 991 Subs

Wyred W4S Pre Gustard X10 DAC

SOtM dx-USB-HD reclocked SOtMmBPS-d2s

Intel Thin-mini ITX

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