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If a fanless machine is the answer ......


Ned Kelly

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Just curious - how many of us are using fanless computers ? I'm not talking super-quiet fans - I'm talking no fans at all. They were all the rage in the HTPC market but surprisingly they dont seem as popular among audiophiles as I might have thought - am I missing something here ?

 

Not sure what sort of heat is generated from a Core i7 through the cooling fins on this little guy, but I imagine that I would need a fan somewhere in the room before pushing it too hard.

 

Intense PC with Ivybridge CPU - The Slim, Tough, Powerful Fanless PC | Tiny Green PC

Just one more headphone and I know I can kick this nasty little habit !

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If a silent fan can be used, I don't see the point in building a fanless PC.

"Silent" fans may not be silent electrically.

 

The CAPS design that many people follow are completely fabless utilising cases with heatsinks; or using low powered processors which do not require additional cooling.

 

Eloise

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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One of the "functions" of a fan in a PC is to draw in dust and dirt from outside the case. When you have a fanless PC you don't get this feature.:)

 

I think the cleaner PC is quite a desireable feature.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Not sure what sort of heat is generated from a Core i7

 

It's only 17 watts for the one you linked. I use a silent fan because my audio pc is in an enclosure and does get much air flow. My main PC is water cooled, but it is a gaming (or was) rig and my video cards fans sound like a jet getting ready for take off.

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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I'm using the cubox i4 and I will never buy a "fanny" pc again ever except when my quad core desktop dies which is never in the foreseen future.. If I could dispose off my e350m at a good price I would get another soc board for my NAS. The desktop because I complied kernels now and then will remain mainstream.

 

I am seeing device proliferation at home for purpose built use. Thanks to the 10w soc boards I am considering another two for specific applications.

 

The only other use case I see for a fan is in an HDD cooling enclosure.

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"Silent" fans may not be silent electrically.

 

The CAPS design that many people follow are completely fabless utilising cases with heatsinks; or using low powered processors which do not require additional cooling.

 

Eloise

 

+1

 

my acoustically inaudible Noctura fan has a very audible emi/rfi signature that very noticeably degrades the sound as soon as I turn the fan on. Good thing is I have a massive heat sink mounted on the CPU and hardly ever have to turn the fan on. When the room temp is high, 27C, I need to turn the fan on, but in about a minute the CPU temperature is way down

Sound Test, Monaco

Consultant to Sound Galleries Monaco, and Taiko Audio Holland

e-mail [email protected]

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Appreciate the feedback, guys - it would seem that it's just those of us with stock Macs that need to look at ways of either eliminating our fans or powering them externally. I'm slowly working my way through this stuff, but it does make sense to focus on the most obvious culprits - fans and spinning hard drives - before looking for the 'silver bullet' in software. I hope the board will endure a few more of my 'well, duh - that's kinda obvious ...' threads over the next month or so - the alternative is something from Bryston and that's an expensive option here.

Just one more headphone and I know I can kick this nasty little habit !

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Both SOtM and Superdad (Alex C) can supply electrical fan filters that clean up the radiated RF/EMI due to typical Pulse Width Modulation of around 25kHz from the motherboard to the fan. John Swenson designed the fan filter PCB that Alex C will be supplying.

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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FYI - there's a company in China called Stintech selling fanless mini computers (barebones without RAM and SSD installed) with 15W i7-4500U Haswell

 

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/The-high-review-mini-pc-desktop-computer-mini-itx-barebone-small-HTPCs-with-haswell-Intel-Core/1882237738.html

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Free-Mail-Fanless-Mini-PC-Barebone-System-Intel-Core-i7-4500U-Max-3-0GHz-Support-Blu/2019590958.html

http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=2429328540

http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=6016492912

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http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=40602650257

http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=40654693003

 

Unboxing of a cheaper (starting @ 220 bucks) 17W i7-3517U Ivy Bridge version

 

http://www.chiphell.com/thread-1100919-1-1.html

http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=40410812891

http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=40450838691

http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=40479828018

http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=40491413414

http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=40513580227

 

Simply do a search on Aliexpress and we'll find even cheaper ones with i5 / i3 / C1037U processors

 

http://www.chiphell.com/thread-1068542-1-1.html

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I'm using the cubox i4 and I will never buy a "fanny" pc again ever except when my quad core desktop dies which is never in the foreseen future.. If I could dispose off my e350m at a good price I would get another soc board for my NAS. The desktop because I complied kernels now and then will remain mainstream.

 

I am seeing device proliferation at home for purpose built use. Thanks to the 10w soc boards I am considering another two for specific applications.

 

The only other use case I see for a fan is in an HDD cooling enclosure.

 

Hi,

 

What OS and player software are you running?

 

regards

Bob

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I use a fanless machine but I don't think it's strictly necessary. I tried externally powering a silent (inaudible) Noctua fan and could not really tell whether it was on or off. Fanless is less maintenance and possibly some marginal improvements in other areas but I would not stress if you need a fan. It won't hold the sound back as long as it is silent. On the other had I have spent way too much on vibration feet etc so removing the need for a fan is sort of in line with that mode of thinking.

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My main ripping computer is a custom built PC in a Zalman fabless case, with two SSD. I don't know what processor it uses (CC would know) but sonically it was better using Windows XP (that was 4 years ago). It is on 24x7 either ripping (about 15 hours a day or processing (declicking mostly) 24 hours a day. It is also not connected to the internet and most everything is shut down except for what is necessary to rip and process the files.

 

Larry

Analog-VPIClas3,3DArm,LyraSkala+MiyajimaZeromono,Herron VTPH2APhono,2AmpexATR-102+MerrillTridentMaster TapePreamp  Dig Rip-Pyramix,IzotopeRX3Adv,MykerinosCard,PacificMicrosonicsModel2; Dig Play-Lampi Pacific, mch NADAC, Roon-HQPlayer,Oppo105  Electronics-DoshiPre,CJ MET1mchPre,Cary2A3monoamps Speakers-AvantgardeDuosLR,3SolosC,LR,RR

Other-2x512EngineerMarutaniSymmetrical Power+Cables Music-15KRecs(90%classical),1.7KR2Rtapes,1.5KCD's,500SACDs,50TBripped files

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Hi,

 

What OS and player software are you running?

 

regards

Bob

Arch Linux with MPD. Arch is the only OS I managed to install successfully. Voyage mubox has boot errors about ext4load that I once resolved then overwrote the sdcard and now when I reinstalled - both my memory and Google fails me about what exactly I did with u-boot to fix that months ago.

 

My main ripping computer is a custom built PC in a Zalman fabless case, with two SSD. I don't know what processor it uses (CC would know) but sonically it was better using Windows XP (that was 4 years ago). It is on 24x7 either ripping (about 15 hours a day or processing (declicking mostly) 24 hours a day. It is also not connected to the internet and most everything is shut down except for what is necessary to rip and process the files.

 

Larry

 

Hello,

That's exactly what I need - I have 300 CDs waiting to be ripped since many years because I am too lazy to manually rip one by one diligently every day. How did you operationalize a 24x7 ripping task? I guess you still have to check every hour if the CD has finished and replace with a new one.

Can you tell me more about this ripper PC?

 

I use a fanless machine but I don't think it's strictly necessary. I tried externally powering a silent (inaudible) Noctua fan and could not really tell whether it was on or off. Fanless is less maintenance and possibly some marginal improvements in other areas but I would not stress if you need a fan. It won't hold the sound back as long as it is silent. On the other had I have spent way too much on vibration feet etc so removing the need for a fan is sort of in line with that mode of thinking.

Its not about audible fan noise its the electrical noise...

 

Given the revelation made by another poster that pwm on the fans introduce emi - now I know why the sonics of my dual core e350m itx mobo had a higher noise floor than the quad core fanless arm soc based cubox. Apart from other chipset architectural design reasons being a contributor, the chassis front 120mm fan for cooling HDD and the CPU fan must have been the culprits too.

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Hello,

That's exactly what I need - I have 300 CDs waiting to be ripped since many years because I am too lazy to manually rip one by one diligently every day. How did you operationalize a 24x7 ripping task? I guess you still have to check every hour if the CD has finished and replace with a new one.

Can you tell me more about this ripper PC?

 

Unfortunately, the ripping is all manual, all vinyl and R2R tapes, so it is all real time. So far I have done about 8000 albums. (about 24TB all at 192/24). Usually I start about 8 AM and finish around 11PM. I use Pyramix software and a Mykerinos card from Merging Technologies feeding into a Pacific Microsonics Model Two. The decllicking is automatic, using Izotope RX2 Advanced, It goes on around the clock, since the declicking takes longer than the ripping. I can do about 10 albums a day, given breaks, etc. Fortunately I am retired and I only have about 2500 albums left until I am finished, about a year more.

 

Larry

Analog-VPIClas3,3DArm,LyraSkala+MiyajimaZeromono,Herron VTPH2APhono,2AmpexATR-102+MerrillTridentMaster TapePreamp  Dig Rip-Pyramix,IzotopeRX3Adv,MykerinosCard,PacificMicrosonicsModel2; Dig Play-Lampi Pacific, mch NADAC, Roon-HQPlayer,Oppo105  Electronics-DoshiPre,CJ MET1mchPre,Cary2A3monoamps Speakers-AvantgardeDuosLR,3SolosC,LR,RR

Other-2x512EngineerMarutaniSymmetrical Power+Cables Music-15KRecs(90%classical),1.7KR2Rtapes,1.5KCD's,500SACDs,50TBripped files

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Unfortunately, the ripping is all manual, all vinyl and R2R tapes, so it is all real time. So far I have done about 8000 albums. (about 24TB all at 192/24). Usually I start about 8 AM and finish around 11PM. I use Pyramix software and a Mykerinos card from Merging Technologies feeding into a Pacific Microsonics Model Two. The decllicking is automatic, using Izotope RX2 Advanced, It goes on around the clock, since the declicking takes longer than the ripping. I can do about 10 albums a day, given breaks, etc. Fortunately I am retired and I only have about 2500 albums left until I am finished, about a year more.

 

Larry

 

Larry, I retired at the ripe old age of 55 precisely so that I would never have to spend that many hours chained to a computer again - if there is an award for sheer perseverance they'd have to give it to you. I'm gobsmacked that anyone would take on a task like that - it must seem like a very steep mountain to climb. I realise you arent ripping CDs either, making it even more tedious - no idea what a commercial operation would charge you for that service but it would be very expensive.

 

CD Ripping Service : information Our CD ripping service takes...

 

All the best with the next year or so of ripping and I hope the end results make it all worthwhile.

Just one more headphone and I know I can kick this nasty little habit !

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Transcribing vinyl and other analogue material doesn't have to be such a chore... The main tedium is with the initial transcribing so why not leave the recording device setup so when you play a record you record it. Then at your leisure edit into tracks, etc.

 

Eloise

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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I think you are missing that that is the point. It would appear as astrotoy is looking for very high quality. The transcribing is the difficulty and de-clicking takes longer than real time. I am sure he is listening along the way, but: adding the metadata probably takes a few minutes per side, then record cleaning and handling... half the LP play time could easily be consumed. It needs to be done to make the files sort-able long term, and can understand the OCD aspect of having it completed. Not what I would call leisure listening. Gobsmacked was a good expression. I am awed, and commend the effort. If I could do that, I might give up vinyl.

Transcribing vinyl and other analogue material doesn't have to be such a chore... The main tedium is with the initial transcribing so why not leave the recording device setup so when you play a record you record it. Then at your leisure edit into tracks, etc.

 

Eloise

Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

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

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

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Thanks for all the good thoughts. It actually is not that bad. I put on a record and then I can go away for half an hour (if the record has timings on it, I can go away for the appropriate time.) Since my collection is almost all classical, the metadata issues are pretty easy, not a lot of tracks, often just info for one side of the record. Once a side it ripped, it gets moved to Izotope, which has a batch file function, so it just stacks up to be declicked automatically, while I go on ripping.

 

I have almost complete collections of the stereo Decca, EMI, Mercury, and RCA classical recordings from the analogue era as well as many others, a total of about 15,000 records and 1000 or so prerecorded tapes. At the end of the five year project, I will have ripped about 10,000+ records and tapes.

 

While the ripping process is going on, I can watch a blurry opera, or listen to a previously ripped and declicked album through my alternative DAC (BADA2 with BA USB and A+ or JR on a Mac Mini). I also have ripping a bunch (about 500 SACD's) which I can play mch through an Exasound E28.

 

Over the past 18 months, I have also been writing a book, so I have been going downstairs to write (on my home office computer.) If you are interested, it just came out last week, published by First Impression Music, called Decca:Supreme Stereophonic Legacy and comes with 4 CD's of excerpts of the some of the greatest Decca recordings, not ripped by me, but remastered by multi Grammy winners Michael Bishop and Robert Friedrich of Five/Four Productions. Winston Ma produced the book/CD's and commissioned me to write it. All the major US dealers are carrying it (Elusive Disc, Acoustic Sounds and Music Direct.) Also available from dealers in Asia and Europe.

 

Larry

 

PS. If you want to rip CD's on a PC, I use dbpoweramp and you can choose the format to rip to. It takes about 4-5 minutes to rip a CD accurately, and the metadata all appears for the vast majority of CD's. I usually do FLAC with zero compression, since storage is trivial in cost for a CD. So if you are working on your PC, you can do about a dozen CD's in an hour. Once the CD is ripped, dbpoweramp can convert the CD into just about any other format very quickly. My consultant, Tim Marutani is doing a huge CD ripping project, many 10's of thousands of CD's, using an automated process, with some sort of bulk CD changer, I have not looked at it, but I am guessing is it overkill for 300 CD's.

Analog-VPIClas3,3DArm,LyraSkala+MiyajimaZeromono,Herron VTPH2APhono,2AmpexATR-102+MerrillTridentMaster TapePreamp  Dig Rip-Pyramix,IzotopeRX3Adv,MykerinosCard,PacificMicrosonicsModel2; Dig Play-Lampi Pacific, mch NADAC, Roon-HQPlayer,Oppo105  Electronics-DoshiPre,CJ MET1mchPre,Cary2A3monoamps Speakers-AvantgardeDuosLR,3SolosC,LR,RR

Other-2x512EngineerMarutaniSymmetrical Power+Cables Music-15KRecs(90%classical),1.7KR2Rtapes,1.5KCD's,500SACDs,50TBripped files

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"Silent" fans may not be silent electrically.

 

The CAPS design that many people follow are completely fabless utilising cases with heatsinks; or using low powered processors which do not require additional cooling.

 

Eloise

 

I'm not on a custom built yet - old laptop does the job perfectly so far.

 

Dedicated, min installation, 6 hour battery and no mains on playback, basically fanless (switches on only at around 75 Celsius, means in practice during listening with max. 8% CPU usage: NEVER)

 

My simple take is, if you allow noise pollution from a fan in the listening environment, you'll constantly suffer and it's devaluating any other investment you do.

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Its not about audible fan noise its the electrical noise...

 

Actually... its about both. Audible noise for the sound engineer who needs absolute silence.. And, the electrical noise that mixes in with the music in a way that you have no way to know its there until its gone. Its like plugging your audio equipment into a quality line conditioner and your system sounds better. Fanless is better than a line conditioner. Because the noise in not being (partially) filtered out. Its not even being introduced.

 

Just got my fanless PC last week. When I listen to videos of concerts the sound is now quieter. Not the music the musicians are playing. What we hear between the notes has a quiet to it. More like an actual live performance.

 

 

And, if properly heat-sinked, the temperature is surprisingly low. I checked my CPU temp (Haswell Intel chip) and I saw the where abouts of 103 degrees F on average. For a CPU that is very comfortable. The heat sink is huge... and very effective. And, the new kind of excellent fanless power supplies make a nice difference having very low ripple. The music is just quieter now, as in how you feel quieter in your soul while listening.

It all depends upon in what dimension of life one finds themselves living in.  For, one man's music is another man's noise. 

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I have been wondering how much noise a pico psu would add. Somebody else must agree as here is a audiophile version of one.

 

HD-Plex Power Accessories

I probably wouldn't even worry about fan electrical noise if you're building CAPS style with pico etc. The noise from pico is already an order or magnitude worse than the best full-ATX power supplies.

Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

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

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

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