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New PC music server build, need Mobo recommendations


jjkale
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Happy Holidays to all...

I need to build a new server to support a PinkFaun multi-channel I2S card. This card is a PCIe.

I would like some suggestions on PC components; and really just the mobo. Looking for the best appropriate audiophile board out there.

Going in Position:

Win 10 Pro

Skylake

M.2 SSD

8 or 16 GB ram

HDPlex M5 Case (fanless)

I have an NAS, no other storage, no other cards, MCH audio only, Fidelizer Pro, JRiver, I have a very robust ethernet connection.

Again really only looking for motherboard recommendations.

Thanks very much!

jjk

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I'm using these two...

 

For Skylake (i5 6600T at the moment and waiting for Kabylake):

GIGABYTE - Motherboard - Socket 1151 - GA-Z170X-UD5 TH (rev. 1.0)

 

And for Broadwell-E (i7 6950X):

GIGABYTE - Motherboard - Socket 2011-3 - GA-X99M-Gaming 5 (rev. 1.0)

 

Nice thing with the Gaming -versions is the USB DAC-UP ports, with low noise and possibility to switch off the +5V line from BIOS settings. So this could be good alternative with Z170 chipset and I would now go for this one for Skylakes:

GIGABYTE - Motherboard - Socket 1151 - GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 (rev. 1.0)

It also has two different gigabit ethernet interfaces.

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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No such thing, audiophile mobo. That being said, get the mobo with just the minimum features, low power, to meet your needs.

Skylake, M2, minimum 1 PCIe slot, would recommend it to be 3.0. Here is the search on New Egg. Pick your poison.

HERE

Notice the micro ATX mobos are the cheapest, nothing wrong with them, just a bigger footprint and no problem since your going to use the H5 case, way more than enough room. If that Faun card is a half card, then make sure the 3.0 PCIe slot is the first one so it matches up to the H5 case.

(JRiver) Jetway barebones NUC (mod 3 sCLK-EX, Cybershaft OP 14)  (PH SR7) => mini pcie adapter to PCIe 1X => tXUSBexp PCIe card (mod sCLK-EX) (PH SR7) => (USPCB) Chord DAVE => Omega Super 8XRS/REL t5i  (All powered thru Topaz Isolation Transformer)

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No such thing, audiophile mobo.

 

IMO, closest thing are those Gigabyte Gaming-models I mentioned that have the special DAC-UP USB-ports (in addition to regular ones).

 

It also has separate casing and socketed replaceable op-amp (default comes with TI/BB OPA2134) for the onboard audio. But that's something I don't care about since I don't use the onboard audio.

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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IMO, closest thing are those Gigabyte Gaming-models I mentioned that have the special DAC-UP USB-ports (in addition to regular ones).

 

It also has separate casing and socketed replaceable op-amp (default comes with TI/BB OPA2134) for the onboard audio. But that's something I don't care about since I don't use the onboard audio.

 

I see, but the op isn't planning on using the USB ports, at least for DAC. Pink Faun card, so he won't need that feature either. Those gaming mobos are overkill in my opinion for what the op wants to do. Best to go as low power as possible. In fact, I think I would bag on the skylake mobo and go for an embedded mobo with one PCIe slot. Also bag on the H5 case and M2. Go low power, small footprint, as long as it fills your needs.

 

As I suggest in this thread, http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f10-music-servers/help-specifying-low-power-unattended-roon-server-30918/

(JRiver) Jetway barebones NUC (mod 3 sCLK-EX, Cybershaft OP 14)  (PH SR7) => mini pcie adapter to PCIe 1X => tXUSBexp PCIe card (mod sCLK-EX) (PH SR7) => (USPCB) Chord DAVE => Omega Super 8XRS/REL t5i  (All powered thru Topaz Isolation Transformer)

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I see, but the op isn't planning on using the USB ports, at least for DAC. Pink Faun card, so he won't need that feature either.

 

Yes, that's true.

 

Those gaming mobos are overkill in my opinion for what the op wants to do.

 

It is not clear to me what he wants to do... If there's intention to run any DSP or heavier graphics then there's need for more computing power too.

 

Best to go as low power as possible. In fact, I think I would bag on the skylake mobo and go for an embedded mobo with one PCIe slot. Also bag on the H5 case and M2. Go low power, small footprint, as long as it fills your needs.

 

Mobo power consumption doesn't vary much based on model. Power management will keep the unused items idling at low power anyway.

 

The reason why I chose the GA-Z170X-UD TH for my Skylake was that it is the their Ultra Durable series with better capacitors with longer MTBF. I've seen too many cheap boards with blown caps. Important if the machine is on 24/7. Better boards have also better and cleaner onboard PSUs for PCIe etc. Another reason was to have latest M.2 (I use Samsung 950 Pro M.2 SSD) and USB 3.1 Type-C with Thunderbolt 3 (for this like this). Plus of course dual-channel dual bank XMP DDR4 RAM. For low power and quiet operation I chose the CPU from low TDP T-series.

 

 

Roon wasn't mentioned here, but just JRiver.

 

For low power, passive cooled use I have this Braswell machine with 16 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD:

CL100 Series | Industrial Computers | Logic Supply Europe

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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Dudes! Miska, Elvia, STC:

Thanks very much. All good points.

I tried to be specific...I will add a bit more.

Currently I'm Broadwell NUC i5 hdmi to Oppo 105 MCH DAC. My objective is to improve the MCH resolution.

I'm pretty much set on the PinkFaun MCH I2S bridge, probably to 3 x PinkFaun stereo DACs. Possibly PS Audio DACs.

I'm also pretty much set on the HDPlex M5. I have the HDPlex LPS and have been happy with it.

Not interested in Roon.

Yes, lowest noise, lowest power, continuous operation/reliability is what I'm looking for.

This will only be for music playback. I have a separate chain for Directv/Bluray.

Having said that, I will use it for the occasional internet search and I may "cache up" a movie from the NAS every once in a while.

16GB ram or is 8 enough?

Good call Elvia on the PinkFaun card size; Larry at HDPlex said same.

STC, that board is pretty cool. Not for me, but interesting. What is it?

Thanks again, best wishes!

jjk

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