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Optane SSD as Boot drive - SQ Nirvana?


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2 hours ago, Forehaven said:

Hi Larry,

At Ted's suggestion, I tried moving my pc upstairs to listening room to listen to USB direct. So PC to IsoReg to SU 1 (both powered by LPS 1's) to Spring via I2S. 

Holy Smokes!  It rocks.  Octane on order.  Strong work Larry and Ted!

 

I have the same setup, at least temporarily, and it does sound real good!

 

PC -> WireWorld Starlight Platinum USB cable -> ISO REGEN (LPS-1 powered) -> PCUSB -> SU-1 (modded, LPS-1 powered) -> Apollo-AV Lightning V2 HDMI cable -> Holo Audio Spring Level 3 DAC

 

The PC I'm using is an Intel NUC6i7KYK with a fanless chassis.  It is up to the job of upsampling PCM to DSD512 using HQPlayer.  I don't have Optane memory installed, though, but instead a Samsung 850 EVO M.2 SATA 1TB SSD carrying a fraction of my library locally.

 

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Sam,

Try the USB cable last (i.e from ISO Regen to SU-1) and tell us what you think.  Larry said an interesting thing to me...the ISO Regen is like an amplifier so you want clean (USPCB) to it, but then USB cable is like a filter and you might want that after the ISO Regen.  YMMV.

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Ted, I know you mentioned using a 1M USB cable.  Am I right assuming that this is the max recommended length?  It'd sure have a better WAF if I go to a 2 or 3M USB run lol

Ryzen 7 2700 PC Server, NUC7CJYH w. 4G Apacer RAM as Renderer/LPS 1.2 - IsoRegen/LPS-1/.2 - Singxer SU-1/LPS1.2 - Holo Spring Level 3 DAC - LTA MicroZOTL MZ2 - Modwright KWA 150 Signature Amp - Tidal Audio Piano's.  

.

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3 hours ago, scan80269 said:

AHCI is for SATA drives.  Optane memory sticks talk PCIe x2 interface and support NVMe protocol only.  To use Optane memory as SSD for booting Win10, the inbox Win10 NVMe driver (stornvme.sys) should automatically install to provide the proper boot support during OS installation.  In essence, you can just pretend the Optane memory stick is a 32GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, and Win10 will support it just like any other M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD in the market.

 

Scab,

 

Thanks for your correction, of course you are absolutely right!

Pareto Audio aka nuckleheadaudio

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5 hours ago, Forehaven said:

Hi Larry,

At Ted's suggestion, I tried moving my pc upstairs to listening room to listen to USB direct. So PC to IsoReg to SU 1 (both powered by LPS 1's) to Spring via I2S. 

Holy Smokes!  It rocks.  Octane on order.  Strong work Larry and Ted!

 

 

3 hours ago, scan80269 said:

I have the same setup, at least temporarily, and it does sound real good!

 

PC -> WireWorld Starlight Platinum USB cable -> ISO REGEN (LPS-1 powered) -> PCUSB -> SU-1 (modded, LPS-1 powered) -> Apollo-AV Lightning V2 HDMI cable -> Holo Audio Spring Level 3 DAC

 

The PC I'm using is an Intel NUC6i7KYK with a fanless chassis.  It is up to the job of upsampling PCM to DSD512 using HQPlayer.  I don't have Optane memory installed, though, but instead a Samsung 850 EVO M.2 SATA 1TB SSD carrying a fraction of my library locally.

 

Glad see see that the three of you are enjoying the direct connection approach. The Optane and Adnaco deliver terrific gains, as does the Lush cable between the ISO Regen and DAC. While it's been a long road I am hearing beautiful music here.  Trust me you will know it when you hear it.

Pareto Audio aka nuckleheadaudio

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Has anyone who has tried the Optane boot drive gone from a SLC nand flash SSD?  And if so what were the sonic differences?  A while back I went from a consumer grade SSD (TLC nand flash) to a SLC nand flash drive and my jaw dropped at the sonic difference.  You think I changed speakers, amps or another significant part of the system, not a storage device, it was a very big difference.  So curious if someone has done this.

 

I recently built a new audio PC for a friend (i7-7700K) I used a SLC SSD and a PCIe/SATA adaptor card in the X16 slot which has a more direct path to the CPU than the normal SATA ports which run thru the MB chipset.  I did not note much of a sonic improvement using this connection method vs my SLC SSD going thru my sata port on my MB.  Changing from a platinum PSU to a titanium PSU actually yielded a larger sonic gain than using the PCIe/Sata adaptor card did.

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23 hours ago, ted_b said:

Sam,

Try the USB cable last (i.e from ISO Regen to SU-1) and tell us what you think.  Larry said an interesting thing to me...the ISO Regen is like an amplifier so you want clean (USPCB) to it, but then USB cable is like a filter and you might want that after the ISO Regen.  YMMV.

Hi Ted / Larry, 

 

This is really interesting. I can't try the Optane thing without replacing my server. And it's new so that's not happening any time soon. Though this thread is really intriguing! 

 

But I currently have Microrendu > Lush > ISO Regen > USPCB > SU-1. 

 

I'll try swapping the Lush and USPCB tomorrow to see if that further improves things. 

 

A 100% free tweak! Brilliant :D

 

Many Thanks, 

Alan 

Synergistic Research Powercell UEF SE > Sonore OpticalModule (LPS-1.2 & DXP-1A5DSC) > EtherRegen (SR4T & DXP-1A5DSC) > PinkFaun modded Buffalo BS-GS2016P (Farad Super3 & LPS-1.2) > (Sablon 2020 LAN) Innuos Zenith SE server > (Sablon 2020 USB) Innuos Phoenix > (Sablon 2020 USB) PS Audio Directstream DAC > PS Audio M1200 monoblocks > Salk Sound Supercharged Songtowers 

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  • 2 weeks later...

OK, so having read the Maximum PC article above, I realized that my Optane card and motherboard USB port were sharing the same 4 Gb DMI lanes from the PCH(z170) to the CPU. Using this <$20 card:

 

https://www.asus.com/us/Motherboard-Accessory/HYPER_M2_X4_MINI_CARD/

 

one can move the Optane from the m.2 motherboard slot to one of the direct to CPU PCIE slots on the motherboard.  For me, this removed any contention for PCIE lanes in my 3 device PC, Adnaco fiber controller, motherboard USB, and PCIE m.2 card with Optane.

 

Careful reading of your motherboard manual will help you get this right.

 

This brought another really nice jump in sound quality here with noticeably increased presence.

 

 

 

 

Pareto Audio aka nuckleheadaudio

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  • 2 weeks later...
1 hour ago, lateboomer said:

Larry, just to clarify you are running win10 and Hqplayer upsample to dsd512 at your music server? There is NAA on the other end which is ultrarendu? So the improvement with m.2 nvme at music server is very obvious even with NAA setup?

Hi lateboomer,

 

I have a MicroRendu functioning as an NAA together with my Optane Roon / HQPlayer Music Server and would claim that the improvement is obvious. The nicest part of the equation is that the invest is minimal if your PC supports the Optane Module. 

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11 minutes ago, lmitche said:

Unfortunately today I received two reports of fried Optane modules today, one in the US, the other in the Netherlands. Both were used in motherboard m.2 slots.  My vertically mounted Optane on the Asus card seems just fine, but I'm going to back it up just in case.

Wow, I haven't seen any reports in the press about Optane failures.  Any idea what is causing the problem?

NUC7PJYH/AL --> Berkeley Alpha USB --> Jeff Rowland Aeris --> Jeff Rowland 625 S2 --> Focal Utopia 3 Diablos with 2 x Focal Electra SW 1000 BE subs

 

i7-6700K/Windows 10 Version 2004/HDPLEX 300W/HDPLEX 400W DC-ATX --> EVGA Nu Audio Card --> Focal CMS50's 

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Guys, thank you for the clarification. As I couldn't find the setup info from your profiles that is why I asked. Not that I want to question your assessment. I follow this thread with great interest as in near future I would like to setup i7 music server running Daphile capable of upsampling to dsd256. My initial choice is Asus H110I-PLUS as it is mini-itx in size and use atx power connection, but doesn't have m.2 port.

So for better future proof , do you suggest Asus z170m-plus? I think I could live with micro-atx form factor. Should I opt for i7-7700 or i7-6770 is performing better like cheaper or maybe generating lesser heat?

 

Anyway, for power I just bought masterCooler 400W desktop PSU for the board which has 85% efficiency. I ignored segetop titanium 500W psu with 95% efficiency and think it is just marketing gimmick until I follow this thread. What do you think?

 

Thank you.

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2 hours ago, lateboomer said:

Guys, thank you for the clarification. As I couldn't find the setup info from your profiles that is why I asked. Not that I want to question your assessment. I follow this thread with great interest as in near future I would like to setup i7 music server running Daphile capable of upsampling to dsd256. My initial choice is Asus H110I-PLUS as it is mini-itx in size and use atx power connection, but doesn't have m.2 port.

So for better future proof , do you suggest Asus z170m-plus? I think I could live with micro-atx form factor. Should I opt for i7-7700 or i7-6770 is performing better like cheaper or maybe generating lesser heat?

 

Anyway, for power I just bought masterCooler 400W desktop PSU for the board which has 85% efficiency. I ignored segetop titanium 500W psu with 95% efficiency and think it is just marketing gimmick until I follow this thread. What do you think?

 

Thank you.

Here is the ATX PSU I'd used if I was starting a new build today:

http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story&reid=481

 

I would also use a z270 motherboard with two m.2 slots one of which can be setup as a direct pcie to cpu slot. I think the Asus ROG board does this, but I'd check to be sure.

Pareto Audio aka nuckleheadaudio

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Hmmm.... I need to read in details again in the thread about the dedicated pcie lane stuff. Thank you for the suggestion, I appreciate it.

 

Another thing is currently I am running Daphile off USB3 port with 16GB Ultra slim pen drive at music server and pc streamer. 
With this are we implying that better sound could be had by swithching to running Daphile from M.2 NVMe which will perform the best in latency?
So with that thought wouldn't it be better to setup another small barebone form factor client (disable unused usbs, wifi and other functions) with Ethernet setup and running with M.2 NVMe like the NAA to get best sound?

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11 hours ago, rickca said:

Wow, I haven't seen any reports in the press about Optane failures.  Any idea what is causing the problem?

We don't know what caused the problems.

 

The Optane drives do run hot. That is likely the reason for failure in the Netherlands. The packaging also suggests that the Optane is very sensitive to static electricity.  The second failure happened after a move of the board from a motherboard slot to an Asus card. Perhaps there was a problem in the move.

 

This is too bad, as everyone agrees the SQ benefits are real.

Pareto Audio aka nuckleheadaudio

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As concluded I think moving the os to m.2 nvme with separate pcie lane resulted in sonic bump. But I wonder how about the USB external drive music source and then audio output via another USB or HDMI, aren't they shared the same pcie lane? That is mean extra switching for pcie controller. How do  we improve it?

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47 minutes ago, lateboomer said:

As concluded I think moving the os to m.2 nvme with separate pcie lane resulted in sonic bump. But I wonder how about the USB external drive music source and then audio output via another USB or HDMI, aren't they shared the same pcie lane? That is mean extra switching for pcie controller. How do  we improve it?

One could separate the two USB chains by adding a pcie USB card and installing it in a slot with a direct cpu connection. This could be a standard commodity USB card or an audiophile card like the Jcat femto.

 

Over here I have the Adnaco fiber card in one of the two direct to cpu pcie slots. The other contains the Asus m.2 and Optane card. This way the only use of the pch(z170) is from the motherboard based USB connection to the DAC.

Pareto Audio aka nuckleheadaudio

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I see. You have explained it so clearly that only after all these years and now I realize the pcie usb's role. I got one pcie Sotm usb card lying around many years ago when I bought the CAPS 2.0 kit to assemble, and I never understand its role.

 

Anyway, I think the Asus M.2 pcie card with Z170M-Plus is a good idea and compromise because it is much cheaper compared with Z270 mobo. I can use the M.2 pcie card at my current Asrock J3455B-ITX music server mobo to shift the os to dedicated pcie lane. If it doesn't work out, I still can use it at Z170M-Plus and I can also add in Sotm usb pcie card to it. But Asrock doesn't have extra pcie slot to put in Sotm card.

 

For Z270M-Plus, I tried to look at its manual but didn't find the instructions how to set one of the M.2 slot to direct connect to CPU.

 

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8 minutes ago, lateboomer said:

I see. You have explained it so clearly that only after all these years and now I realize the pcie usb's role. I got one pcie Sotm usb card lying around many years ago when I bought the CAPS 2.0 kit to assemble, and I never understand its role.

 

Anyway, I think the Asus M.2 pcie card with Z170M-Plus is a good idea and compromise because it is much cheaper compared with Z270 mobo. I can use the M.2 pcie card at my current Asrock J3455B-ITX music server mobo to shift the os to dedicated pcie lane. If it doesn't work out, I still can use it at Z170M-Plus and I can also add in Sotm usb pcie card to it. But Asrock doesn't have extra pcie slot to put in Sotm card.

 

For Z270M-Plus, I tried to look at its manual but didn't find the instructions how to set one of the M.2 slot to direct connect to CPU.

 

 

I don't believe Optane is compatible with the 100 series chipsets.  I could be wrong, but you can verify here:

https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/memory-and-storage/intel-optane-memory/000024020.html

 

Of course if you don't want to use Optane this isn't an issue.

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