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zachary

Audio PC Build - Streacom FC9 Fanless, Intel Z370, SOtM tX-USBexp, HDPLEX 200W Linear Power Supply + 400W DC-ATX

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Hi all!

 

I'm new to the forum, but have been reading around and been really enjoying the community, support, and ideas shared.

 

I recently picked up some KEF Q150 bookshelf speakers, receiver, and a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB (DC) turntable (w/ Schiit Mani preamp)—just getting started in the world of hi-fi audio, and have much to learn (but having a lot of fun). However, despite the incredible sound coming from my vinyl collection with my new setup, I've been scheming a way to integrate digital music into my setup. After about a solid month of research and learning, I have a parts list for my planned digital audio PC / music server build.

 

I wanted to share and hear all thoughts / suggestions / concerns before I pull the trigger—it's not the cheapest build (approx. $2650).

 

The main goal is to run either Ubuntu or Windows 10 for a Roon server / Tidal playback on the DAC I'm about to buy—Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital. The other goal of the build was to allow for 4K HDR playback (so 3840x2160 @ 60Hz) as an HTPC. Also, trying to limit the TDP as much as possible and go completely fanless/silent/no moving parts. The PC will live "headless" in my living room next to the stereo equipment.

 

Here it is!

 

 

 CATEGORY COMPONENT MODEL NO. NOTES
Case

Streacom FC9 Alpha Fanless Chassis, Non-Optical, Silver

ST-FC9S-ALPHA

Fanless, passive heatsink case, supports PCIe cards up to 155mm in length (with drive tray attached)

IR Receiver

Streacom Flirc SE IR Receiver

FLIRC-SE

IR control (for use with Logitech Harmony Hub / Echo Dot / Alexa)

CPU Heatsink Riser

Streacom HT4 Thermal Riser

STHT4

For compatibility with MSI Z370M Gaming Pro AC

Motherboard

MSI Z370M Gaming Pro AC, Intel Z370

 

Intel Z370 Chipset

CPU

Intel i5-8400 8th Gen, 6-Core 2.8GHz

BX80684I58400

65W TDP

GPU

MSI GeForce GT 1030 2GH LP OC, 2GB GDDR5

 

• 35W TDP
• 153mm length w/ passive heatsink, to fit in FC9 case
• HDMI 2.0b: 4K 60Hz (HDCP 2.2), takes up 1.5 slots, so connecting to lower x16 PCIe slot (blocking unused lower x1 PCIe slot)

RAM

HyperX Predator DDR4-4000 Black, 16GB (2x8GB)

HX440C19PB3/8

(On MBO supported RAM list)

Boot Drive

Samsung 970 EVO SSD, NVMe M.2, 500GB

MZ-V7E500BW

NVMe M.2, 3400 MB/s read, 2300 MB/s write

Storage Drive

Crucial MX500 SSD, SATA 3 2.5", 2TB

CT2000MX500SSD1

SATA 3, 2.5"

NVMe M.2 Heatsink

EKWB EK-M.2 NVMe Heatsink, Black

3830046991737

For NVMe SSD cooling

PSU

HDPLEX 400W HiFi DC-ATX

   
Linear Power Supply

HDPLEX 200W Linear Power Supply, Silver

 

• 19V 7.4x5.0mm > HDPLEX PSU
• 9V 5.5x2.1mm > SOtM tX-USBexp
• 5V 5.5x2.1mm > Micro USB DC adapter > DAC

USB Audio Card

SOtM tX-USBexp USB 3.0 Audio Card

tX-USBexp

External power via LPS, connecting to upper x1 PCIe slot

Power Filter Card

Elfidelity Rainbow Sugar 2 Hi-Fi Audio Power Filter Card

AXF-104

Internal power filtering, connecting to upper x16 PCIe slot

USB Cable

AudioQuest Carbon USB Cable, 0.75m/2.5ft

65-089-12

For connection to DAC

USB Filter

AudioQuest JitterBug USB Filter

JITTERBUG

SOtM tX-USBexp > AQ JitterBug > AQ Carbon > DAC

DC Adapter

Adafruit MicroUSB to 5.5x2.1mm DC Barrel Jack Adapter

2789

Convert 5.5x2.1mm DC jack (from HDPLEX LPS XLR to 5.5x2.1mm DC cable) to Micro USB, for DAC

DAC

Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital, Silver

  5V Micro USB power

 

 

Thank y'all very much in advance! Cheers,

 

Z

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15 hours ago, zachary said:

I wanted to share and hear all thoughts / suggestions / concerns before I pull the trigger—it's not the cheapest build (approx. $2650).

Have a read of the audiolinux /nuc thread and the last few pages of the "a novel way...... " thread. A lot of us have moved to 2 box solutions server - renderer, to achieve better sound quality.

With your budget I would suggest, 2 x nuc7i7dnbe/ dnhe NUC"s both running audiolinux. One as roonserver one as roonbridge.

These can be powered by 2 rails from the new 200W hdplex. Your ssd can connect to the server, and be powered separately from a 5v hdplex rail.

You can put these in Akasa fanless cases.

Both booting into 8gb ram.

If you really wanted a dedicated graphics card then a hades canyon as server in Akasa case.

This will beat a one box setup.

From the list you provided I would still run the machine with audiolinux, but switch USB cards to ocxo clocked pink faun or the linear solution PCIE USB. I would not use jitterbug or elfidelty filters.

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This is incredibly helpful, thank you!

 

I have looked into NUCs, so I’ll take a deeper dive with your recommendations and price it out.

 

Just curious—why do you recommend against the Jitterbug and Elfidelity filters?

 

Lastly, I’ve read a lot of reviews on the SOtM and JCAT FEMTO PCIe USB cards, but haven’t personally read much about the Pink Faun. What’s different about it compared to the SOtM and JCAT?

 

I appreciate you!

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To much filtration will flatten the sound. If using linear power supplies, then I think these are redundant.

The last clock before the DAC is important. Both USB cards mentioned have OCXO clocks and both are used in their respective top of the line PC servers. Both running Audiolinux.

The JCAT looks good on paper a very good femto clock, but I have no experience with it.

I have SOTM PCIE USB with sCLK -EX board and txUSBHUBin reclocker.

With audiolinux I found it reduced dynamics and space, compared to to motherboard USB out to reclocker.

On my windows single box set up it sounded great. My PC build with reclocker is on par or maybe slightly better than the NUC but at 4 x the price. 

 Jitterbug will degrade the sound, some users have kept their txUSBultra reclockers (I have the equivalent) tested after the NUC endpoint, the improvement was very small.

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16 hours ago, zachary said:

This is incredibly helpful, thank you!

 

I have looked into NUCs, so I’ll take a deeper dive with your recommendations and price it out.

 

Just curious—why do you recommend against the Jitterbug and Elfidelity filters?

 

Lastly, I’ve read a lot of reviews on the SOtM and JCAT FEMTO PCIe USB cards, but haven’t personally read much about the Pink Faun. What’s different about it compared to the SOtM and JCAT?

 

I appreciate you!

Hi Zachary,  There's not much information about the USB card on the current Pink Faun website, new website will be ready soon! The  Pink Faun USB card has all low noise linear regulation (with pre and post choke / PI filtering) for core, USB and clock. The standard clock is a TCXO and there's an upgrade option to a low noise OCXO clock. The OCXO is mounted on a baseboard and has it's own low noise linear regulation. The upgrade clock is very easy to place and can be done by yourself, the USB card switch to the better clock after it's placed. The card can be fed from the computer supply through a standard molex, or with an external PSU through a 2,5mm DC-connector.

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