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Building a DIY Music Server


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2 minutes ago, Exocer said:

I did not expect you to be on board with that, given your previously mentioned preference for keeping the transformers in a separate enclosure. My guess is there will eventually be an internal "wall" option to install, for those interested in building the power supply within the chassis.

 

Absolutely! A thick wall for the transformer is my personal requirement I've discussed with Emile. It will also add to the cost, but it's a must have for me. 

 

Another option is an external box just for the transformer, but then we reduce the coolness factor! That may be necessary if we go with a smaller case. I would rather keep the large case and make the transformer work inside. Emile has experience with that. The longer transformer wires (if we have an external transformer) are a bit of a compromise, but there is a proven(tested) way to make this work with a somewhat net positive overall result. Decisions, decisions...

We'll get to the power supply options later. Let's focus on the case. The extra large chassis enables us to do pretty much anything we want. Even if you end up not using the space, the bigger heatsinks would keep everything inside cooler and the extra weight would help with vibrations - two quite important factors. 

 

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Looks cool. Full size slots are very welcome but not a deal breaker. I don't have an issue with bigger chassis - my current power supply chassis is 440mm(W)x400mm(D). Man, I only fear this thing will be pricey for DIY 😬

 

 

 

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Great work, @Nenon (et al.)!

One of the challenges with big, heavy, expensive boxes like this is handling them safely when moving them in and out of the rack.

I see from the CAD design that the bottom and top are flat. That will help keep the heat sinks from poking into the palms (yay).  Including some hand-hold cutouts somewhere along the middle of each side might be nice if there's a way to integrate them.

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7 hours ago, Nenon said:

Here is the first draft of the DIY computer chassis by Taiko. 

 

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It's big! Bigger than the Extreme chassis actually. Thick panels, high quality, no flimsy stuff... the thinnest panel is 6 mm.

It can handle any motherboard. You can see the dual CPU Asus Sage motherboard fitted in the last photo. That is the biggest motherboard I've used. And there is so much space around it for a a power supply. 

 

Emile and I had a long discussion regarding the size of the chassis. It could be smaller. And that would be 20-30% cheaper. But this is DIY, and it would be excellent to have some extra space to work with inside the chassis. 

 

The cooling capabilities of this chassis would be extraordinary. That's another reason for the decision to make it so big. It should be able to properly cool down any consumer CPU with some headroom if we utilize both heatsinks. But even if you don't cool down crazy CPUs, keeping your CPU and everything inside the chassis a few degrees lower typically leads to better sound.

 

There will be CPU coolers (at least for the Xeon CPUs and the SAGE motherboard) and heat pipes included. Perhaps for other CPUs in the future too. 

 

We can fit full height PCIe cards. That would be great for those of us who prefer PCIe based storage. We can fit one or more Asus Hyper M.2 cards with NVME drives inside. 

 

There will be an opening on the back that we can fit with a plate that has either a DC connector or a IEC inlet / fuse. There will also be ventilation holes on the bottom panel... these are not reflected on the pictures. An LED on the front panel and power button on the back. 

 

We would like to hear your comments. But don't ask about price. It's too early. Taiko is not doing this for profit. But good quality costs money, so don't expect it to be a couple hundred dollars. I had to buy 4 x HDPlex H5 cases to build my DIY coolers for those Xeon CPUs. That is a $1,200 expense plus a lot of work and not even close to this passive cooling solution.

 

The main reason Emile is doing this is to enable the DIY community to build a proper dual CPU server, so we can explore new discoveries everyone would benefit from. Just like we did in the legendary Novel thread not so long ago. It's interesting how many current manufacturers were inspired or influenced by the Novel thread and used ideas from there! There was a time when DIY was ahead of the commercial sector. 

 

Also, I know there are a lot of opinions on what CPUs should be used, CUDA offloading and cooling, etc. etc. Let's stay focused on this project. This is not designed to be an universal audio / home theatre chassis like the Hdplex and Streacom cases that should be able to accomodate any computer. The purpose of this chassis is to go with a specific DIY recipe utilizing the dual CPU Asus SAGE motherboard for now. If we find something that sounds better, it can be tweaked in that direction. There is plenty of space inside for anything and plenty of cooling capacity.

 

There is one particular question we are wondering about. For those who will be following this DIY recipe and building this computer - you are willing to pay 20-30% more for the extra space in a bigger chassis like this. 

 

There is of course plans to fill that space with a state of the art power supply. That's something that is still in the works and will be a part of the complete DIY recipe. It seems like there is a lot of excellent technology Taiko is willing to share with us. 

Really great news!!! just spoked about:)

I really wish, that it were come along right now for my built, it were save me a lot of time and efforts:)

 

Only one thing that I can say to be considering maybe - the width - in my case 48cm will not enter to my rack, and most of audio equipment has 43-45 in its width...

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3 hours ago, Nenon said:

What about a logo on the front panel? 

Leave blank (a little cheaper)? Create a DIY logo? I don't really care myself...

Any good designers following this thread? 

Small Logo! “DIY” 

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Great news and just the size I would have made it in myself. 

2cm holes above and under the heatsinks will probably be to expensive...

An option for a black or “silver” cabinet or just the front plate in the two colors.

 

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Regarding the Taiko DIY, this would be a good time to make a financial project design decision

  1. Target price range (from $xxxxx - $yyyyy)  or
  2. Cost no object, best build possible 

If you pick #1 you get design constraints

If you pick #2 you have financial constraints

If your lucky, #2 falls within 1.  This is a good time to know where your constraints lie, if any 

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7 hours ago, genvirt said:

Only one thing that I can say to be considering maybe - the width - in my case 48cm will not enter to my rack, and most of audio equipment has 43-45 in its width...

 

I am excited about this beautiful new project. I share the chassis size concern.

 

I am also not convinced of putting the power supply in the same chassis. The DIY community lives from trying out different linear power supplies. It is also a question of costs. A transformer that does not hum must be of particularly good quality and encapsulated. Who would want vibrations in the chassis?

 

If there is no difference to the Taiko Extreme, who else will buy it? 😉

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10 hours ago, Nenon said:

What about a logo on the front panel? 

Leave blank (a little cheaper)? Create a DIY logo? I don't really care myself...

Any good designers following this thread? 

 

I liked the way Emile attached the PCIe brackets internally on the Extreme.  Not a big deal either way for me.

 

Cosmetically, I prefer anodized finishes.  Scratched paint makes new cases look used.

 

I hope the mobo top-out package includes some nice heat-sinking metal, one area I really liked on the HDPlex.

 

Lastly for now, what is the form factor for the Sage mobo?  I would hope for some degree of flexibility in that choice (a very hi-end mobo + 2 CPUs may price some out of the project), but if not, can you provide a link to that mobo so we can begin to study it?  I know you and Emile liked the way controllers were integrated directly with the CPU(s).

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I would suggest adding more rows of vent opening on top and bottom. Most of the cooling will come from natural convection that way. Pretty much the entire top and bottom could have rows of vent openings. We do not need much strength on top and bottom panels, you can just miss around the mounting feet. And if heavier gage is used then strength is not an issue anyway.

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6 hours ago, basillus said:

An option for a black or “silver” cabinet or just the front plate in the two colors.

 

55 minutes ago, Darryl R said:

I liked the way Emile attached the PCIe brackets internally on the Extreme.

 

Those are two compromises we agreed to make to keep the cost down.

The chassis would be black only. Haven't really discussed a silver front panel option. 

The internal PCIe brackets mounting would add quite a bit to the cost with no sound quality benefits, so it was a necessary compromise. 

 

1 hour ago, Darryl R said:

Lastly for now, what is the form factor for the Sage mobo?  I would hope for some degree of flexibility in that choice (a very hi-end mobo + 2 CPUs may price some out of the project), but if not, can you provide a link to that mobo so we can begin to study it? 

https://www.asus.com/us/Commercial-Servers-Workstations/WS-C621E-SAGE/

 

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8 minutes ago, sig8 said:

I would suggest adding more rows of vent opening on top and bottom. Most of the cooling will come from natural convection that way. Pretty much the entire top and bottom could have rows of vent openings.

 

I don't disagree, but...

The holes on the top and bottom plates in this design are sufficient. They are pretty large (3.5*40mm). Increasing the number of holes adds quite a bit machining time, which increases the final cost of the chassis. It can easily get ridiculously expensive if we are not careful.

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29 minutes ago, Nenon said:

Thank you for all the feedback. A couple of quick notes. 

 

1. Target cost - my plan is to try to get this recipe around $10K. Time will tell if we would succeed or not. This is not a commercial product that needs to be at a specific target retail price, so we have a lot more flexibility.

 

So $10K for the chassis and power?  Are you able to say anything about software, like if Emile will include the new player he's developing?

 

EDIT:  I'm sure you'll fire up some of your group buys for off-the-shelf components, to keep those costs down, right?

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IMO, you wouldn't know exactly without testing, but fewer holes in some areas (underneath) can increase cooling in other/target areas as the air currents move across and up/out of the cabinet top openings. 

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1 hour ago, Nenon said:

1. Target cost - my plan is to try to get this recipe around $10K. Time will tell if we would succeed or not.


I suspect it will be out the door for many for the DIY market. Will there be any option for the chassis only ?

 

1 hour ago, Nenon said:

2. Power supply - I can't reveal much yet, but if all goes as planned, I doubt people would be thinking much about changing the power supply. Let's keep it at that for now. More to follow. 


I own’t ask for details but is it from Taiko or SJ ?

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I assume the 10K is a grand total, which still is probably too rich for some. It would be great to offer alternatives for each major component, as in; 1st choice CPU, 2nd choice CPU 3rd choice CPU, same for PSU etc...

 

That way folks buying all 1st choice stuff spread out over a reasonable amount of time might be able to sell off gear when upgrading to the next level.

ISP, cat8.1, Zylix switch, Finisar <1321>Solarflare 8522, AMD 7, Aorus X570 Elite, Corsair AX1200i, 8Gb Apacer Ram, Pink Faun I2S OCXO on LPS, home grown RJ45 I2S cable, Metrum Amethyst (modded to accept I2S), Klangfilm 204a, Klangfilm Trionor (3Tesla 835, JBL2402)

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Having TAS available would be great , especially if they could add the undressed W version they use (hard to get for a DIYer, assuming they could sort the licenses a bit easier buying bulk. I fear it's written for Xeon, and a specific version at that, not sure if all DIYers go the dual Xeon Silver route...

ISP, cat8.1, Zylix switch, Finisar <1321>Solarflare 8522, AMD 7, Aorus X570 Elite, Corsair AX1200i, 8Gb Apacer Ram, Pink Faun I2S OCXO on LPS, home grown RJ45 I2S cable, Metrum Amethyst (modded to accept I2S), Klangfilm 204a, Klangfilm Trionor (3Tesla 835, JBL2402)

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Nenon can correct me if I am wrong but I think the ultimate goal here is to build a server which is at the top of the DIY class just the same way that the Taiko Audio Extreme is near or at the top of the commercial list.  If one starts to compromise on certain items like the motherboard and CPU combo and maybe some other things then this just becomes another DIY server (not that that can’t be excellent as well).  Even thought it is DIY I think the idea is to get as good as possible in the DIY space.

 

Speakers: Vandersteen Model 7s, 4 M&K ST-150Ts, 1 VCC-5; Amplification: 2 Vandersteen M7-HPAs, CI Audio D200 MKII, Ayre V-6xe; Preamp: Doshi Audio Line Stage v3.0; Phono Pre: Doshi Audio Phono Pre; Analog: Wave Kinetics NVS with Durand Telos composite arm; SME 3012R arm, Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement v2; Reel to Reel:  Technics RS-1500; Doshi Tape Pre-Amp; Studer A810, Studer A812, Tascam BR-20; Multi-channel: Bryston SP-3; Digital: Custom PC (Sean Jacobs DC4/Euphony/Stylus)> Lampizator Pacific

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I am noticing that many are looking to build an Extreme as DIY with all sort of requirements - best parts, best chassis, best power supply, TAS, Taiko USB card, etc. If this is going to mimic the Taiko Extreme as close as possible, I wonder what's left of Extreme ? I am sure Taiko is not going to give away their IP but its good to understand how far apart or how close this build will be from it so that some can decide if it makes sense just to buy the Extreme instead ?

 

Some do DIY for the love of it, irrespective of the cost, some do it for the savings, while many are in both the categories. I belong to both and for me its critical to understand the price to performance ratio. If I need to spend $15k for this build, I would probably have double thoughts on spending couple of grand more and getting a commercial server instead. What do others think ?

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