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Could anyone recommend a specification, for primarily, a pc as an End Point, with flexibility to potentially be changed into 1 combined server\end point.

 

I'm using MScaler, so i dont need HQ Player, so I dont want to spend money necessarily on processing power that wont actually be required.

 

I dont mind spending up to 1k, and would probably retrofit a linear power supply later, if it wasn't within budget.  And I see myself using the HD passive cooling cases.  Sorry, hope this isnt' the wrong place for such a post, but Mscaler users need custom end points too :-)

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20 hours ago, Aberrant-Decoder said:

I dont mind spending up to 1k, and would probably retrofit a linear power supply later, if it wasn't within budget.

 

When I started to deal with fanless audio PC designs, I had a cirrus7 put together.

 

A very good design.
34554673wd.jpeg


I had a USB card from SOtM installed with an external power supply. All handwork in germany from cirrus7.
34554753yj.jpeg

 

That would be my recommendation for a low budget audio PC.

Grigg Audio Solutions Owner

StreamFidelitys Setup

Sonus Faber Amati Futura | T + A M10 | T + A SDV 3100 HV | fis Audio PC | HFX RipNAS Solid V4 | GigaWatt PC2-EVO + | Solidsteel HJ-3 / HY-A

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  • 3 weeks later...

Now that the last piece of the server has arrived, the JCAT USB XE card, I thought I would share my final impressions from the build after StreamFidelity's guide inspired me earlier this year.  

 

First, I was not able to get AudiophileOptimizer to work on my build at all.  This was odd because I used the exact same components as StreamFidelity, except for a slightly cheaper version of the motherboard, and a slight variant in the Corsair RAM.  I made sure all the drivers were updated, but nevertheless each time I ran Audiophile Optimizer I encountered severe latency issues that were irreversible and required a reinstallation of the operating system.  After my 5th time or so reinstalling Windows, I decided to cut my losses and instead download Windows Server 2019, which resulted in a bit of improvement in my sound quality.  With the trial period coming to an end soon, I will likely pay the exorbitant fee to keep it. 

 

While I waited for the JCAT I installed two dedicated 20A power lines with high quality outlets (worth it!).  Because of the poor sound quality from the motherboard's USB, I had decided instead to use an Allo Digione Signature plus Shanti, connecting to the coax input of the Terminator.  The non-upsampled sounds from this endpoint surpassed the mega upsampling from the computer server, and I liked the Allo so much, despite a bit of fatigue after an extended session, I was concerned that the JCAT would require too large of a gulf in sound quality to pass.  When the JCAT first arrived, I noticed immediately that the flabbiness and turgid impression left by my motherboard's USB were gone, although the sound wasn't quite engaging yet.  After burning in, it's just wonderful, and I can hear the effects of HQPlayer even more acutely. With this card, my preference in HQPlayer is for Sinc-L in PMC at 1.5Mhz (can any other dac do this?), but 1024 DSD is nice too. I decided to move the B&W 702s2s elsewhere, and replaced them with the Sierra 2 EXs, the best nearfield speaker I've ever heard.  

 

I'll add some footers to my dac and server, maybe check out a few power cords and USB cables, but for everything else, this is it.  Just sit back enjoy.  

 

Thanks again to StreamFidelity for helping me find endgame with this awesome server.  

 

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5 hours ago, WilliamWykeham said:

First, I was not able to get AudiophileOptimizer to work on my build at all.  

 

With LatencyMon I have always been able to find the cause. An example. Disturbances can be seen in the picture. It can be seen that ndys.sys, a network driver, is the cause. I installed a current Realtek PCI Family Controller driver and the problems were eliminated. Yes, I know, an Audio PC can be very exhausting at times. 😂

 

34559958vy.png

 

5 hours ago, WilliamWykeham said:

After burning in, it's just wonderful, and I can hear the effects of HQPlayer even more acutely.

 

I don't want to be without the JCAT USB XE Card in my system either.

 

5 hours ago, WilliamWykeham said:

With this card, my preference in HQPlayer is for Sinc-L in PMC at 1.5Mhz (can any other dac do this?), but 1024 DSD is nice too. 

 

In the HQPlayer I like to use Sinc-M / PCM for 44.1 / 48 files, because this filter is apodising and can compensate for bad mastering. I use Sinc-L for HighRes, since mastering is usually better. For DSD I only go up to 256 x 48 with the ASDM7EC Modulator. This modulator is very high resolution but also very computationally intensive.

 

Basically, I am of the opinion that the hardware should never be pushed to the limit. Otherwise hardware-specific tolerance limits can reduce the SQ. Less is sometimes more. For example, I've also had good experiences with the Terminator Plus DAC, which only feeds PCM up to 768kHz / 20bit.

 

5 hours ago, WilliamWykeham said:

Thanks again to StreamFidelity for helping me find endgame with this awesome server.

 

You are welcome

Grigg Audio Solutions Owner

StreamFidelitys Setup

Sonus Faber Amati Futura | T + A M10 | T + A SDV 3100 HV | fis Audio PC | HFX RipNAS Solid V4 | GigaWatt PC2-EVO + | Solidsteel HJ-3 / HY-A

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On 9/26/2020 at 6:59 AM, StreamFidelity said:

I prefer fanless systems. Not only because of any audible fan noises, but also because of the vibrations in the PC case, and because of possible electromagnetic interference. In addition, the fan speed is controlled by high-frequency PWM (the current is periodly switched on and off).

 

However, fanless systems have the disadvantage that they cannot cool as effectively. In particular, the passive cooling of powerful graphics cards (GPU) quickly reaches its limits. Whoever plays DSD with the HQPlayer has advantages when using CUDA. The GPU takes over the convolution for the room correction and the filters. The CPU can concentrate on the modulators.

 

So installing a GPU can also be very useful for audio purposes. Of course, the GPU should also be fanless.

 

This is where a newly announced fanless case comes into play, which may be of interest to some:

 

The Beast (Fanless made Extreme) by MonsterLabo

 

b262b2_b05bde2d6d784e2497c224e38ef41003~

 

This case is designed to dissipate up to 150W of heat from the CPU and 250W from the graphics card fanless. So a total of 400W. It is a company from Belgium. The price is not yet known. Pre-orders will be from 09.10. accepted. Delivery in Q1 2021.

 

It has two fans...

No electron left behind...

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10 hours ago, WilliamWykeham said:

After my 5th time or so reinstalling Windows, I decided to cut my losses and instead download Windows Server 2019, which resulted in a bit of improvement in my sound quality.  With the trial period coming to an end soon, I will likely pay the exorbitant fee to keep it. 

 

 

The trial period is 180 days.  You can actually extend the trial period a number of times (up to 3 years) before you have to pay for it.

 

https://sid-500.com/2017/08/08/windows-server-2016-evaluation-how-to-extend-the-trial-period/#:~:text=Extending the Trial Period,start PowerShell and run slmgr.&text=Pay attention to the Timebased,the Remaining Windows rearm count.

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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5 hours ago, AudioDoctor said:

It has two fans...

 

Yes, but only optional if more power is required. I would do the project without a fan.

 

Fanless configuration - Recommended Power CPU: 150W GPU: 250W
Active configuration - Recommended Power (2x 140mm < 500 RPM) CPU: 250W GPU: 320W

Grigg Audio Solutions Owner

StreamFidelitys Setup

Sonus Faber Amati Futura | T + A M10 | T + A SDV 3100 HV | fis Audio PC | HFX RipNAS Solid V4 | GigaWatt PC2-EVO + | Solidsteel HJ-3 / HY-A

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On 10/1/2020 at 10:07 PM, dminches said:

 

 

It worked a treat for both my 2012 and 2019 versions.     Make sure you mark your calendar with a reminder for the end of each 180 day period so you can get in and re-arm.  I normally set my reminder 2 or 3 days ahead of the due date.    Make sure you count your 180 days off and not just say 'Oh yeah 6 months'.      And count your re-arms.   "Now was that 5 or 6?"    A trap for young players :-)

 

Regards Cazzesman

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  • 1 month later...
4 hours ago, StreamFidelity said:

Thanks a lot for this. At first there were unfortunately some failures. The Solarflaire Series 7000 could not be operated in the fanless audio PC. These cards just get too hot and then switch off. But what I had heard so far in terms of clarity and transparency left me with no rest. And so I ordered a brand new card from the 8000 series: XILINX Solarflare Flareon Ultra SFN8522 - network adapter - PCIe 3.1 - 10 Gigabit SFP +.

 

This card has an even larger heat sink and is generally very large.

 

Woah! Those cards are so sweet. Yes I should note that the Intel cards eg 520/710 use the least power and run more cooly ... I had a similar problem with Mellanox cards in a fanless enclosure ...

Custom room treatments for headphone users.

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5 hours ago, StreamFidelity said:

I became aware of Solarflare through these report:

Thanks a lot for this. At first there were unfortunately some failures. The Solarflaire Series 7000 could not be operated in the fanless audio PC. These cards just get too hot and then switch off. But what I had heard so far in terms of clarity and transparency left me with no rest. And so I ordered a brand new card from the 8000 series: XILINX Solarflare Flareon Ultra SFN8522 - network adapter - PCIe 3.1 - 10 Gigabit SFP +.

 

This card has an even larger heat sink and is generally very large.

 

 

39819351os.jpeg

 

 

The back is also well equipped.

 

 

39819349gq.jpeg

 

Ventilation

 

In the accompanying note it was pointed out that a fan with at least 200 rpm is required for cooling. That made me worry, of course, because there is no such thing in the fanless fis Audio PC. On the other hand, 200 rpm is very low. A 24h burn-in test has so far shown no abnormalities. Due to the principle of convection (chimney effect), warm air escapes upwards through the ventilation slots and draws cold air after it. That seems to be enough.

 

Installed it looks like this (the map on the right). The air supply is important. The left empty slot will be equipped with another card in due course. So there follows another report. 😉

 

 

39820211lm.jpeg

 

Specifications

 

All eight PCIe lanes are used for data connection to the CPU, so a slot with a direct connection to the CPU is recommended. The latency is reportedly in the very low range of less than 1μsec.

 

According to hearsay, Solartech network cards are also used for high-frequency trading on the stock exchange. 😁

 

The product letter can be downloaded from XILINX.
 

Drivers and manuals

 

The drivers are available here. The Windows Server drivers also work perfectly in Windows 10 Pro. The manual is extensive as usual with around 300 pages. There are even recommendations for low latencies.

 

Of course there was try & error

 

- PCI Express Lane Configuration
Ensure the adapter is in an x8 slot (PCIe Gen 2.0 or PCIe Gen 3.x) or x16 slot.
Bad trap. At the beginning I got a slot with x4. Of course it didn't work.

 

- Transceiver
My previous SF transceiver module 10GBASE-LR SFP + 1310nm 10km did not work. But the Startech 1000BASE-EX SFP -SM LC-40 KM transceiver. Those are the pitfalls with fiber optics.

 

- BIOS
The Solartech card enables some settings in the BIOS. I got this when my audio PC no longer booted after being switched off and went into Power Safe mode. That's always stupid, because then I can no longer work remotely, but instead had to connect a screen with a mouse and keyboard. Deactivating the UEFI boot via Ethernet solved the problem.

 

My setup

 

39820123zi.png

 

The picture shows the calm flow of data. No nervous fidgeting like with unconfigured onboard network adapters.

 

39819343oi.jpeg

 

Sound description

 

The sound is just addicting. A sensational speed. Flamenco or drums are a real delight. This clarity and exactness of the tones are for me the best so far that I have heard on my system. The separation of instruments is outstanding, combined with excellent spatiality. And the whole thing garnished with a beautiful flow of music without any sharpness. Despite the high resolution, voices have a nice melt and the bass is deep and precise.

 

Thank you for the report. Solarflare NICs are widely used in the financial sector where low latency is a key. I've used thousands of them and always had it on my list to try one on my server (i.e. the 8000 series in particular). 

The only reasons I haven't tried is because:

a. It's hard to power externally; and

b. Those tweaked Buffalo switches sound so good! I would like to enjoy them as much as possible before I start a hunt for a 10G switch. And by the way it is worth trying AOC cables here... 

 

So far, pretty much everything that works in the financial market networks I have designed has turned out to work really well in my audio system - multiprocessor servers, NVME storage, low latency tweaked kernel, etc. etc. I should start paying more attention to this. So maybe I would take a 10G Arista switch or a Cisco Nexus 3524 (because of it's low latency - 190/250 ns) and try to modify it. 

 

Speaking of that, SolarFlare supports kernel bypassing technologies. If we can get Euphony or AudioLinux to take advantage of the OpenOnload technology, that would be a big winner! 

 

And if we want to go a step further, there are Solarflare AOE cards with a built-in FPGA. If someone wants to write the code for the FPGA, the network traffic would go from the network to the FPGA, completely bypassing the entire OS. But that is a hell of a task! And supporting that code would be a very time consuming task as well. Probably no one would go there. 

Affiliated with Sean Jacobs

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40 minutes ago, Nenon said:

Speaking of that, SolarFlare supports kernel bypassing technologies. If we can get Euphony or AudioLinux to take advantage of the OpenOnload technology, that would be a big winner! 

I have zero knowledge of Euphony but Linux supports Solarflare's OpenOnload, as well as Intel's DirectIO and Mellanox ROCE/ etc ... variations of RDMA ... SMB3 has supported this for a few years: https://www.snia.org/sites/default/files/SteveFrench_Beyond_SMB3.pdf

 

The latest and greatest is NVMEof https://community.mellanox.com/s/article/what-is-nvme-over-fabrics-x , that's where Xilinx/Solarflare and NVidia/Mellanox are duking it out. 

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On 11/8/2020 at 3:37 PM, StreamFidelity said:

I became aware of Solarflare through these report:

Thanks a lot for this. At first there were unfortunately some failures. The Solarflaire Series 7000 could not be operated in the fanless audio PC. These cards just get too hot and then switch off. But what I had heard so far in terms of clarity and transparency left me with no rest. And so I ordered a brand new card from the 8000 series: XILINX Solarflare Flareon Ultra SFN8522 - network adapter - PCIe 3.1 - 10 Gigabit SFP +.

 

This card has an even larger heat sink and is generally very large.

 

 

39819351os.jpeg

 

 

The back is also well equipped.

 

 

39819349gq.jpeg

 

Ventilation

 

In the accompanying note it was pointed out that a fan with at least 200 rpm is required for cooling. That made me worry, of course, because there is no such thing in the fanless fis Audio PC. On the other hand, 200 rpm is very low. A 24h burn-in test has so far shown no abnormalities. Due to the principle of convection (chimney effect), warm air escapes upwards through the ventilation slots and draws cold air after it. That seems to be enough.

 

Installed it looks like this (the map on the right). The air supply is important. The left empty slot will be equipped with another card in due course. So there follows another report. 😉

 

 

39820211lm.jpeg

 

Specifications

 

All eight PCIe lanes are used for data connection to the CPU, so a slot with a direct connection to the CPU is recommended. The latency is reportedly in the very low range of less than 1μsec.

 

According to hearsay, Solartech network cards are also used for high-frequency trading on the stock exchange. 😁

 

The product letter can be downloaded from XILINX.
 

Drivers and manuals

 

The drivers are available here. The Windows Server drivers also work perfectly in Windows 10 Pro. The manual is extensive as usual with around 300 pages. There are even recommendations for low latencies.

 

Of course there was try & error

 

- PCI Express Lane Configuration
Ensure the adapter is in an x8 slot (PCIe Gen 2.0 or PCIe Gen 3.x) or x16 slot.
Bad trap. At the beginning I got a slot with x4. Of course it didn't work.

 

- Transceiver
My previous SF transceiver module 10GBASE-LR SFP + 1310nm 10km did not work. But the Startech 1000BASE-EX SFP -SM LC-40 KM transceiver. Those are the pitfalls with fiber optics.

 

- BIOS
The Solartech card enables some settings in the BIOS. I got this when my audio PC no longer booted after being switched off and went into Power Safe mode. That's always stupid, because then I can no longer work remotely, but instead had to connect a screen with a mouse and keyboard. Deactivating the UEFI boot via Ethernet solved the problem.

 

My setup

 

39820123zi.png

 

The picture shows the calm flow of data. No nervous fidgeting like with unconfigured onboard network adapters.

 

39819343oi.jpeg

 

Sound description

 

The sound is just addicting. A sensational speed. Flamenco or drums are a real delight. This clarity and exactness of the tones are for me the best so far that I have heard on my system. The separation of instruments is outstanding, combined with excellent spatiality. And the whole thing garnished with a beautiful flow of music without any sharpness. Despite the high resolution, voices have a nice melt and the bass is deep and precise.

Which card you saving a slot for? :-)  any comparisons against older cards, say net femto?

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19 hours ago, jabbr said:

The latest and greatest is NVMEof https://community.mellanox.com/s/article/what-is-nvme-over-fabrics-x , that's where Xilinx/Solarflare and NVidia/Mellanox are duking it out. 

 

For Infiniband, are stuff like zero-copy and OS-bypass etc. only good for reading from / writing to (RDMA send / RDMA receive) storage devices?

 

In other words, we'll only achieve near-zero CPU utilization of Native-IB whenever we're transferring files between two Mellanox NICs

 

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/224605021_RDMA_over_Ethernet_-_A_preliminary_study

HKdbRx6.png

 

For something else like Roon Core + Bridge or HQP + NAA etc. could only go through IPoIB as follows, therefore it might not be all that meaningful in terms of CPU utilization if I weren't mistaken

 

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/6051832/difference-between-ipoib-and-tcp-over-infiniband/6079696#6079696

Quote

Since IPoIB provides a normal IP NIC interface, one can run TCP (or UDP) sockets on top of it. TCP throughput well over 10 Gb/sec is possible using recent systems, but this will burn a fair amount of CPU. To your question, there is not really a difference between IPoIB and TCP with InfiniBand -- they both refer to using the standard IP stack on top of IB hardware.

 

The real difference is between using IPoIB with a normal sockets application versus using native InfiniBand with an application that has been coded directly to the native IB verbs interface. The native application will almost certainly get much higher throughput and lower latency, while spending less CPU on networking.

 


 

Another question about NVMe over Fabrics versus NVDIMM (e.g. Intel Optane DCPMM) versus creating a RAM drive manually

 

https://thessdguy.com/an-nvdimm-primer-part-2-of-2/

Quote

But this is all housekeeping, and doesn’t take full advantage of the NVDIMM’s speed advantage over an SSD or HDD.  More software needed to be developed to prevent NVDIMM accesses from being bogged down by slow I/O routines that were developed for HDD and SSD.  At the time that they were written these routines were significantly faster than the drives themselves.  With NVDIMMs the opposite is true: The storage hardware (the NVDIMM) is significantly faster than the I/O routines accessing it.

 

Where do the I/O routines of RDMA (Native-IB) actually stand? Maybe much closer to slow I/O routines that were developed for NVMe SSDs?

 


 

64GB DDR-3 LRDIMM ain't worth THAT much now, that means we could very well build 1TB RAM-based diskless NAS with one of those HFT motherboards from Supermicro

 

https://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/Xeon/C600/X9DAX-7F-HFT.cfm

https://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/Xeon/C600/X9DAX-iF-HFT.cfm

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Supermicro-X9DAX-7F-HFT-Dual-LGA2011-Intel-C602-DDR3-EE-ATX-Server-Motherboard-/372692210360

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Supermicro-X9DAX-iF-HFT-Dual-LGA2011-Intel-C602-DDR3-EE-ATX-Server-Motherboard-/373269882615

 

'Hyper-Speed' HFT servers with up to 30% lower latency

https://www.bsi.uk.com/news/supermicro-hyperspeed-systems-hft

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https://www.arista.com/en/company/news/press-release/6777-pr-20190305

Quote

Arista Networks (NYSE:ANET) today announced the Arista 7130L Series, the next generation ultra-low latency, high-precision network application platform, with deterministic 5 nanosecond switching and virtually undetectable jitter.

 

Measuring the latency of a 4ns switch

https://www.arista.com/assets/data/pdf/Latency-4ns-Switch-Solution-Brief.pdf

Quote

We have conclusively shown that the latency of the Arista 7130-16 is very close to 3.95ns per hop.

 


 

Hmm, are these numbers actually relevant or otherwise?

 

http://www.volent.com.hk/index.php/brands/sound-galleries-music-server/sgms-2015/

Quote

5 ppb stability OCXO with low noise power supply replacing the motherboard system clock

 

http://www.innuos.com/uploads/cms/docs/Innuos_PhoenixUSB_webFlyer.pdf#page=2

Quote

The use of a 3ppb OCXO clock running directly at 24MHz and connected via a board track just a couple of inches away from the USB chip.

 

https://exablaze.com/exanic-gm

Quote

Ships with OCXO (0.2ppb) by default (<15us holdover/24 hours):

 

https://www.cdw.com/product/exablaze-exanic-gm-2-port-network-interface-card/5117269

Quote

Exablaze ExaNIC GM 2 Port Network Interface Card. MFG#: EXANIC-GM CDW#: 5117269. $2,746.11. Advertised Price. Call. Empty Star.

 

Exablaze ExaNIC GM 2 Port Network Interface Card. MFG#: EXANIC-GM CDW#: 5117269. $2,752.99. Advertised Price. 11-13 Days.

 

https://exablaze.com/exanic

https://www.cdw.com/product/exablaze-exanic-2pt-25gbe-pcie/5715079

https://www.cdw.com/product/exablaze-exanic-x10-network-adapter/3981568

https://www.cdw.com/product/tandberg-data-exablaze-exanic-2-port-network-interface-card-with-ddr/5715077

https://www.ebay.com/itm/EXANICX25-EXABLAZE-ExaNIC-X25-Dual-SFP-plus-2ports-25-Gigabit-Network-Interface-/203025517031

 


 

If only we could pay extra for a direct connection to TIDAL's CDN servers hosted by Amazon CloudFront etc.

 

https://www.bsonetwork.com/ultra-low-latency-networks/

Quote

RF networks began to appear a little less than a decade ago as network providers competed to have the fastest route between Chicago and New York.

 

The situation increased the incentive for RF development, and soon after the first microwave networks were deployed, offering low-latency traders much faster round trips than even the quickest available fibre optic routes.

 

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On 11/8/2020 at 3:38 PM, Nenon said:

 

Thank you for the report. Solarflare NICs are widely used in the financial sector where low latency is a key. I've used thousands of them and always had it on my list to try one on my server (i.e. the 8000 series in particular).

 

So far, pretty much everything that works in the financial market networks I have designed has turned out to work really well in my audio system - multiprocessor servers, NVME storage, low latency tweaked kernel, etc. etc. I should start paying more attention to this. So maybe I would take a 10G Arista switch or a Cisco Nexus 3524 (because of it's low latency - 190/250 ns) and try to modify it. 

 

Speaking of that, SolarFlare supports kernel bypassing technologies. If we can get Euphony or AudioLinux to take advantage of the OpenOnload technology, that would be a big winner! 

 

And if we want to go a step further, there are Solarflare AOE cards with a built-in FPGA. If someone wants to write the code for the FPGA, the network traffic would go from the network to the FPGA, completely bypassing the entire OS. But that is a hell of a task! And supporting that code would be a very time consuming task as well. Probably no one would go there. 

 

re: very low latency trading and the rise of RF networks between NY and Chicago, a very interesting read is Flash Boys by Michael Lewis (author of Moneyball and many others worth tracking down).

 

highly recommended reading while listening to good music.......short story:  very fast low latency trading permitted firms with the fastest networks to manipulate the computerized financial markets before ordinary (non-highest speed) folks could respond..............and very well written

 

"Flash Boys is about a small group of Wall Street guys who figure out that the U.S. stock market has been rigged for the benefit of insiders and that, post-financial crisis, the markets have become not more free but less, and more controlled by the big Wall Street banks. Working at different firms, they come to this realization separately; but after they discover one another, the flash boys band together and set out to reform the financial markets. This they do by creating an exchange in which high-frequency trading—source of the most intractable problems—will have no advantage whatsoever. "

 

spoiler:  the solution was to ADD a fixed latency so that everyone had the same lag as everyone else.

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On 11/8/2020 at 3:37 PM, StreamFidelity said:

I became aware of Solarflare through these report:

Thanks a lot for this. At first there were unfortunately some failures. The Solarflaire Series 7000 could not be operated in the fanless audio PC. These cards just get too hot and then switch off. But what I had heard so far in terms of clarity and transparency left me with no rest. And so I ordered a brand new card from the 8000 series: XILINX Solarflare Flareon Ultra SFN8522 - network adapter - PCIe 3.1 - 10 Gigabit SFP +.

 

This card has an even larger heat sink and is generally very large.

 

 

39819351os.jpeg

 

 

The back is also well equipped.

 

 

39819349gq.jpeg

 

Ventilation

 

In the accompanying note it was pointed out that a fan with at least 200 rpm is required for cooling. That made me worry, of course, because there is no such thing in the fanless fis Audio PC. On the other hand, 200 rpm is very low. A 24h burn-in test has so far shown no abnormalities. Due to the principle of convection (chimney effect), warm air escapes upwards through the ventilation slots and draws cold air after it. That seems to be enough.

 

Installed it looks like this (the map on the right). The air supply is important. The left empty slot will be equipped with another card in due course. So there follows another report. 😉

 

 

39820211lm.jpeg

 

Specifications

 

All eight PCIe lanes are used for data connection to the CPU, so a slot with a direct connection to the CPU is recommended. The latency is reportedly in the very low range of less than 1μsec.

 

According to hearsay, Solartech network cards are also used for high-frequency trading on the stock exchange. 😁

 

The product letter can be downloaded from XILINX.
 

Drivers and manuals

 

The drivers are available here. The Windows Server drivers also work perfectly in Windows 10 Pro. The manual is extensive as usual with around 300 pages. There are even recommendations for low latencies.

 

Of course there was try & error

 

- PCI Express Lane Configuration
Ensure the adapter is in an x8 slot (PCIe Gen 2.0 or PCIe Gen 3.x) or x16 slot.
Bad trap. At the beginning I got a slot with x4. Of course it didn't work.

 

- Transceiver
My previous SF transceiver module 10GBASE-LR SFP + 1310nm 10km did not work. But the Startech 1000BASE-EX SFP -SM LC-40 KM transceiver. Those are the pitfalls with fiber optics.

 

- BIOS
The Solartech card enables some settings in the BIOS. I got this when my audio PC no longer booted after being switched off and went into Power Safe mode. That's always stupid, because then I can no longer work remotely, but instead had to connect a screen with a mouse and keyboard. Deactivating the UEFI boot via Ethernet solved the problem.

 

My setup

 

39820123zi.png

 

The picture shows the calm flow of data. No nervous fidgeting like with unconfigured onboard network adapters.

 

39819343oi.jpeg

 

Sound description

 

The sound is just addicting. A sensational speed. Flamenco or drums are a real delight. This clarity and exactness of the tones are for me the best so far that I have heard on my system. The separation of instruments is outstanding, combined with excellent spatiality. And the whole thing garnished with a beautiful flow of music without any sharpness. Despite the high resolution, voices have a nice melt and the bass is deep and precise.

What were you using previously to compare the Solar to? JCAT? Interested in a comparison. 

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8 hours ago, AudioDoctor said:

Would this card work in a CAPS type build?

 

Something like CAPS Twenty.One?

 

Yes that could work. In my opinion, it is important to use the Solarflare card at the audio endpoint. Good cooling must be ensured. In addition, a loss of warranty must be taken into account if the card is used in the fanless PC.

 

8 hours ago, AudioDoctor said:

is it plug and play with Linux?

 

There are Linux drivers. But I'm afraid not plug & play.

Grigg Audio Solutions Owner

StreamFidelitys Setup

Sonus Faber Amati Futura | T + A M10 | T + A SDV 3100 HV | fis Audio PC | HFX RipNAS Solid V4 | GigaWatt PC2-EVO + | Solidsteel HJ-3 / HY-A

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9 hours ago, StreamFidelity said:

The XILINX Solarflare Flareon Ultra SFN8522 - network adapter - PCIe 3.1 - 10 Gigabit SFP + has such a good sound. Incredible.

 

Unfortunately, there are also downsides and that is the cooling. No problem in operation with low CPU performance. When playing DSD with the HQPlayer, the temperature increases with the CPU performance. The Solarflare card switched off regularly.

 

Closed Chassis all have a ventilation problem. Do you know Benchtables? For example something from Streacom: BC1 Open Benchtable. They were originally built for overclockers and PC testers so that components could be accessed and replaced more quickly. One of my friends has something like that and it didn't look bad. It's a bit too technical for me.

 

But I left the lid open. A 24-hour operation with very high performance finally ran smoothly. In the meantime I see it the same way as with the Turntable. Most of them have an acrylic hood so that it doesn't get too dusty. It is then opened when playing. So I will do it with the fis Audio PC. The cover is placed loosely on the housing with rubber feet as a dust protection.

 

And what's inside isn't so ugly that it can't be shown. 😄

 

39888349nj.jpeg

 

Nice clean build as usual. Here’s a question I’ve been meaning to ask for a while, which is related to cooling of server. 
 

I have dedicated mains supply for all my gear. I have another socket which is not part of my hifi mains supply. I was considering adding some sort of fan array to blow onto my server & LPS’s. What’s your thoughts? Is there anything negative here? Like static or something else that would have an adverse affect? 
 

Fan array Mains will be isolated from hifi mains. 

Fan array won’t to mounted to any devices.

 

appreciate your & anyone else’s comments? 

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