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Trying to understand my Music Server


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Hi Guys,

 

I have a custom music server with a Ryzen processor with a fanless case with a LPS. I opened it up today with hopes of understanding whats inside and possibly upgrade to a JCAT USB.

 

From what I could see:

 

1. I have a HD Plex LPS and 2 power cables goes into the Server. I see one of the power supply feeds the mother board and the second one goes into the left side (on the pic, its under the aluminum plate) I believe thats where the RAM is. I also see HD Plex thing under that aluminum plate. Pic enclosed.

 

2. All the USB ports that I use are under the TUF gaming cover. Not sure if there are any special USBs.

 

3. Upon inspection, I also found that there are 2 USBs on the either side of the case. I have attached pics from the inside and the outside. It looks like they are coming from the RAMs are. Should I assume these are some special kind of audiophile USBs? Is this a common design or is anyone familiar with this design?

 

 

 

 

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Inside.jpg

Side USB from Inside.jpg

Side USB.jpg

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49 minutes ago, audiofool1982 said:

Hi Guys,

 

I have a custom music server with a Ryzen processor with a fanless case with a LPS. I opened it up today with hopes of understanding whats inside and possibly upgrade to a JCAT USB.

 

From what I could see:

 

1. I have a HD Plex LPS and 2 power cables goes into the Server. I see one of the power supply feeds the mother board and the second one goes into the left side (on the pic, its under the aluminum plate) I believe thats where the RAM is. I also see HD Plex thing under that aluminum plate. Pic enclosed.

 

2. All the USB ports that I use are under the TUF gaming cover. Not sure if there are any special USBs.

 

3. Upon inspection, I also found that there are 2 USBs on the either side of the case. I have attached pics from the inside and the outside. It looks like they are coming from the RAMs are. Should I assume these are some special kind of audiophile USBs? Is this a common design or is anyone familiar with this design?

 

 

 

The 2 power cables are powering the CPU and the motherboard. 

 

The 2 USB ports on the sides of the case are USB 3.x ports which are just an extension of the mother board.  There is nothing "special" about them.

 

I assume you bought this as is?  Was it new or used?

 

 

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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Yours looks like a Streacom FC9 fanless chassis. This is of good quality and has the advantage that PCIe cards can be installed directly on the mainboard. I don't see any problems with installing a JCAT NET Card Femto in the first full slot. The NET Card thanks to an external 5V power supply. That can be retrofitted. The card also works without it.

 

I have explained the internal structure of an audio PC on my homepage. A picture of it.

 

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52 minutes ago, dminches said:

 

The 2 power cables are powering the CPU and the motherboard. 

 

The 2 USB ports on the sides of the case are USB 3.x ports which are just an extension of the mother board.  There is nothing "special" about them.

 

I assume you bought this as is?  Was it new or used?

 

 

 

 

Thank you. I bought it as is, used. 

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48 minutes ago, StreamFidelity said:

Yours looks like a Streacom FC9 fanless chassis. This is of good quality and has the advantage that PCIe cards can be installed directly on the mainboard. I don't see any problems with installing a JCAT NET Card Femto in the first full slot. The NET Card thanks to an external 5V power supply. That can be retrofitted. The card also works without it.

 

I have explained the internal structure of an audio PC on my homepage. A picture of it.

 

spacer.png

 

 

Thanks you. Good to know that its a good chassis. I have a Video card that I plug into the first slot if I want to use a monitor with the server. So I assume the Femto JCAT USB goes in the same slot? I am also using Euphony OS. I am hoping it doesnt need any special drivers for the JCAT.

 

Since I am planning to upgrade, would it make sense and a big difference if I get a JCAT extreme?

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37 minutes ago, audiofool1982 said:

 

 

Thanks you. Good to know that its a good chassis. I have a Video card that I plug into the first slot if I want to use a monitor with the server. So I assume the Femto JCAT USB goes in the same slot? I am also using Euphony OS. I am hoping it doesnt need any special drivers for the JCAT.

 

Since I am planning to upgrade, would it make sense and a big difference if I get a JCAT extreme?

 

If it is an Intel CPU it is possible you can get video just from the motherboard and you do not need a video card.

 

When you are saying you are planning on upgrading, upgrading what?

 

 

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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1 hour ago, audiofool1982 said:

I am hoping it doesnt need any special drivers for the JCAT.

It depends on the operating system. Windows will always benefit greatly from updating the drivers, even if everything works. These are normal Intel drivers (I-350). The settings in the network adapter are more important. JCAT gives you a guide with the purchase. If possible, the card should be placed in the higher-quality PCIe slot, as this slot may be connected directly to the CPU.

 

1 hour ago, audiofool1982 said:

I get a JCAT extreme?

Something like the USB CARD XE with an Emerald OXCO Clock? Do you have more information? The increase in SQ was enormous with the OXCO Clock.

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6 hours ago, StreamFidelity said:

It depends on the operating system. Windows will always benefit greatly from updating the drivers, even if everything works. These are normal Intel drivers (I-350). The settings in the network adapter are more important. JCAT gives you a guide with the purchase. If possible, the card should be placed in the higher-quality PCIe slot, as this slot may be connected directly to the CPU.

 

Something like the USB CARD XE with an Emerald OXCO Clock? Do you have more information? The increase in SQ was enormous with the OXCO Clock.

I would be interested on your thoughts on how to use passive cooling for a twin XEON pc, perhaps another thread. 

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9 hours ago, audiofool1982 said:

 

 

Thanks you. Good to know that its a good chassis. I have a Video card that I plug into the first slot if I want to use a monitor with the server. So I assume the Femto JCAT USB goes in the same slot? I am also using Euphony OS. I am hoping it doesnt need any special drivers for the JCAT.

 

Since I am planning to upgrade, would it make sense and a big difference if I get a JCAT extreme?

Since you are using Euphony, my experience is that no HD/SSD drives attached to the server, using a NAS sounds best. You may have to do some tweaking with CPU variables to find the cleanest sounding output. 

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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1 hour ago, One and a half said:

I would be interested on your thoughts on how to use passive cooling for a twin XEON pc, perhaps another thread. 

 

Have you seen this post? Not easy or cheap but it works... I have been using it for about 6 months with no problems at all. I don't push the CPUs to their limits, though. If I did, the Hdplex heatsinks would have troubles dissipating all the heat. 

On 5/25/2020 at 1:03 PM, Nenon said:

Asus SAGE / dual Xeon CPU passive cooling

 

Below is what I did to passively cool the dual Intel Xeon Silver 4210 CPUs in the Asus SAGE motherboard. 

 

I could not find a solution to passively cool the Intel Xeon Silver 4210 CPUs. Streacom, HDPlex, and some of the other common passive computer chassis do not provide a solution for LGA3647 sockets. Also, most of them are limited to 65W TDP or 95W TDP. Cooling down two 85W TDP CPUs is quite challenging. Turemetal UP10 looks like a really nice case, but the ASUS Sage motherboard (12'' x 13'') does not fit inside according to their specs. And even if it could fit, the mounting on the LGA3647 sockets is very unique. You need very precise parts to be able to mount the CPU without damaging anything. 

 

The first thing I did to get started was to buy 2 x Noctua NH-D9 DX-3647 4U CPU coolers. Those are active CPU coolers, but I wanted to make sure everything was working properly. The motherboard posted, both CPU tested well, so I started looking for a way to do the passive cooling. 

 

The LGA3647 comes in two variations - narrow and square. The Asus SAGE motherboard uses the square version. After some research, ordering some parts, returning some, I decided to use the Dynatron B9 CPU cooler as a base. This is how it looks - top and bottom:

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We don't need the fan, so that can be removed. But we need the mounting mechanism for the socket. After removing the fan, we end up with a heatsink that can be used as a base.

 

The surface area on those Xeon Silver CPUs is much larger than a typical consumer CPU such as Intel Core or AMD Ryzen. I would need two HDPlex passive cooling kits to cover one CPU. I ended up getting four HDPlex H5 chassis for this project. 

 

An explanation of the process with pictures follows below.

 

I started removing some of the material to make space for the HDPlex cooling kit.

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Now we have enough space for the copper HDPlex cooling block.

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We need the surface to be as smooth as possible. Sanded with 400 grit sandpaper, followed by 600 grit, 1000 grit, and 2000 grit. I used wet sandpaper from an auto parts store and some soap water. Here is the result.

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I did a little more fine sanding and polishing to prepare the surface. It's now ready to install the 2 HDPlex copper blocks. They fit perfectly. My research time was well worth, and the Dynatron B9 looks like the perfect solution. 

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The next big research was on thermal epoxy. I needed to glue the two HDPlex copper blocks to the B9 with glue that would transfer the heat from one material to another as efficiently as possible. I picked the MG Chemicals 834HTC-A High Thermal Conductivity Epoxy for that. 

 

Cleaned the surface with 90% alcohol, let it dry, and applied a thin layer of the epoxy. I used two heavy duty clamps and let the epoxy cure in my oven on a low temperature for a few hours. All done with that part. Here is the final result. 

502205520_IMG_30552.thumb.jpg.16a1301f98100350bd471f984e1cacbd.jpg

 

I repeated the same process for the second CPU. With two in place, it's time to install them. 

 

Here comes the second problem. No passive cooled chassis is designed to cool two CPUs. The HDPlex H5 (and most others) has two heatsinks, and typically only one is actually used for CPU cooling. The idea is to use one heatsink for each CPU. In order to do that, I had to buy new cooling pipes, a pipe bending tool, and learn how to bend them. I had to do some reading on cooling pipes, learn how they work, learn about the different designs, different materials, etc. I did not know any of that stuff before this project. 

There are quite a few things to consider - the shape, the materials, the quality, how you bend them, etc. They are filled with liquid and you can't cut them. Also, you have to be careful not to crack them when you bend them. The bending radius can impact the performance. They come in different lengths and some are better quality than others. I liked the products a company called "Advanced Thermal Solutions" makes.

 

Bending pipes is a skill that I need to practice more. Here is my first attempt - looks ugly but it worked great.

IMG_3095.thumb.jpg.aa0be78f404b86b0480525eeb093682a.jpg

 

The CPU on the top uses the stock HDPlex cooling pipes. The CPU on the bottom with the six longer ugly-bended pipes is what I did. 

To my surprise when I turned on the computer, I realized that the bottom CPU's temperature is lower than the top CPU. One was in the low 40's after a couple of days of playing music and the other was in the high 40's. That's degrees Celsius obviously. We have to be careful with a dual CPU configuration, because one CPU could be hotter because it is doing more than the other. I made sure that was not why the top CPU was a few degrees hotter. 

 

I decided to replace the stock HDPlex cooling pipes with new ones. I did much better job with the bending, but I don't have a picture handy. You will have to trust me on that one :). 

 

One problem with the HDPlex cooling kit is that the pipes are short and don't cover the entire cooling block. I'll refer to this post for more info / picture:

 

By replacing the stock cooling pipes I had the chance to use longer pipes and cover more surface. 

Not sure if the cooling pipes I used are better than the stock HDPlex or it was because they covered more surface area, but I saw about 7-8 degrees lower temperature with the new pipes. I am guessing it's both - better quality pipes and more surface area. 

In fact, now the top CPU is about 1-2 degrees cooler than the bottom CPU. 

 

The thermal epoxy also takes about a week to 10 days to settle completely. It gets more efficient over time. Overall quite happy with the result. CPUs stay in the 40's depending on room temperature. It is 84F degrees in Chicago today, and I saw them running as hot as 49C. I'll go deal with my A/C now that I am done with this post. 

 

 

9 hours ago, audiofool1982 said:

Since I am planning to upgrade, would it make sense and a big difference if I get a JCAT extreme?

The JCAT USB Femto card would be a step up from the motherboard USB output. The JCAT USB XE would be another level up. Pick the one that fits your budget. The PinkFaun USB bridge is another option, especially with their ultraOCXO, but that's even more expensive. They all benefit from a good external power supply.

BTW, do you know who made that computer? 

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21 minutes ago, davide256 said:

Since you are using Euphony, my experience is that no HD/SSD drives attached to the server, using a NAS sounds best. You may have to do some tweaking with CPU variables to find the cleanest sounding output. 

 

I only stream music. Have less than 5 gigs of hi res music on a SSD connected to USB. Any suggestions on CPU variables tweeking? Can that be done through the app or through BIOS?

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30 minutes ago, audiofool1982 said:

Why do u ask? Is it well made or poorly made ? :P

I asked because it looked familiar. Just realised why. You've bought it from my friend, that's why :). 

The build looks fine to me. It was designed as a server in a two box solution to stream to a NUC endpoint. Get a nice USB card with good external power supply and you will get more out of it in a single box configuration. 

 

2 hours ago, audiofool1982 said:

I only stream music.

You can also get a JCAT Net Femto card for the second PCIe slot (also with an external power supply) to improve your streaming quality. 

 

I don't know the exact specs and can't comment and what other upgrades you can do, but I am sure Larry can help you if you reach out to him.      

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3 hours ago, audiofool1982 said:

 

I only stream music. Have less than 5 gigs of hi res music on a SSD connected to USB. Any suggestions on CPU variables tweeking? Can that be done through the app or through BIOS?

BIOS gets a bit complex because its vendor specific, probably the simplest thing to do is try first in low power mode then change to high power mode. If you don't

hear an appreciable difference you can  leave it in high power mode and fiddle with the expert settings in Euphony to set max CPU frequency and to isolate processes to cores.

USB 5v out matters, I couldn't hear any benefit from RAM mode with a NUC until I used an independent 5v source, believe your JCAT allows this so hopefully

you will like RAM mode

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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4 hours ago, Nenon said:

 

Have you seen this post? Not easy or cheap but it works... I have been using it for about 6 months with no problems at all. I don't push the CPUs to their limits, though. If I did, the Hdplex heatsinks would have troubles dissipating all the heat. 

 

 

The JCAT USB Femto card would be a step up from the motherboard USB output. The JCAT USB XE would be another level up. Pick the one that fits your budget. The PinkFaun USB bridge is another option, especially with their ultraOCXO, but that's even more expensive. They all benefit from a good external power supply.

BTW, do you know who made that computer? 

No I haven't seen the post on the dual processor and passive cooling, thanks for posting  It's a pity the top CPU isn't at the same distance from the wall as the bottom CPU, the extra length pipes aid the cooling. Nice job, I know how difficult it is to bend little pipes. 

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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