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Your opinion about the Intel N305/N100 Alder Lake chipset for a fanless audio PC?


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Your opinion about the Intel N305/N100 Alder Lake chipset for a fanless audio PC?

POV: Upgrading my 10-year-old Intel i7 4790T sitting on an ASUS Q87T thin mini board, housed in a HDPLEX case which came somehow close to the CAPS Zuma once. The old mainboard may be repurposed to be a backup UNRAID - NAS with 32/24 TB capacity

Idea: Inspired by the ARCHIMAGO BEELINK EQ N100 article from last year, I was crawling the net when the
CWWK P5 barebone article on Notebookcheck.com demanded my attention. It’s actually a passively cooled Mini-Pc motherboard with either the N100 or the N305 chip on it.
The device offers

  •         4x USB on front shell
  •         2 USB back
  •         2 x2.5 Intel 226 2.5Gbit’s Ethernet
  •         2 x HDMI
  •         internal slots for NVME, Wifi, SSD          

grafik.png

grafik.pnggrafik.png

 

 

Buying this barebone (options: N100 -160 USD, N305 260 USD) would  give me the option to use this mini pc in original case with some ingredients of my choice:

 

  • Intel Wifi6 module   
  • Crucial DDR5 SO-DIMM
  • Crucial NVME 2TB

for example.

Or – alternatively - replace the mainboard  into the fanless HDPLEX case and add my 4TB Crucial SSD to it and think about a dedicated USB card – or not -  which opens up the path for re-purpose of the otherwise electronic waste into that sleeping beauty in the closet which is called Lian Li NAS mini-tower.

So far it seems an reasonable upgrade, as the low power N305 performs objectively better than the 4790T with far better ecologic footprint, the GPU is far more advanced, and the RAM comes from a different planet.

Core use is JRMC providing audiolense XO digital 2-way crossover via USB into an OKTO Dac 8 Pro, plus some video streaming to the 2020 smart TV. @Miska Would the 8-core N305 be qualified for HQPLAYER, too, using the newer GPU with 32EU?

However, looking at the CPU benchmarks and other information in regard to the N100 and N305 chipsets, I have noticed that the N100/N305 seems to be limited to single Channel RAM with limitation of 16TB capacity.

The company CWWK does offer the board with 32TB and I have read that Beelink –i.E.- uses a single Dual-Channel SO-DIMM RAM in its Mini-PC versions of N100/N305 configurations.
How do both information combine?

Can anyone post a clarification about the correct usage of Dual Channel DDR5 on these Alder Lake chipsets?

Beelink EQ12 - HWInfo64 Summary.png

@Archimagowrites about the positive effects of the DDR5 (It’s dual channel) in relation to the GPO and I would have asked him on his blog directly, however my browser blocked my Google credentials on his site which are necessary for posting a comment. Perhaps that question is interesting also ouside of my office ?

Thanks in advance for some enlightenment!

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Hi,

 

N305 does look very nice, but Is It enough hardware resourced to serve as a server

 

What Is wrong with pc / mini pc with much more power, but using fan to cool temperature

 

Is fanless case of so dramatic Importance - which audio parameter does affect using a fan

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2 hours ago, sasho said:

Hi,

 

N305 does look very nice, but Is It enough hardware resourced to serve as a server

 

What Is wrong with pc / mini pc with much more power, but using fan to cool temperature

 

Is fanless case of so dramatic Importance - which audio parameter does affect using a fan

I would consider the perceived ambient noise & possible electrical noise impact from a fan as the main reason to avoid for the most critical listeners.

Anyway, it will depend on your overall ambient noise inside/outside your listening environment and your personal listening habits.

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8 minutes ago, sasho said:

Thank you for reply.

I like to see presence of optical port Instead off fanless design

Hi @sasho 

I would agree on that feature preference, but my quick research on the topic shows that this feature didn't prove commercially successful a decade ago, and I would assume that feeds reluctance to add it to consumer grade devices.

There might be as well the point that audiophiles would likely prefer less generic optical (fiber) ports than a low-cost producer could provide.

Finally, you may have ethernet fibre converter as an option, don't you?

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Just now, DuckToller said:

... Instead of a new PC ?

Or for the new PC?

Just trying to process that in the correct direction.

That was in response to Sasho comment that he would like to see optical port in a pc. It’s easy enough to just add a sfp port pcie card to a pc…

 

did I get mixed up by optical port he meant like a toslink port?

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Just now, dericchan1 said:

That was in response to Sasho comment that he would like to see optical port in a pc. It’s easy enough to just add a sfp port pcie card to a pc…

 

did I get mixed up by optical port he meant like a toslink port?

I did understand it actually like you did, @dericchan1 thus the PC model / type discussed in the OP doesn't seem to allow an add-on SFP PCI card, afaik.

 

I don't want to come across as a nit picker,

just to avoid confusion ...

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, dericchan1 said:

That was in response to Sasho comment that he would like to see optical port in a pc. It’s easy enough to just add a sfp port pcie card to a pc…

 

Fitlet is one of the small passive cooled low power devices known for this capability. Relatively popular for NAA use.

 

I'm pretty sure they will eventually add also these newer CPU models to their selection. But at the moment it is older Atom models (Apollo Lake etc).

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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1 minute ago, Miska said:

 

Fitlet is one of the small passive cooled low power devices known for this capability. Relatively popular for NAA use.

 

I'm pretty sure they will eventually add also these newer CPU models to their selection. But at the moment it is older Atom models (Apollo Lake etc).

 

I currently have Cisco sg350 sfp to the fitlet3 but I wonder if it would also be beneficial to have my hqp pc (currently just lan port out) to go sfp to the Cisco sg350?

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3 minutes ago, dericchan1 said:

I currently have Cisco sg350 sfp to the fitlet3 but I wonder if it would also be beneficial to have my hqp pc (currently just lan port out) to go sfp to the Cisco sg350?

 

I don't think that would give any benefits. Only critical parts are the ones directly connected to DAC / audio gear.

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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12 hours ago, dericchan1 said:

That was in response to Sasho comment that he would like to see optical port in a pc. It’s easy enough to just add a sfp port pcie card to a pc…

 

did I get mixed up by optical port he meant like a toslink port?

You are right

I meant toslink port

Please correct If I am wrong

There are mini pc configurations with USB, HDMI, DP and spdif optical port

Can I use such mini pc with HQ Player, JRiver , etc to output not just highest resolution via USB, but also via spdif optical port and HDMI

how about https://www.amazon.de/-/en/Fanless-Desktop-Computer-Windows-BM02/dp/B07RB113G1/?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_w=2tMUt&content-id=amzn1.sym.cd7174cf-637e-4707-af27-8f76ba927616%3Aamzn1.symc.afd86303-4a72-4e34-8f6b-19828329e602&pf_rd_p=cd7174cf-637e-4707-af27-8f76ba927616&pf_rd_r=JV4BWEGHN24NYQ37T9R2&pd_rd_wg=GifC5&pd_rd_r=3fee733f-04b7-4f9a-b803-3018be963042&ref_=pd_hp_d_atf_ci_mcx_mr_hp_atf_m&th=1

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Ok, it's toslink not fiber.
I would not think that the use of this technology correspond with most audiophile's idea about "highest resolution".
Spdif has his merits for some, less so for the HQ PLayer evironment, where the available bandwith leaves you with a rather limited use case only, afaik.
 

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