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  1. Excellent report. I was trying to avoid learning how to work with tiny little SMD parts, but it seems like the time has come. I was able to acquire a couple of Buffalo switches that use the same board as the Melco. Hopefully I won't destroy them all while working on the clock :).
  2. +1 Not sure how this is relevant to the chassis, but you are looking at around 150-200W (closer to 150W here) total depending on how you use the two CPUs. In my case, its drawing around 6-6.5A continuous for the CPUs EPS connector. Around 40W for the motherboard. And my LPS dissipates a double digit number of Watts in heat. I hate giving such numbers, because from an engineering point view they are never accurate. If you look at the CPU current draw at a millisecond or nanosecond level, you will find it very bursty - and easily tripling the numbers above. That's why a more powerful power supply helps. Also, fill this motherboard with PCIe cards and memory, configure for low latency / high computation, and run some complex calculations (i.e. HQP) and watch it easily draw 350W-400W.
  3. Here are my requirements: - A chassis based on the Turemetal UP10 design - same quality parts, thickness, look and feel. - Support for the Asus Sage motherboard - predrilled holes and mounting accessories to be provided. - Support for dual Intel Xeon 4210 CPUs with all necessary mounting components, copper cooling blocks, and cooling pipes. - Utilize one heatsink per CPU. - The overall cooling implementation should be able to cool down those two 80W TDP CPUs sufficiently. - Support for 7 x full height PCIe slots. - Support to vertically mount one HDplex 800W DC-ATX to the back of the front plate. - Cut out for two Jaeger connectors on the back right side (the side where the ATX and EPS connectors on the motherboard are). - Dimensions not to exceed 400 mm. If they can do this for $1,000, I am in. And I think I would be able can convince at least two other people who are not participating in this thread to join as well.
  4. @ASRMichael I suggest we leave the power supply outside of the box. The transformer impacts the sounds in two ways - it generates a lot of EMI and vibrations. Putting a transformer inside the motherboard chassis always degraded the sound quality in my system. I tried this many times and the result was always the same. Actually much more audible than I thought. Even while playing, moving the power supply closer to the motherboard has an audible impact. Based on multiple tests, with different transformers but mainly the Toroidy Supreme, I decided I would never host the transformer in the computer chassis. Somebody was preaching that this is the best way to go in the other thread. I can't disagree more but did not want to argue with him. Adding (good quality) connectors and umbilicals increase the output impedance of the power supply, but the impact of that impedance increase is nowhere near the damage the transformer does when in proximity to the motherboard. Taiko uses a thick plate (looks at least 5 mm, maybe more) and a thick piece of PANZERHOLZ wood to isolate the transformer. That provides both EMI and vibration treatment. I did try a 3 mm plate between the transformer and the motherboard as well as a 25mm heatsink. But I could always hear sound quality degradations to some extent. Positioning the transformer changes the level of impact. With a lot of testing you can find a position (i.e. vertical or horizontal and at a specific angle) where the transformer would have less impact. But you need to do that in a prototype case and then design the case accordingly. Starting with the final version of the case without having the option to make changes after careful testing is not the best way to go if you are to place a transformer inside. That position of the transformer and a thick plate would help with EMI. Vibration isolation also helps. I have even tried putting the transformer on a set of Stillpoint Ultra 6 feet. But I could never get it to the point where there is no impact if the transformer is inside the chassis. I feel like placing the transformer inside the Extreme was a carefully measured compromise. The Extreme chassis is the most expensive part of the server. If they had to make it in two chassis it would add a lot more to the cost and shipping. It would also make the server so big and heavy that it would not fit in many systems. My guess is with careful placement and isolation the overall result was satisfactory at the end. With the transformer outside the chassis, we can do other improvements. For example, if we are talking about a Sean Jacobs power supply, we could host the regulators inside the motherboard chassis and use super short cables for the ATX and EPS connectors. Yes, that is certainly a good idea, but we have another problem - heat. The cooler we keep the power supply and the computer components, the better. They would last longer and sound better. Let's take Sean's DC4 for example, his best LPS. For the amount of current my dual Xeon Asus Sage draws, a DC4 would have to dissipate at least 50W. That would keep the overall temperature of the Turemetal case several degrees higher. I don't think that's a good idea. So for a dual CPU configuration the right balance for me is to keep the power supply external and use good DC connectors and umbilicals. A 65W TDP single CPU system is another story - I would put the regulator inside fot best performance on such system. But a dual CPU build has its own set of challanges that need careful consideration. Having said all that, it might be a good idea to add space (and preferable predrilled holes) for two connectors in the chassis - one for the EPS and one for the Hdplex. Jaeger 536603006 is a good option - Paul Hynes uses them as an optional (XLR) upgrade to his custom dual regulated SR-7. And if you want to go crazy, the Jaeger 533760006 is a monster overkill connector. I use it, and it's the best connector I have seen (don't often look at connectors, so there might be better ones). For those who don't want to use connectors, the two connector openings (holes) can be used to run cables through them. Last thing to say. Accounting for power supply components in the chassis would create a lot of challenges as I don't think we would find 10 people who would like to use the exact same LPS in the exact same configuration. I feel like it would make this project impossible to complete. My recommendation is to stay away from that. Focus on the requirements we already agreed. And if people like my idea about connector holes, let's add that to the wishlist. You need 5 holes for the Jaeger connectors and they are not easy to do manually. That turned out to be a long post - sorry.
  5. Yeah, using riser cables is far less than optimal. Hopefully we'll have a full height case solution soon, either here or on the other thread. BTW, I don't think Taiko is using VROC. Never seen a VROC hardware key inside the Extreme. Have you?
  6. Larry - just for the record I have done that too. Highlighting a keyword from my previous post. I have tried LT3045 as well as a much better power supply. Good LPS definitely helps, but USB storage just does not work well in my system. But the important part is that this is system dependent. My system is using single server high powered CPU(s), and is tweaked differently than others. What works on my single CPU Euphony/Stylus server does not work on my dual CPU Windows/Roon server and vice versa. I have no reason to believe that what works for me would work on a dual box server/streamer configuration running AudioLinux. So an external HDD enclosure connected with a SlimRun USB cable and powered with a good LPS (i.e. LT3045 or better) may work very well in some systems. The ultimate local storage for me is either a PCIe Optane card or what @Nsxturbo just posted: I would probably go even a step further and use Apacer wide temp industrial NVME M.2 drives. It would give me less storage but I can install multiple cards. As far as optical isolation goes, I have found that it always changes the sound. And the sound is never changed for good only. Many network experiments on my network have been done recently, and there is only one place where putting optical isolation was 100% improvement without any negative impact. And that is between my Ubiquiti EdgeRouter and my WiFi access point - this is a fiber optical cable that is not on my streaming path, but galvanically isolates the noise of my WiFi from my router (which is in my streaming path). That's at least my experience so far.
  7. PSAudio LANRover USB Transporter can do that, but it's copper. You would have to use media convertors for this idea. I've heard about some companies working on a fiber optic USB interface - PSAudio might be one of them (as part of their new DAC) and I think I saw a post from Sonore about something related. You need to check as I am not sure. MSB had their own proprietary fiber USB interface too. I am not really interested as every conversion has the potential to degrade the sound. The only reason I tried the SlimRun was because romaz recommended it, but I was always sceptical. As far as I know romaz does not use it anymore, but I am not 100% sure. If someone can come up with an Amanero or XMOS or similar card that accepts fiber and sounds better, I would be interested to try again. Glad they worked for you. I tried that too but my experience was different. With Euphony running in ramroot (Apacer RAM, 100% buffering before playing, Optane card for the OS, and a highly tweaked network) no hard drive sounds better than my NAS, no matter what type, how it's connected, or powered. Windows/Roon on a dual Xeon is a completely different story - arguably Qobuz sounds better than my NAS there - still can't understand why. A hard drive with the SlimRun works a little better here, but still not as good as Optane or PCIe NVME storage. It looks like this hardware needs really fast NVME storage connected directly to the CPU. I would be trying some Apacer industrial NVME storage next. In other words - storage is system dependant.
  8. We need to utilize the heatsinks on both sides. The latest drawing suggests that only one side is used. I would suggest we install the HDplex 800W DC-ATX standing on the back of the 10mm from panel instead of laying on the bottom plate. This way the case does not have to be so deep. All cables can be run on side like on the HDPlex case. This will ensure shorter cable runs too.
  9. My Euphony / Stylus system is built around NAS storage and with my optimized network and running Euphony in ramroot and buffering each track in RAM before playing, it actually sounds better than local storage. My Windows / Roon system does NOT sound as good playing from NAS as it does with local storage. That's because both Roon and Windows perform a lot of I/O activity while playing - network and OS activity. If full height PCIe cards are supported, the ASUS Hyper M.2 X16 with some M.2 NVME cards in it would be a good option for local storage. It's a better option than the M.2 slot on the Asus Sage motherboard.
  10. I was trying to get my SlimRun to work with my JCAT XE, and I could not for a long time. Returned 3 different SlimRuns as I thought they were defective. On the other hand I never had issues with the motherboard USB ports. It's hard to tell exactly what was going wrong. Everything was too random and I could not find a pattern. Sometimes I would plug the SlimRun and it would run fine for a song but then when I change the song it would stop working. In some cases my DAC was showing but not playing. In other cases it would disappear. Sometimes restarting the computer would bring it back (typically just for one song). Other times restarting the DAC would do something. It was very random, and I did not have the patience to keep testing and get to the bottom of it. It was happening on Windows and Linux, so it does not look like OS / driver problem. I still don't know what the issue is, but I think with the right sequence of connecting and disconnecting it, I managed to get it working and have been able to listen to it for a few hours and to do many A/B comparisons. My USB XE card has one of the USB ports with power enabled through the jumper and the other port disabled. My DAC does not require power over the USB port, so I typically listen to the port with disabled power. But for some reason the SlimRun does not work with that port at all. Here is the connect sequence I have been using, and it seems to work every time now. - Start with completely powering off the computer, the USB card power supply, and the DAC. - Turn them back on and connect your regular USB cable. Use a JCAT port with enabled power. Also, the JCAT XE card must be powered externally, not through the PCIe bus. Make sure music is playing fine. - Stop the music. Never disconnect the USB cable while playing music - something gets confused if you do that and may not work. - Connect the external power to the SlimRun before you do anything else. - Disconnect the USB cable from the JCAT XE card. - Connect the SlimRun to the JCAT USB port first. - Then connect the USB cable from your DAC to the Slimrun. **** that worked every time for me today **** Here is the disconnect sequence that works for me. - Stop the music. - Disconnect the Slimrun from the JCAT XE cart. - Disconnect the DAC USB cable from the Slimrun. I typically leave the Slimrun power connected. I think something happens if you first disconnect the DAC cable that goes to the SlimRun, or if you unplug it while playing, or if you move it from one port to another. So how does the Monoprice SlimRun USB Fiber Optic Extension Cable sound in my system? First, if not powered externally it sounds a bit harsh to me. If you power it with a proper LPS that harshness disappears. I had to do my own DC cable (with a Mundorf silver/gold wire) and those tiny micro usb connectors turned out to be very fragile. I ended up covering it with epoxy and heat shrink to make it more durable. I did many A/B comparisons with all kinds of different music. I really wanted to like this optical USB extender because I was hoping I could move my server away from my DAC. Unfortunately, I don't think this is going to happen. Overall it sounds flatter and not as clear as my USB cable connected directly. Those are the two most common differences I kept hearing, no matter what music I played. Flatter sometimes creates the perception of wider soundstage but less depth. I am pretty sure that is what I heard. And that by itself is not necessary a bad thing. I have a lot of depth in my system and sacrificing a little bit of it to get a wider soundstage is not a bad way to tweak my system - more lively, less 3D. But that is acceptable only if it was at the price of some depth. However, the loss of clarity was a deal breaker. Female vocals sounded a little muffled. The vibrations from their voices were somewhat lost. And a similar effect can be heard on non-vocal recordings too. It was just much easier to hear on vocals. My system sounds great with the SlimRun. If that was the only option I would probably be happy with it. But even a quick listen without the optical isolation was convincing enough to give up the idea of moving my server away from my DAC. It may work better in other systems, but here I am better without it.
  11. 38 Watts for the ATX and 72 Watts for the EPS would probably work. Around 30W is what most of my motherboards needed to power up (that is 30W feeding the Hdplex 800W DC-ATX). 38W would not give you much headroom for things to power up through the motherboard (i.e. PCIe cards without external power supply, NVME storage, SATA devices, etc.). But it would work with most barebone motherboards from my experience. 72W for the EPS would also probably work if you are not using a lot of processing power. But CPUs are very fast in current demand. Your average current may be something like 30-40W but CPUs tend to create those microburst of power demand that may be higher than double what this LPS can provide. While it would still work, you might be restricting the dynamics. I tend to go with heavily oversized power supplies, especially for the EPS, and that has always sounded better in my system.
  12. To do a proper evaluation of this, I suggest you dedicate at least 3 months (suggest 6 months) to do this and only this. A digital source is a complex chain where everything interracts together. My dual CPU source sounds way much better now than it did 2 months ago and will sound even better 3 months from now. This is a very long process - I have been tweaking power supplies, trying different operating systems, different players, different settings, different drivers, different BIOS settings, different affinities, different priorities, different RAM modules, different Optane cards, different NVME storage, different BIOS versions, etc. etc. The list goes on and on. With over 1000 different parameters, you make a change to one of them and you have to revise everything all over again. The benefit from a dual CPU is that you can isolate services, processes to its own CPU. Simple example - network activity always impacts the sound quality while you are playing, no matter what server ot hardware you are using - with a dual CPU you can isolate certain activity away from the activities directly involved in music playing. I was not planning to comment on anything that is not related to the chassis customizations but just wanted to make this clear. Comparing digital sources is not like comparing analog devices. You can plug one amp to your system and easily compare to another. Yes, there are a few variables - you can do tube rolling, change vibration controling devices, power cords, interconnects, etc. but you pretty much know right away how the two compare. Comparing a motherboard with a single CPU and a motherboard with dual CPUs is a completely different animal. Just installing your favorite OS and your favorite player tells pretty much nothing.
  13. I keep going back and forth. But I mostly use the Hdplex for convenience. My builds typically need 6 rails: - 3 rails for the ATX - 1 rail (high current) for the CPU/EPS - 1 rail the JCAT Net Femto NIC - 1 rail for the digital cart (PinkFain or JCAT) You can either go 6 rails or you can do 4 high quality rails (like @adamaley did with his DC4) that would be: - 1 rail (high voltage) for the HDplex 800W DC-ATX --> feeds the 24-pin ATX connector only - 1 rail (high current) for the CPU/EPS - 1 rail the JCAT Net Femto NIC - 1 rail for the digital cart (PinkFain or JCAT) I can go either way, and I enjoy both. There is something that I like about the 800W DC-ATX when fed by really really good LPS (otherwise I don't). For the ultimate system I would go with 6 high-quality rails. But the 4-rail system is nearly as enjoyable as well. The biggest difference makes the power on the EPS connector and the USB card. Obviously if you feed a Hdplex that feeds 3 rails, you want to have very clean power there as well.
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