PC streaming on the cheap

PhilCTTE

Well-known Member
Headless silent PC with small footprint purely for music streaming.

Lower power usage on standby and use with quick boot up times and wake up on lan facility

Windows based for JRiver Media Centre and other play back sources such as Spotify. My thoughts on windows was that I could swap and choose what I wanted without any restrictions.

Will be using NAS for storage so not bothered about disc space.

So Ive come to the conclusion of using a Lenevo Q180 with a Nexus 7" tablet.

- Intel Atom D2700 2.13GHz
- 4GB RAM + 500GB HDD
- AMD Radeon 6450
- Wifi

mini desktop - Lenevo Q180 £250
Lenovo IdeaCentre Q180 Nettop - Nettops | Ebuyer.com
Review
Lenovo IdeaCentre Q180 review - Desktop PC - Trusted Reviews

With new NEXUS 7 tablet - starting at £150 ,but seems to make sense to use 16gb version @ £199
Asus Nexus 7 Tablet PC - Tablets | Ebuyer.com


I may upgrade to SSD at later date with addition of OCZ vertex 3 120gb or 60gb, but with the latest vertex 4 being released this is a knock out price of £79

OCZ 2.5 VERTEX 3 SERIES 2.5 SSD - 120 GB review cheap prices 2.5 VERTEX 3 SERIES 2.5 SSD - 120 GB OCZ best buy discount online uk shop


So minimum spec of the above tablet and PC which includes W7 premium comes in at £400 !!

Which seems a bargain to me as original builds I was looking at for PC alone was starting at £400 a few months back, generally £100 case £100 for mobo
£100 for HD + Win 7 O/S and remaining accessories @ £100.

With IPAD2 second hand at £280 was struggling to get all under £700 !

Other I've looked at are:

Looked at Zotac Zbox
http://www.techradar.com/search?searchTerm=Zotac+Zbox

Sapphire Edge HD3
Sapphire Edge HD3 review | from TechRadar's expert reviews of Pc & mac desktops

Shuttle XS36V
Shuttle Global - XS36V


Anyone had experience here ?
 
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RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
If you only want music streaming I can't see any point in using a PC? A Logitech Squeezebox Touch would seem to do all that you need (as long as your NAS is capable of running the server software) & wouldn't require any boot time or the TV to be on to use it.

Look at Sonos as well but I have no experience with that.
 

PhilCTTE

Well-known Member
Former sonos and touch owner. Should have mentioned that I will be using asynchronous USB interface with my MDac.
I would need to replace my WD NAS in order to run LMS. May have been a bit hasty with getting rid if the touch, as the USB mod has since been released.
I prefer the UI of JRiver and the flexibility to run full flavour of Spotify. I feel that with a PC as streaming device I have the flexibility to choose.
Cheers for reply
 

PhilCTTE

Well-known Member
Back at desk now... all fingers and thumbs on phone.

Regards to having the TV on , I will be using the new Nexus tablet for remote. The other beauty of this solution is I can connect via HDMI to AV processor to mirror on plasma if I like.

Looking for feedback if there are any users out there which have tried the Lenevo or bettered it with a home build ?

There are cheaper lower powered options like the HP proliant server (cant remember exact model) ,but its noisy, big and ugly. As I have no oppotunity to place PC anywhere other than in the HIFI cabinet.
 
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RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
Former sonos and touch owner.
Fair enough.

Can't recall many in this forum using a PC as the player. As you're pretty much set on the software & control it seems as though what you're really after is advice on the hardware. There would be much more discussion of that in Home Entertainment PCs but obviously more geared towards video playback. If you don't get any replies in here, maybe try there?

For what it's worth, JRiver users that I've encountered on other forums seem quite happy with it.
 

PhilCTTE

Well-known Member
Fair enough.

Can't recall many in this forum using a PC as the player. As you're pretty much set on the software & control it seems as though what you're really after is advice on the hardware. There would be much more discussion of that in Home Entertainment PCs but obviously more geared towards video playback. If you don't get any replies in here, maybe try there?

For what it's worth, JRiver users that I've encountered on other forums seem quite happy with it.

Yes did consider that forum, but I think music streaming is unique , if you believe the "hype/fact". The build specifics can be unique in regards to the attention to detail in the obsession of low power , reducing the EMF/RMI of components electrical noise of hard drives etc using SSD instead. Ensuring power supply is clean and there is no possible corruption inducing 2nd order jitter to the DAC. Isolating DAC interfaces by use of Sotm usb PCI boards or usb isolators. Whereas the HTPC guys just throw in huge PSU's with extra graphic cards etc… less is more ?

Just as a note , I have never built a PC . All I have to base my research on is internet searches on specific forums of other users experiences.

Was keen on John Westlakes mini-itx build , but I don't think I can keep on waiting as other projects are taking priority I doubt whether this will materialise this side of Christmas.

Without taking the plunge and pressing the buy button on the Lenevo I have no idea on how noisy it is on the USB interface. As my Olimex will only isolate by breaking the ground loop. There's still the unknown RFI element of a badly designed product. Whether you can audibly detect this or not is a another matter.

Heck I think I fussing to much on this. For £250 seems a bargain unless others can suggest a cheaper alternative.
 

larkone

Member
I have used a couple of PCs for players, an old HP laptop and now a Shuttle that also doubles as HTPC. Tried JRiver as well, using Gizmo on Android phone as a remote. All worked very well. Didn't stick with JRiver as there is no remote for an HP Touchpad so I went back to Squeezeplay and Squeezecontrol. Nice thing about these is that they stream spotify well and play gapless. I struggled to hear a big difference between JRiver and Squeezeplay TBH. Am using a V-link and V-DAC (custom power supply) into my amp.

If you only want to play music through the PC I would ditch the 500GB hard drive and get a cheap 60GB or 128GB SSD as that is all you will need for W7/JRiver/Spotify. Much quieter, less heat generated and energy used and quicker boot. Switch on WOL and you should be able to boot it from the Nexus. I changed the power down on the power button to standby mode so that mine comes up very quickly when it is woken up. Turn off windows auto update, change it to ask you when to update as this can get annoying when you just want to power it up and listen to music and M$ decides to update your m/c and then re-boot. Also worth turning off as many services as you can as this helps. I had a link somewhere on what they all are and will try to find it.
 

PhilCTTE

Well-known Member

amcluesent

Distinguished Member
This is my Revo 3600 doing duty as HTPC, usually hidden away, but quite cheap off t'Bay now. It runs Sqeezeplay for occasional music playout on S/PDIF to the AV Receiver off pic on the right. The music server is located outside the lounge.

45f082f8.jpg
 
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PhilCTTE

Well-known Member
This is my Revo 3600 doing duty as HTPC, usually hidden away, but quite cheap off t'Bay now. It runs Sqeezeplay for occasional music playout on S/PDIF to the AV Receiver off pic on the right. The music server is located outside the lounge.

Been scouring said site and some interesting prices. £169 without windows brand new 500gb XMBC configured ready to go with all the plugins. I guess its the price of W7 that cripples the price. Makes building your own look a bit redundant.
 

larkone

Member
Also worth downloading a USB port scanner to make sure there is nothing else using the usb hub that your DAC is connected to. Things like the wireless etc. If it is then change to an unused port.
 

Rich9600

Active Member
I run my PC withe the evil iTunes as my main music source. Originally I was using the motherboard optical to an AV-R and found I got an unexpected and surprisingly noticeable improvement in the audio quality when I markedly increased the system RAM from 4 to 12GB.

I don't know if this is just iTunes being evil to PC performance, but if I were you I wouldn't skimp on the RAM in any such musical build.

Now running by USB to an rDAC and the sound is excellent. :)
 

larkone

Member
I think that is an i-tunes issue on PC - lets face it, it is the worst bloatware. Even Apple insiders say it needs scrapping. When I trialled Jriver MC17 I had it running from memory with only 2GB of RAM and it ran fine, no glitches. Streaming music, even lossless is not a major task for a computer - CD quality is 1411kbps.
 

PhilCTTE

Well-known Member
Bit of a shock unpacking the Lenovo at just how small this thing is !
Size of a DVD case:eek: Real benefit for those whose hifi rack space is at a premium. Shame I have no usb keyboard, will have to wait until tomorrow and take it to work and install real vnc to get going.


IMG_1493


IMG_1491
 
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PhilCTTE

Well-known Member

IMG_1499

Just how cool is JriverMC ! sorry about the rough photo ...its late and had a few beers

Its taken me a while to get the remote Gizmo working ..quick search on firewalls and tcp addresses.

Got the Lenovo setup with SSD and plugged into AV installed tightvnc and controling via laptop

Eventually when the Nexus tablet arrives need to find out how to have full blown client control of JRMC. Only so much reading I can do in one evening. Will tackle that tomorrow.

So far so good, still getting to grips with playlists and negotiating main control screen of JRMC , keep losing things
 

PhilCTTE

Well-known Member
larkone said:
You may have done it but worth setting JRiver to play from memory and I had the best results using WASAPI Event Style.

Followed a guide on computer audiophile, set WASAPI event style. Will look at playing from memory.

There's so much configuration on JRMC, it's taking a while. Loving the theatre view as per pic. Seems to be grabbing images from somewhere of the artist and changes background as playing. Perhaps I've been living in a cave , but I find that very cool.

Tips on controlling JRMC from tablet would be appreciated. Not just gizmo but full blown screen. Using TightVnc at moment, but is there a client mode ? .... Also battling to set wake on lan to work.
 

PhilCTTE

Well-known Member
With gizmo had to add port address in firewall rule by config of internet adapter. So I don't think I need to forward ip address via router or anything.
 

larkone

Member
You could try Splashtop remote - this gives full remote PC control on a tablet and android version is coming. ****Update**** apparently some people have it working on the Nexus tablet. It works well on my HP Touchpad controlling my HTPC, though I found Gizmo fine on an android tablet just for playing music. One of the reasons I dropped JRiver was that I couldn't control it from my Touchpad and the Squeezecontrol/squeezplayer option looks good on the HP and sounds good.

WOL is an interesting one, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't - a swine to troubleshoot. Thread here on some set up options

WOL Magic Packet Port?
 
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PhilCTTE

Well-known Member
Well played with the Google Nexus for a week but was only ever any good for remote control apps, rather than full screen, 7" is just not enough!. Looks like Ipad or nothing imo. Used the splashremote app which was very good.

Sold the Nexus lost a few quid well £30, so will now wait for later in the year for Ipad.

At least the Lenovo is prooving to be a worthwhile purchase , just failing to wake up on lan is the only issue. Takes less than about 40 secs to get going so no biggie. Using laptop wireless with TightVNC remote desktop access to it.

Still getting to grips with the media centre and gizmo remote app. Not sure if I've fully understood how to construct the playlists. Couple of areas where it fails is the ability to move or delete tracks in the playlist on gizmo, probably need more time. But its no where near as intuitive and as simple as Sonos so far imo.:confused:

Looks superb in theater view with image out via hdmi to plasma and mirrored on tablet.

Sometimes get the perspective all "fuddled up" on jrmc and have to find the right menu option to reset. Very configurable but at the same time can be a pain in the a*se.

Finally got RadioParadise to play 192k ogg vorbis. In error I tried to add radio station url via connected media but all I managed to do was open and download the stream. Added it to my connected media to get it running sucessfully.
 

larkone

Member
This might help with the WOL issue

Q180 WOL Problem - Lenovo Community


Why not a larger android tablet like the Samsung or Asus? The issue I have with Apple is the locked in walled garden approach which I have found very limiting in the past, not to mention the cost.
 
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PhilCTTE

Well-known Member
larkone said:
This might help with the WOL issue

Q180 WOL Problem - Lenovo Community

Why not a larger android tablet like the Samsung or Asus? The issue I have with Apple is the locked in walled garden approach which I have found very limiting in the past, not to mention the cost.

Cheers for that will have s look after hols. Might checkout asus. One with detachable keyboard.
 

larkone

Member
Cheers for that will have s look after hols. Might checkout asus. One with detachable keyboard.

A friend bought that Asus and is very happy with it. They are using it with the Panasonic app to control the apps on their TV, works well.
 

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