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alboy1975

music/plex server experiment, advice please

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'ello, apologies in advance if this goes on a bit, but I'd really appreciate some advice.

I've bought this: https://www.morgancomputers.co.uk/product_detail/16544/HP-Z220-Quad-Core-Xeon-E31240-V2-3-4GHz-Workstation-PC-8GB-RAM-2TB-HDD-Dual-nVidia-NVS-310-SFF-No-DVD/ plus an additional 16 ram.  The main aim being to transcode plex at an affordable cost.  Should do the job nicely with files stored on a synology nas (4tb).

I am however also thinking it will do nicely as a music server.  I've found an old xonar d2 lying around the house which I'm thinking i could use.  This is where my questions come.  Is it possible to to connect coax out to my external dac, so that the xonar pumps out the signal without processing?  I'd want external dac to do the job  Another question is in regard to power.  Does the xonar really need as much as 155 watts.  Seems a bit excessive for a sound card when the processor for my proposed server requires 69 watts.  The PSU in the server is only 240 watts, that why i raise this concern.

Your help is much appreciated.

Edited by alboy1975

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1 hour ago, alboy1975 said:

 Is it possible to to connect coax out to my external dac, so that the xonar pumps out the signal without processing?  I'd want external dac to do the job  Another question is in regard to power.  Does the xonar really need as much as 155 watts.  Seems a bit excessive for a sound card when the processor for my proposed server requires 69 watts.  The PSU in the server is only 240 watts, that why i raise this concern.

Your help is much appreciated.

The computer you've linked to should be fine for what you're proposing, my only issue would be having it in the same room as the hifi due to the hard drive and fan noise.  I guess that is your plan since you're thinking of using a PC sound-card to feed your dac.

Going to the bit in bold... by "processing" do you mean the Digital to Analogue conversion?  If so then the answer is yes, anything that comes down a digital SPDIF (coaxial) cable will be the digital stream and will need to be fed in to a dac to be converted to a low level analogue signal.  The xonar should connect up to your dac but you may need a specific cable if the SPDIF comes out of the xonar via a mini jack for instance.  If it has a full size coaxial out then it will plug straight in to most DACs.

Some modern 8-core processors use as little as 6 to 8 watts but an older gen desktop quad core could easily use 50 to 70 watts when you're running the computer real hard (when playing games or using intensive software such as video editing or 3D rendering applications).  The sound-card has its own micro-processor but it also contains a mini dac and analogue output stages, it therefore needs enough power to convert the digital signal in to a <2 volt analogue signal, I could easily imagine a sound card using more power than a processor.

If you are only using the digital output on the sound-card then it shouldn't be using anywhere near the full 155 watts quoted. 

A 240 watt PSU isn't great but should be find as long as you don't go attaching loads of unnecessary devices. Streaming music and even running a media server isn't going to stress that computer so it will use less power to run than it would if you were playing games or editing video.

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To overcome the noisy server in the same room problem use a Pi with a Digi Hat to drive your Dac. Load LMS on the server, squeezelite or similar on the pi and you are sorted.

https://www.hifiberry.com/products/digiplus/

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23 hours ago, alboy1975 said:

Does the xonar really need as much as 155 watts

No, never in a milion years. I've used Asus Xonar Essence STX and it only used external power because it's cleaner not because PCI-E couldn't supply enough. 

Unless you're using USB already on your Dacmagic 100 I'd use that instead of Xonar via Coax. 

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