Building a media server

By dcmeigs
Apr 12, 2007
  1. I live in a condo with a lot of EM interfearance and networked music server products don't seem to work very well in this enviroment. Music tends to stop and start abruptly, as connections are broken and remade, and it's really hard on my treasured Polk SDAs (speakers), not to mention annoying. So, I have taken to using my laptop as a music server with a USB optical outlet.

    So here's the deal. I want a McIntosh MS-300 but don't want to shell out five large for it. It's basically a media case, hard drive, mother board, 300 gig HD and software. So I plan to by an nMedia 200BA case and get started building one; my first computer build.

    So here's the questions:

    1) I want it to run cool because removing heat from the "stereo cabinet furniture" it will be installed in will be difficult and I dont want to hear cooling fans over the music. So which processors run the coolest. I suppose laptop processors, but which ones are the most efficient (coolest)? and/or what spec is used to evaluate this? Remember, speed is not real important, we're just playing music here. Documentation quality is important as I'm a novice.

    2) I would like to conduct the heat out of this stereo cabinet furniture via some sort of heat transport device. I am aware of some liquid cooling products but don't really have an appreciation of the range of products available. I could see having a large aluminum cooling fin mounted underneathe the cabinet with coolant circulating through it. I suspect someone sells a product for this application; which work well? I have seen fanless CPU's that would be perfect but they are in proprietary cases and require a well vented space.

    3) The media servers have small LCD panels and knob style controls that substitute for monitors and mouse. Obviously there is software available to drive these but the manufacturs are strangly quiet on the subject. Where do I find this type of software?

    Any help on any of these topics would be appreciated.

  2. JimShady23

    JimShady23 TS Maniac Posts: 373


    The good news is that you wont be spending 5g's on a system. More like $1000 or less due to the fact that you dont need to buy a monitor or monster video card, unless you plan on gaming with the media center on your tv.

    About the knobs and such, unless it is a high end media center case $300 or so the fuctuality of these knobs and other devices are is rather limited and basically usless. Most people that have media centers usually use a wireless keyboard and mouse, or one of these fancy remotes that offer a great amout of functuality in a media center.

    A compact liquid cooling device is going to be your best bet for this type of application if you plan on sticking the media center into a stereo cabinet with limited ventilation. Or you can look at an option like this that is a liquid cooling system that sits outside your case like this and can easily be hidden behind your cabinets

    But I still reccomend having atleast 2 case fans in your system to dispell any additional heat. These can be nearly silent. Then dont need to move much air, just give a bit of circulation.
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