The Linnofil Super NAS!

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The Linnofil Super NAS!

Post by Linnofil » 2013-01-14 23:20

I have during the last year worked a lot on a PC based DIY NAS, trying to optimise the performance of my DS system. This has been discussed a lot during development on the Swedish tunedem forum. It has been very rewarding. Some members there have built their own. I now think it is mature enough to launch it here, on an international scale. :-)

I would like to have the latest (best) spec in this first post. So I will not elaborate over all the work done in this first post. I would just like you to know that this NAS is in a totally different league to all other standard NAS units available on the market. I think that the difference between this NAS and a good standard (optimised with good HDD's etc.) NAS is a bigger upgrade to your DS, than adding a Radikal to an LP12.

If performance from your DS is your thing, then this is the thing to do!

Suggested links may not be the best place to buy that particular component, it's just informative. Find your best deal for you in your local country. I have not indicated any prices, since they tend to change frequently. At the time of this post a Super NAS with 670 GB (unformatted) capacity will cost around $1650. A Super NAS with 1270 GB (unformatted) capacity will cost a little bit above $2500. This is very good value!

Hardware Specification:

1: NAS case, Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced :
(Suggestion only, as the case's effect on performance is largely untested. But tests have clearly indicated a preference for horizontal motherboards. So avoid cases with vertical mounted motherboards. The Cooler Master has space for 6 SSD's and a full size optical drive (space can be used for HDD) as well as a normal size ATX PSU. Side fan needs to be changed to item 8 below, front fan removed? )
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811119261

2: ATX PSU, Seasonic PowerSupply X-460FL, 460W passive cooling:
(The X and the SS is most likely the same product. The Platinum version is used by most builders)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817151099

3: Motherboard, Asus E45M1-I Deluxe Mini-itx, (processor, graphics and passive cooling is included):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813131807

4: RAM, Kingston 2x4 GB DDR3 PC10600 1333MHz (KTH9600B/4G) (HP):
(Performance difference for RAM's are not fullt tested (will never be...), but these are the best we know right now.)
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B002R9J62U

5: S-ATA internal cables, Deltaco SATA-1000, 30 cm (12") black with straight connectors:
(Not sold in US or UK.)
This cable is marked with "SATAIII Serial ATA 6.0Gbit/s (then a brand symbol that looks like "9U", or a mirrored R fused with a U) AWM E332199 2725 26 AWG 80°C 30V VW-1"
(Remember to buy same amount as you have drives) I don't know where this can be bought internationally. But here is a picture of it. http://www.inet.se/produkt/8906189/seri ... 6gb-s-0-3m

6: OS/SW drive, Samsung 840 Pro.
(Fast, but space not needed for OS/SW can, only in case of emergency, be used as FLAC storage! Still better than most SSD for FLAC storage.) The older Samsung 830 is also a very good (equal) choice.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820147192

6: Optional OS/SW drive, 120 GB Intel 320 SSD.
(Slower, but space not needed for OS/SW can happily be used for FLAC storage)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820167052

7: FLAC/media storage drive, 600 GB Intel 320 SSD. (Multiple drives may be necessary)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820167061

7: Optional FLAC/media storage drive, 300 GB Intel 320 SSD. (Multiple drives may be necessary)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820167058

I have both 120, 160 and 600 GB Intel 320 drives and the 120/160 versions sound the same. The 600 GB is a little bit better then the smaller ones. I'm unsure about the 300 GB as I don't have one myself. The differences are small and all the Intel 320 SSD's I have tested are very good. (Tested the 300 GB indirectly.) Next best SSD is the older Intel X-25 G2 series. 6 drives are the maximum for this motherboard, if the eSATA port is used. (Loop the cable back in the case.) A total FLAC/media capacity of 3550 GB (unformatted) is the maximum for this NAS, with six 600 GB drives.

8: Cooling fan (If needed), Fractal Design Silent Series 80 mm. (Other sizes may be OK.)
http://www.amazon.com/FRACTAL-CASE-FAN- ... 008MJ1H3U/

9: Power cable, use the latest Linn cable. The one sold by Linn here in Europe works very well.

I use a Microsoft 3000 blue track mouse and keyboard, but I don't know if it affects the performance. Same with the monitor, I don't know if it affects the performance. But a LED monitor is likely the best. But mine is turned of (power unplugged) when listening anyway.


Software Specification:

1: OS, Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6832116986

2: Anti-virus, AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2012/3:
(Only needed if your DS network is "online".)
http://free.avg.com/eu-en/free-antivirus-download

3: Media (DLNA) Server SW, Asset UPnP Premium:
http://secure.dbpoweramp.com/store/prod ... 0&V_ID=557


Install instructions:

Install all the hardware as if building a normal desktop PC. Install the all the SW on the OS drive, start with the Win 7 OS on the OS drive. (An external DVD drive is very helpful during install.) Install the Anti-virus. Upgrade all Windows stuff if you are using it "online". Install the drivers from the ASUS CD or go online for the latest versions. If you have an Intel 320 SSD as OS/SW drive, the remaining space (about 70 GB) on the drive after installing OS and other SW can be used for FLAC storage. But it is wise to leave at least 10GB for future OS upgrades and SW installs etc.

The case fan (if any, it's better with a fan (80 mm F.D. S.S.) than without) must be connected to the processor fan pin header. Do not connect it to the chassis fan header. For each case it is a good idea to check if the indicator LED's shall be connected or not. For my case it's better to have the SSD access LED connected, but the power LED disconnected.

SATA cables, (if you can get hold of the same Deltaco SATA-1000 or whatever it is branded as in your country) they shall be connected with the text on the cable running from the motherboard to the drives, but always check direction. I have one that sounds best the other way. If you have to find other cables, buy lots of different cables and try them out with the tune method. Then report back all details here. Remember to check direction before comparing. Cables may also have a burn in time of at least a week. So be sure you are comparing the same thing.

Edit 1, 2013-Feb-5:
1. Updated with new case, Cooler Master Elite 120 as some builders had problems with the originally suggested Fractal Design Node 304.
2. Added more info on the PSU, Platinum.
3. Reversed the order of suggested OS drives (item 6) to avoid users suffering from the 8mb bug on their OS drive.
4. Minor spell fixes.
5. Changed the RAM recommendation to the Kingston's from the A-Data 1600 MHz Game Series after tests by Nicolav and Music Lover.
Updated the case recommendation with som more information based on my tests that indicated a clear preference (big difference) for horizontal placement of the MB.
Last edited by Linnofil on 2013-02-24 09:42, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by Linnofil » 2013-01-14 23:24

A bit of a warning:
If you build the "Linnofil Super NAS" above, don't think that you can swap any component with something of "better/newer" spec. It will not be the same. The components are selected with tunedem and a lot of work is done and a lot money have been spent. I also suggest that the builders of this NAS will share all the information, if you test anything that is better than the present spec. I will try and update the first post with any new and reliable information I get. This is however the best that I/we know today. It's definetly good enough to build right now. But I really do hope it will evolve further.

Please also note that it's a good idea to take care of the rest of the installation as well. Digitally with good cables, switches etc. and traditionally with a proper installation of all the other components.

If a HDD is needed for the "not so important" music, then use a Seagate Constellation ES.2 for this. A standard Seagate Barracuda affects the performance of the system. But be aware that this NAS is super silent and a HDD is going to sound a lot more than the rest of the NAS. When you hear the difference to a 320 SSD in this NAS you don't want a HDD anyway...

Personally I built my NAS in a SilverStone Sugo Series SG02B with the Asus E45M1-M PRO mATX board. The Mini-ITX board may be a little bit better. (Indicated in testing, but not 100% identical specs, so a little bit inconclusive.) Personally, I have 2x120 GB, a single 160GB and a single 600 GB Intel 320 drives for a total of 1TB unformatted capacity.

Case:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811163206

Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813131875

Some other Swedes have built the NAS with the (now discontinued?) Fractal Design Array R2 case.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811352019

This case has a SFX power supply and require some very light modification to be able to fit a standard ATX PSU (as in the HW component list). The standard SFX PSU is good enough to start with.

I'm very happy with the results and so are the others on the Swedish forum that have made this quantum leap in DS performance. Now, it's time for you to build one!

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Post by lejonklou » 2013-01-14 23:43

I can highly recommend Linnofil's construction, as described above.

If this forum had an 'Achievement Of The Year' award, he would be the first to receive it!

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Post by SaltyDog » 2013-01-15 00:18

Looks like a lot of work and money invested.

I'm guessing Fredrick is making his statement based on "hearing is believing".

Not meant in anyway negative or challenging, I have some questions and skepticism. That's just how most of us start out with these sort of things and I'm just being curious and honest.

I still don't get why firmware has such a big impact on the music, or why it affects different systems differently. I'd have thought x firmware sounds better on my system; therefore it should sound better on my buddies system. But that is not what I have experienced. I'm not asking you to go into all the details of how you came up with your conclusions because that doesn't matter to me. I'm sure I could dig into the forum and find out more, but just want make it easier on everyone reading your thread.

What is your system?

Were other systems used?

Firmware - what are you using? Was that a constant? Do your findings stand up across different firmware? Have you found differing results based on the firmware?

Have you used 24-bit trans-coding to wav from your FLAC files?

What media server and control points are used?

Again I have no experience in this end of things and therefor no opinions either. I just want to sort out some of the apples and oranges as I try to follow what I expect to get to be a busy thread.

I'm all ears and lacking in time to try anything myself at this point. (Have a major boat restoration and motorcycle restoration in the works, besides family and a business to run.) Thankfully I know I am satisfied with my system at present, it makes me uneasy when I know it is "off". It would be interesting to try all sorts of things if I wasn't budgeting time and resources.

Keep up the good work. Thanks.

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Post by PSive » 2013-01-15 00:33

Is this really gong to sond noticeably different to my Qnap? How does at work, I not understand how the has drive affects the sound. But I m probably being a bit thick...

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Post by Linnofil » 2013-01-15 02:48

PSive wrote:Is this really gong to sond noticeably different to my Qnap?

Yes, fundamentally different. A quantum leap in performance.
PSive wrote:I not understand how the has drive affects the sound. But I m probably being a bit thick...
No, you are not being thick. I don't think anyone really know how they affect the music. But I know that they do. The difference in a normal NAS is big, but in the NAS described above, it is even bigger.

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Post by Linnofil » 2013-01-15 03:10

SaltyDog wrote:Looks like a lot of work and money invested.
Yes, and now it's time for all of you others to cash in! The more we are with this type of NAS, hopefully the more I will get back in form of tests and future upgrades. The computer industry has an abundance of products doing almost the same thing, but performing very differently in a server for a Linn DS system. I/we need more manpower and a bigger (collective) wallet for testing more stuff.
SaltyDog wrote:What is your system?
Sources: (In the main system, Knekt distribution with Intersect R8S8)
DS: Linn ADS/1
Vinyl: LP12/Radikal/Greenstreet/Ekos2/Adikt/Slipsik
Airwaves: Akurate Tuner (FM and DAB)
Control:
Pre amp: Klimax Kontrol/0/B and Knekt preamp, Intersekt R8S8
Playback:
Power amp; DIY/D (very good, IMHO)
Speakers: Majik 109

Most stuff very soon on Mimer/Tor. I also have 6 other systems, mostly with Linn components. (Knekt zones and HT)
SaltyDog wrote:Were other systems used?
SaltyDog wrote:Do your findings stand up across different firmware? Have you found differing results based on the firmware?
There are others on the Swedish forum that have this type of NAS. I have also tested my NAS in another system, with KDS/KK/Tundra/A212 and different DS FW, with very good (similar) results.
SaltyDog wrote:Firmware - what are you using? Was that a constant?
I have used 4.5.3 during the whole process.
SaltyDog wrote:Have you used 24-bit trans-coding to wav from your FLAC files?
Not myself. But, this has been tested (with JRiver) by another member on the Swedish forum, with slightly disappointing results. The sound was more "hifi" but it messed up the music.
SaltyDog wrote:What media server and control points are used?
Asset, Twonky, JRiver and Logitech have been tested, Asset was much, much better than the Logitech DLNA server. Asset was also clearly better than Twonky. Control points have mostly been Kinsky iOS, Kinsky Android, Kinsky Desktop, Konductor and PlugPlayer for iOS.

I know that this NAS stuff may sound weird to some people, but with all details combined this is a fundamental difference. It is not a local thing just in my system. What I can recommend for the curious (but suspicious) is to build a NAS without the storage drives, just the 120 GB Intel 320 SSD for the OS/SW and use that to test against HDD's. This is a lot better then a standard NAS, even with a good HDD and gives the opportunity to test a Intel 320 SSD against HDD's. More 320 SSD's can then be added when funds allow.

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Post by SaltyDog » 2013-01-15 05:20

Linnofil,

Thanks for the replies.

I have an ultra-book with a SSD. I may have time to try some music from it and see if it does any good. I guess I should have it wired to the same switch as the NAS and DS. Just getting a wire run from the basement will take more time than I can promise at this time, but you never know. Most stuff gets done by busy people!

My network has been the same since before any of my hifi system I now use.

When you speak of Media Servers being better is that musically and/or functionally?

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Post by lejonklou » 2013-01-15 22:42

SaltyDog wrote:I have an ultra-book with a SSD. I may have time to try some music from it and see if it does any good.
Before you do, please reread Linnofil's second post in this thread. Just like with any HiFi product, or any HiFi system, performance does not come from perfecting a single detail, it comes from perfecting as many details as possible.
SaltyDog wrote:When you speak of Media Servers being better is that musically and/or functionally?
Whenever differences are reported in this thread, you can count on them being musical. If they are functional, I'm certain Linnofil will point that out specifically.

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Post by Linnofil » 2013-01-15 22:59

SaltyDog wrote:I have an ultra-book with a SSD. I may have time to try some music from it and see if it does any good.
It depends on the ultrabook and the SSD. If the SSD is a Intel 320 or a X.25 G2, then you will probably notice a difference to the better. If the SSD is based on a Sandforce controller (most other Intel SSD's) or a Marvell based controller, it will most likely be worse than the NAS with HDD's. Try and run it on the internal battery when testing.

This NAS is a package deal. A random ultra-book with the best SSD's will not give you what this NAS will. It may however be an indication of detectable differences in the digital input signal. It may spark your interest, so I still think you should test it.

SaltyDog wrote:I guess I should have it wired to the same switch as the NAS and DS.

For a fair comparison, yes. But it may be better somewhere else, depending on your network. Normally it's best to have a single switch between the DS and the NAS. Try a blue Netgear GS105 or GS108. If you don't have these (or any other proven tune method tested switch), then they are a cheap upgrade to your DS.

SaltyDog wrote:Just getting a wire run from the basement will take more time than I can promise at this time, but you never know.
Use the same wire that you have connected to your NAS. Just place the ultrabook in the basement and use the Linn remote to navigate your playlist. Sometime it's a big improvement to turn off the other NAS. Try that to.

SaltyDog wrote:Most stuff gets done by busy people!
True. But the best stuff is made by creative people! If you are very creative and very busy, then you (apparently) can make a Tundra Mono...

SaltyDog wrote:My network has been the same since before any of my hifi system I now use.
Interesting, then its time for a tune method based overhaul! Network and NAS is your systems digital input. Source first thinking is very valid, even for digital signals.

SaltyDog wrote:When you speak of Media Servers being better is that musically and/or functionally?
Musically, all this is focused on music only. The sound is immensely improved as well. But the musical improvement is what's essential for me with this NAS.

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Post by SaltyDog » 2013-01-16 04:31

It just so happens I have been using your recommended HDDs and switch.

I also have the hifi on a dedicated 240V 60 Hz line.

The network is on separate 120V 60 Hz circuit.

Curious as to the voltage and frequency you use.

Watching this thread with interest.

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Post by Daniel » 2013-01-16 09:03

SaltyDog wrote:It just so happens I have been using your recommended HDDs and switch.

I also have the hifi on a dedicated 240V 60 Hz line.

The network is on separate 120V 60 Hz circuit.

Curious as to the voltage and frequency you use.

Watching this thread with interest.
Sweden, and Linnofil I guess, use 230V 50Hz

I have listened to several different configurations and NASs including one with Linnofils specs. It makes difference and Linnofils Super NAS is a big step forward.
/Daniel

LP12SE

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Post by Music Lover » 2013-01-16 12:54

lejonklou wrote:I can highly recommend Linnofil's construction, as described above.
I have built a NAS based on his recommendations and can only agree!
Enhancements are always difficult to describe but it's a major upgrade, almost as an source upgrade.
And this is just the beginning. A lot of items remains to be tested.
Let's do this together!
lejonklou wrote: If this forum had an 'Achievement Of The Year' award, he would be the first to receive it!
I suggest 2 awards. One for HIFI companies and one for layman achievements.
I nominate Linnofil to the second.

And as soon I heard Tundra Mono, I hope to nominate Fredrik to the first.
(I have seriously high expectations)
It's all about musical understanding!

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Post by Linnofil » 2013-01-16 15:22

SaltyDog wrote:It just so happens I have been using your recommended HDDs and switch.
Great, glad you seem happy with it.
SaltyDog wrote:Curious as to the voltage and frequency you use.
Daniel wrote:Sweden, and Linnofil I guess, use 230V 50Hz
Yep, 50 Hz 230 VAC for all stuff. separate fuse and cable for the main system.

Thanks to Daniel and Music Lover for bringing this back on topic. I wish this thread to be about building a high performance NAS and not other stuff. I know I invited this discussion by mentioning all that other stuff, but I hope we now can get back to NAS builds.

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Post by PSive » 2013-01-16 16:49

I have never build a pc before, or a nas. How hard is it?

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Post by paolo » 2013-01-16 18:15

Great thread this is!!!

I confess it was some days I was lurking on the Melodik forum (thanks Fredrik for pointing it out to me) trying to understand all the discussions about Linnofl's NAS with the help of Google translator....

I was going to open a thread on this forum to ask more details and explanations but Linnofil has been faster, thanks for that!!! And thanks for all the fantastic work done. I've been experimenting quite a bit during the years on the network/NAS side of the DS architecture and I'm very much convinced this is a fundamental area to investigate to enhance the performance and one where we probably still have to learn a lot.

At the moment the best sounding NAS I've come across is still the good old Readynas NV+, with various details optimized (Fan, RAM, HDD, SW). I have tried several more NASes but nothing finally has been better overall. For instance all the new Qnaps I've tried (119, 219, 259, 459, 112, 212 in various versions), which seem to be quite pupular and appreciated today, have all in my experience a family sound, quite appealing on first but finally not as musical as the NV+ (rhythmic and flowing yes, but not as exact, coherent and pitch accurate as an optimized NV+). Still haven't tried the SSDs though, for reasons of cost and low capacity compared with the HDD I'm using now (Seagate Constellation ES.2 2TB).

Ok now to the point: I'm very much interested in Linnofil Supernas and I'm planning to build one. I have a few question on that.

1) Motherboard: suggested one is Asus E45M1-I "Deluxe" but Linnofil you say you have the "Pro" version on your personal NAS. "Pro" is less expensive and easier to find, so what to do (musical performace is always the priority)? Have you directly compared the two? Is "Deluxe" version the best one?

2) SSDs/ HDDs. I've some doubts on how to proceed with SSDs. I already have two Constellation HDDS (one ES.1, one ES.2, best HDDs I've tried so far), so I'd like at least at the beginning to use one of them. My music library is around 1,2 TB at the moment but of course it's growing, so using only SSDs would become very expensive. So again, what to do?
Using one 300 or 600 GB Intel 320 series + 1 Costellation 2TB is ok? Is a separate SSD for the NAS O.S. necessary for performance?
Is there any cue about the possibility that Intel will produce new SSDs versions with the same controller as the 320 series (hoping they will be as good or better than 320s), or they've definitely taken a different route? If the latter is true we are surely in a hurry to buy the SSDs we need as soon as possible, if not we can possibly start with only a small one and then gradually increase with time. BTW if the latter is true we also have a big problem in perspective, what will we do infact when our precious 320 series SSDs will die? Ok , let's stay in the present and go on with what we've got for now....:)

3) Case. This is a point I think could be quite important and which I understand has still not been fully investigated in this project. An example: I'm sure you have tried tightening the inside screws (boards, chassis) of a NAS. You see it impacts on the performance, just like with any other components of the hifi system. Another example. Before discovering the Linnofil NAS thread on Melodik forum I was planning with a friend to begin some experiments on NASes' chassis and their impact on musical performance. Our aim was to build around a Qnap NAS a much better chassis than the standard one. Our initial tests infact suggested that some of the doubts we had on Qnap NASes compared to the old NV+ might have been due to the poor chassis (light, resonant, far from solid) used in the former ones. All Qnap NASes based on the standard light metallic chassis (X19, X59) had a family sound different from the Qnap NASes based on the plastic Chassis (112, 212: yes plastic, but overall much more solid). The latter in my opinion do sound better nothwithstanding the fact they have a less powerful processor (this is interesting as I see you have reached different conclusions about this matter). BTW our first tests aimed to change the resonant and/or mechanic characteristics of those chassis have shown a direct impact on performance.
So a qs: have you done any first screening on cases based on requirements others from compatibility with board/PS and dimensions? Do the suggested cases feel structurally solid and well built?
It remains a good point to investigate though. Probably starting with a good aluminium chassis and tuning it like one would do with a hifi product would be a good starting point. Any idea Fredrik?

4) Testing. I agree that as people involved in this exciting project will grow, it will be easier and less expensive to make more experiments and progress with knowledge and performance (once we all consistently use tune dem of course). For this reason I think it would be very useful if Linnofil would like to share a list, as comprehensive as possible, of all the items already tested with the corresponding results. Other people will avoid to investigate what's already been tested and look elsewhere to make experiments.

Ok I have some more questions but I think that's enough for now, sorry for the long post.

Next days I will proceed buying all the suggested components. Thank you again to Linnofil and all you other guys involved in this intriguing thing for sharing your precious knowledge and findings.

Have a nice evening!
Paolo
Last edited by paolo on 2013-01-17 02:35, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Linnofil » 2013-01-16 23:56

PSive wrote:I have never build a pc before, or a nas. How hard is it?
Not that hard. There is lots of PC builder help on the net. And for this NAS there is help to be found right here.

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Post by xanlin » 2013-01-17 08:48

Linnofil, have you tested if the performance of the super NAS is
degraded you:

1) Add another NAS with rotating disks to the same router/switch as your super NAS

or

2) Add rotating disks to your super NAS (but still use SSD for the music library)

I was wondering if it is possible to can reduce the need of large SSD disk by using some sort of SSD based disk cache, making the currently used files be stored in SSD and the bulk library on conventional disks.

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Post by Linnofil » 2013-01-17 18:24

xanlin wrote:Linnofil, have you tested if the performance of the super NAS is
degraded you:

1) Add another NAS with rotating disks to the same router/switch as your super NAS.
I have not tested this specifically myself. But others have done this and reported definitive improvement when the standard NAS (NV+, I think it was) was turned off. That's why I recommended Salty Dog to try this, if he decides to test his ultrabook (hopefully with a Intel 320 SSD) as a NAS.
xanlin wrote:2) Add rotating disks to your super NAS (but still use SSD for the music library).
As mentioned earlier in this thread:
Linnofil wrote:If a HDD is needed for the "not so important" music, then use a Seagate Constellation ES.2 for this. A standard Seagate Barracuda affects the performance of the system. But be aware that this NAS is super silent and a HDD is going to sound a lot more than the rest of the NAS. When you hear the difference to a 320 SSD in this NAS you don't want a HDD anyway...
So yes, I have tried this. I have tried a lot with HDD's, 10k rpm WD VR, std 7.2k Barracuda, ES.2 etc. An interesting thing I discovered when testing HDD's is that it matters a lot where the music is placed on the drive. It's much better on the outer edges of the disks. Something to think about when testing HDD X vs. HDD Y.

So if you decide to put a Constellation ES.2 in this NAS that is fine. The improvement is much bigger with this HDD in a L.S. NAS then using a Intel 320 SSD in a standard NAS. I had my ES.2 in the NAS for a while before I bought my 600 GB SSD. When it goes to sleep (had mine set to go to sleep after 5 min) it doesn't do any damage. The Std Barracuda makes a noticeable difference to the worse if it is used in this NAS. The only HDD I tested that didn't do any damage was the ES.2. I didn't test any 2.5" drives, maybe they are better?

Personally I got tired of hearing the ES.2 start when I "accidentally" selected the "less important" music. It' felt like a tractor started in the room, since it's normally so silent. So I started to select music only with the "folder view" to avoid it and that felt pretty silly. So I removed the HDD. Then I got tired of not having all my music available and realized I needed more space. Then I bought the 600 GB unit. Now I'm very happy. :-D I have since then tried to install the HDD again without having any music on it. I just have other PC stuff there and that works fine. It's asleep at all times, except when I want to transfer an audio book from the HDD to my phone, or something like that. It uses the eSATA port on the back, with a cable looped back in the case. That's because all my internal SATA ports are used for SSD's.

xanlin wrote:I was wondering if it is possible to can reduce the need of large SSD disk by using some sort of SSD based disk cache, making the currently used files be stored in SSD and the bulk library on conventional disks.
Yes, as concluded above, this will work. I think that you will be tired of this procedure pretty soon. But I also think it's a good thing to start with. I have a Samsung 830 system drive. (As good as the outer edges of a ES.2 HDD, 840 Pro is good to.) That was because I didn't want to waste any "good" SSD capacity when I started. At that time I had both 320 and X-25 G2 SSD's. Then I added more 320 drives until the X-25 G2 and the HDD wasn't needed anymore.

Paolo, a reply is in the works. This was just ment to be a quick reply to Xanlin, and I got carried away...

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Post by Linnofil » 2013-01-18 11:16

paolo wrote:Great thread this is!!!

I confess it was some days I was lurking on the Melodik forum (thanks Fredrik for pointing it out to me) trying to understand all the discussions about Linnofl's NAS with the help of Google translator....

I was going to open a thread on this forum but Linnofil has been faster, thanks for that!!! And thanks for all the fantastic work done. I've been experimenting quite a bit during the years on the network/NAS side of the DS architecture and I'm very much convinced this is a fundamental area to investigate to enhance the performance and one where we probably still have to learn a lot.
Thanks Paolo, great to know that you are interested! And I agree, we are only in the beginning. It took a lot of years and thought to get the LP12 sound as it's doing today. A DS today may be like an LP12 in 1978...

paolo wrote:At the moment the best sounding NAS I've come across is still the good old Readynas NV+, with various details optimized (Fan, RAM, HDD, SW). I have tried several more NASes but nothing finally has been better overall.
You are in for a surprise! Musiclover has upgraded from an optimized NV+ with Intel X-25 G2 SSD to a L.S. NAS and he is very happy indeed!

paolo wrote:I'm very much interested in Linnofil Supernas and I'm planning to build one.

Great news Paolo! That will be the first L.S. NAS outside of Sweden.

paolo wrote:I have a few question on that.
A few? There will be more I guess... I just decided to split up this post in sveral posts. But we all learn from this and that is the main thing.

paolo wrote:1) Motherboard: suggested one is Asus E45M1-I "Deluxe" but Linnofil you say you have the "Pro" version on your personal NAS. "Pro" is less expensive and easier to find, so what to do (musical performace is always the priority)? Have you directly compared the two? Is "Deluxe" version the best one?
I have tried both, in an inconclusive test, as mentioned in one of the posts above. The mini-ITX was better. But one problem was different cases. The Mini-ITX was in a Morex T3500-80W and the mATX was in my Silverstone Sugo case. (The same power supply was used. The Morex fanless PSU was not so good. ) This was not the main problem however, The mini-ITX PC had Windows 7 Home installed and my mATX NAS has Windows 7 Pro. The need for Win XP simulation mode was my reason for using W.7 Pro. That was also the reason for using the mATX since that has a HW serial port on the MB. I have only had limited success with my USB=>Serial converters, despite getting the most recommended ones. I need a serial port and Win XP to handle my Knekt installation. The Mini-ITX board makes for a smaller case and a more NAS like placement may be possible.

So I think that the mATX Pro is still a good choice, but don't install the W.7 Pro, stick with Home Premium 64 Bit. My NAS is pretty amazing, with the mATX Pro. The Pro needs a small fan for cooling. That may be a problem for some (more dust in the case etc.) I use the recommended Fractal Design Silent Series, 80 mm for this. It sounds better with this fan (and the stock 60 mm fan) than without. I tested a few fans and this was the best. No fan shall be connected to the chassis fan connector on the MB. It has to be connected to the CPU fan connector. I also have had no success with variable resistors that can adjust fan speed. It only makes it worse. The mentioned fan that I use is inaudible, so it's not a problem. I made a small bracket out of aluminum and the fan is fitted with rubber mounts on that and it really is extremely silent.

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Post by Linnofil » 2013-01-18 11:49

Split reply to Paolos post above:
paolo wrote:2) SSDs/ HDDs. I've some doubts on how to proceed with SSDs. I already have two Constellation HDDS (one ES.1, one ES.2, best HDDs I've tried so far), so I'd like at least at the beginning to use one of them. My music library is around 1,2 TB at the moment but of course it's growing, so using only SSDs would become very expensive. So again, what to do?
As mentioned in my reply to Xanlin, this is fine to start with. Maybe start with a small SSD as OS/SW drive and a small Intel 320 so you have something to test with. Then migrate more and more music to Intel 320 SSDs as you buy more and more of them. (It's going to take shorter time then you think...) The performance gain in this L.S. NAS is not only attributed to the Intel 320 SSD's, it's in the attention to detail (selection of components). You will get a lot out of this NAS even if you keep the ES.2 for a while. It's just that the better NAS you have the greater is the difference between the discs.

paolo wrote:Using one 300 or 600 GB Intel 320 series + 1 Costellation 2TB is ok?
As mentioned, yes. But I don't think you will stick with that for long. Brace your self for some investments. :-) The nice thing is that you can judge that for your self, when you get your NAS up and running.

paolo wrote:Is a separate SSD for the NAS O.S. necessary for performance?
I have used this to "save" precious 320 space for music. But the more 320 SSD's you have, the more logical it is to have one as the OS drive to. Because you can use the space left over for FLAC storage. Since the MB "only" have 6 SATA ports they can soon be filled up with SSD's. If the OS drive also is a 320, you maximize the amount of music that can be stored in the NAS. (i.e. 6x600GB - (OS+SW) = 3550 GB unformatted capacity.)

By using a small SSD as OS drive it will be easy to migrate to a larger 320 SSD when the need arises. (Free tools available for that. I have used http://www.miray.de/products/sat.hdclone.html#free It's simple and works well.)

paolo wrote:Is there any cue about the possibility that Intel will produce new SSDs versions with the same controller as the 320 series (hoping they will be as good or better than 320s), or they've definitely taken a different route?
Intel has already launched the DC S3700 and I haven't tested that yet. Give me a 800 GB version for free and I will test it! ;-) It's a bit expensive at slightly less than $1900, but I really want to try one. Some day... It's not the same controller as the 320. It may be bad, good or much better, who knows before we can test one? More info: http://www.anandtech.com/show/6432/the- ... r-analyzed
http://www.storagereview.com/intel_ssd_ ... ssd_review

paolo wrote: If the latter is true we are surely in a hurry to buy the SSDs we need as soon as possible, if not we can possibly start with only a small one and then gradually increase with time. BTW if the latter is true we also have a big problem in perspective, what will we do infact when our precious 320 series SSDs will die? Ok , let's stay in the present and go on with what we've got for now....:)
There is also the possiblity of buying used 320 SDD's when early adopters want new SSD's with higher transfer speeds. I bought my 600 GB drive to be sure I had 320 to cover all my present music. I haven't tested the Intel 710, it's very expensive!

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Post by Linnofil » 2013-01-18 11:55

Split reply to Paolos post above:
paolo wrote:3) Case. This is a point I think could be quite important and which I understand has still not been fully investigated in this project.
True. I also have thought about this. But it's hard to know what will be good. Build your own out of MDF, out of 15 mm aluminum, CNC milled flat and drilled to fit the MB? Endless possibilities, no knowledge... Testing will be a must. I like the case suggested, just by looking at pictures and by FD's good reputation for quality cases.

paolo wrote:Our aim was to build around a Qnap NAS a much better chassis than the standard one. Our initial tests infact suggested that some of the doubts we had on Qnap NASes compared to the old NV+ might have been due to the poor chassis (light, resonant, far from solid) used in the former ones. All Qnap NASes based on the standard light metallic chassis (X19, X59) had a family sound different from the Qnap NASes based on the plastic Chassis (112, 212: yes plastic, but overall much more solid). The latter in my opinion do sound better nothwithstanding the fact they have a less powerful processor (this is interesting as I see you have reached different conclusions about this matter). BTW our first tests aimed to change the resonant and/or mechanic characteristics of those chassis have shown a direct impact on performance.
I have not listened so much to standard NAS's lately. But I usually listen at my dealer (Tonlaget) when he buy new ones. I think he has a Qnap 269 now. He is usually very trustworthy when it comes to judging performance. He likes the new ones better.

But as I have discovered this is pretty difficult to test, since it matters a lot where on the disc the data is stored. Most times you test an almost full NAS (hence the need for a new one), maybe even with fragmented data, with a new one that is tested as soon as you get the first 10 GB on it. (All tracks will be on the outer tracks on the HDD's.) Most likely you listen to the latest albums you have bought and they are in the worst position on the old NAS. (Since it was getting full, it will have been placed on the inner tracks on the HDD's.) It's complicated!

paolo wrote:So a qs: have you done any first screening on cases based on requirements others from compatibility with board/PS and dimensions?
No, not really. I really like the Morex T3500 case based on looks and being a fanless design, but with an outboard ATX PSU it looks really silly and it can only hold 3 SSD's. My Silverstone Sugo is nice, but nothing special. I have always liked the Streacom cases. They are very solid. The FC5 is the smallest for a mAtX MB. But what I really like the most, and that probably would be the best for a semipassive cooling like on the Asus E45 Pro board, is the Streacom FC9. That would be something to build on and tweak with, solid stuff!
http://www.streacom.com/products/fc9-fanless-chassis/
Then again some may like the hifi looking black OrigenAE HTPC S14V.
http://www.origenae.co.kr/en/htpc_s14v.htm

paolo wrote:Do the suggested cases feel structurally solid and well built?
I like the FD cases, but I have not seen this particular case IRL, only pictures. The interior design looks good, it has a ATX PSU and a FD SS fan placed right above the cooling fins on the mini-ITX board. Looks perfect for a L.S. NAS build. But for the mATX Pro, a FC9 is what I would buy. It was not avalable in Sweden when I built my NAS. So I got a cheap case to start with. I may buy a Streacom FC9 some day.

paolo wrote:It remains a good point to investigate though. Probably starting with a good aluminium chassis and tuning it like one would do with a hifi product would be a good starting point.
Sounds good to me, do it! :-)

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Post by Linnofil » 2013-01-18 12:08

Split reply to Paolos post above:
paolo wrote:4) Testing. I agree that as people involved in this exciting project will grow, it will be easier and less expensive to make more experiments and progress with knowledge and performance (once we all consistently use tune dem of course). For this reason I think it would be very useful if Linnofil would like to share a list, as comprehensive as possible, of all the items already tested with the corresponding results. Other people will avoid to investigate what's already been tested and look elsewhere to make experiments.
I have tested a lots of stuff. More than I remember. SSD's I have tested most out there and they sound alike when they are based on the same controller. I think that the newer designs (all but 320) that is based on compressing data before writing to the NAND is not good for a FLAC server. But that is speculation. I just haven't found them any good. The only reasonable SSD except Intel X-25 G2 and 320 is the Samsung line, 830 and 840 Pro, 840 (not Pro) have not been tested. The Samsungs are like a ES.2 HDD on the outer edges. But that is very far from the Intel 320. Not worth buing a Samsung if you a have ES.2. But since a modern Samsung SSD is a cracking drive for OS/SW and still "OK" for music, that's it's my choice (for OS!). The others are just terrible for music, even if they are good OS drives!

I have tested different PC platforms, most except MAC's and Atom. A member on the Swedish Forum tested the Atom, but with lots of different HW so a very inconclusive test. But it indicated no special performance. I tried a mobile Core i5 of first generation, a newer Sandy Bridge Core i5 2550K in a Z68 ASrock M-ITX, not good at all, an older AMD, a P4 etc, none any good. I still would like to try a Atom platform myself. But it's difficult to find MB's with a lot of SATA ports.

I have tried some (4!) fanless PSU's from FSP, but they had so low quality I couldn't test them. I tried the Morex fanless PCU, not good. I bought and tried a Corsair 650 W PSU, not good. A few others that I had lying around. None any good. The best I have is a PSU from a Dell Dimension 8400, an old P4. I swapped the fan for a FD SS 80 mm and it was super silent as well. Now I have bought the Seasonic.

I have basically bought all the SATA cables that I could get my hands on. Maybe 15 different types. They all sound different but I have not remembered them all. Since the cable that we use in Sweden is not available, you may have someone in Sweden buy it for you here and have it shipped. Or you may have to do the same work as myself, on your local market. Cables are cheap, but it takes a lot of time testing them. Musiclover is now testing some of the Deltaco cables where the connectors are flipped 180 degrees on these cables.

paolo wrote:sorry for the long post.
Well, I made it longer, so now I'm worse! (I think it was the right decision to split it up.)
paolo wrote:Next days I will proceed buying all the suggested components. Thank you again to Linnofil and all you other guys involved in this intriguing thing for sharing your precious knowledge and findings.
If you build a Linnofil Super NAS and participate in the development, that's the best way to say thanks! I'm greatful for the confidence shown to!

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Post by David Neel » 2013-01-19 13:00

I'm thinking of building a Linnofil SuperNAS! I've been trying to get my head around NAS and RAID and everything else since I bought a DS six months ago - currently all my music is on my laptop. I like the idea that I can have a dedicated NAS for music, and a separate unit for backup. I used to build my own desktop PCs many years ago, so a NAS should be okay?

I've got a few questions:
Do I need a screen/keyboard to install the NAS software, or can I do it all from the laptop?
When the NAS is running, is it quiet enough to be in the room? I think so from the commentary, but want to be sure.
Assuming it's quiet enough, mine may sit on the top of the hifi rack - any issues?
Should the NAS and the network switch share the hifi electrical spur, or be kept separate?
Can I start with just the one SSD drive? - I've only got about 100MB of music ripped so far, less than the same again to go - I'm mainly vinyl.
The two motherboards are different sizes, does this mean different case sizes?
The deluxe motherboard does not require a fan, but the pro version does - does this make the deluxe version quieter for being in the same room?
Does MinimServer work with this, or do I need to stick with Asset?
Finally, can anybody recommend a good UK website to order from?

Sorry if these are very basic questions - I want to be absolutely sure before I spend any money.

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Post by Music Lover » 2013-01-19 15:08

David Neel wrote: When the NAS is running, is it quiet enough to be in the room? I think so from the commentary, but want to be sure.
Assuming it's quiet enough, mine may sit on the top of the hifi rack - any issues?
Should the NAS and the network switch share the hifi electrical spur, or be kept separate?
How you perceive noise is impossible to say but if you use the PSU without fan, you should be fine. It's almost completely silent.
I can live with a stock NV+...

I would not have anything in my HIFI rack except HIFI components, but that's me. Separation is normally something to strive for.
All my network stuff is therefore on separate rack, 2m away.
Same on separate spur, you have to test.

If you start with one SSD, get a 300GB to have space for your music.
You'll NOT regret it!!!!
Good Luck!
It's all about musical understanding!

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