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19" rack mount mini PC for home studio.

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April 14, 2005 12:20:31 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Hi,

Has anyone built a mini PC in a 19" rack?

I want to make a 'luggable' home studio in a 19" rack with a mini PC
containing a delta 1010lt, a patching panel and maybe a couple of blank
slots for effects or whatever.
I'm running Cakewalk Pro 9 at present on my desktop and will transfer
it over.

Are the mini PC's up to the job, being as they are VIA chipsets (I
think)?
Can you get pre-built cases for 19" rack mounts?


Any other advice would be welcome even if it's don't touch 'em with a
barge pole!!

Cheers
Bob
Anonymous
April 14, 2005 12:45:05 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Actually, you might be better off ordering a single space rack PC as opposed to cobbling one
together. They are out there. Cases can run upwards of $250 USD and more, depending. But whole
systems can be had for less than $2000 USD, and if you are willing to go used, you can probably find
something for around $1200-1500 USD with OS already on board that still has the horsepower you need.

Just a suggestion.

--fletch

bob@bfisk.demon.co.uk wrote:
> Hi,
>
> Has anyone built a mini PC in a 19" rack?
>
> I want to make a 'luggable' home studio in a 19" rack with a mini PC
> containing a delta 1010lt, a patching panel and maybe a couple of blank
> slots for effects or whatever.
> I'm running Cakewalk Pro 9 at present on my desktop and will transfer
> it over.
>
> Are the mini PC's up to the job, being as they are VIA chipsets (I
> think)?
> Can you get pre-built cases for 19" rack mounts?
>
>
> Any other advice would be welcome even if it's don't touch 'em with a
> barge pole!!
>
> Cheers
> Bob
>
Anonymous
April 14, 2005 1:38:24 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Hi Bob,

All the above PLUS have in mind to not just blindly order a
rack-mountable case. Many of those have been designed for server
rack-cabinets and they are far away from being adequate for audio. Also
have in mind that some of them (usually the cheap ones) ARE NOT
aluminum cases and that might be a problem regarding cooling for a
digital audio workstation.
You can find a couple of economical solutions at www.pricewatch.com (as
well as a couple of rack mounting kits) but you have to research it a
little bit.

Good luck,

Evangelos

%
Evangelos Himonides
IoE, University of London
tel: +44 2076126599
fax: +44 2076126741
"Allas to those who never sing but die with all their music in them..."



Oliver Wendell Holmes


%
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Anonymous
April 14, 2005 7:25:40 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Fletch wrote:
>
> Actually, you might be better off ordering a single space rack PC as
> opposed to cobbling one together. They are out there.

The vast majority of which are over 20 inches deep.
Anonymous
April 14, 2005 7:52:26 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

bob@bfisk.demon.co.uk wrote:
>
> Are the mini PC's up to the job, being as they are VIA chipsets (I
> think)?

Some of the current Via boards perform OK for audio. There is a newer
series just starting to ship that has much better performance.

You might want to check out the Epox Mini-ITX boards based on the
Pentium-M chip:

<http://www.epox.com/USA/product.asp?id=IP-4GMS6F&gt; includes 600 mHz M
processor.

<http://www.ipoxtech.com/4MTS6B.htm&gt; works with any of the Pentium-M chips.




> Can you get pre-built cases for 19" rack mounts?

Very few for Mini-ITX last time I looked (over a year ago.)

<http://www.cavaliericomputing.com/1U%20Servers/1u%20Min...;
<http://www.casetronic.com/products/Rackmount/1U-Rackmou...;

Beware of shock & vibration issues with rackmounted PCs.
Anonymous
April 14, 2005 7:53:41 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On 14 Apr 2005 08:20:31 -0700, bob@bfisk.demon.co.uk
<bob@bfisk.demon.co.uk> wrote:
> Hi,
>
> Has anyone built a mini PC in a 19" rack?
>
> I want to make a 'luggable' home studio in a 19" rack with a mini PC
> containing a delta 1010lt, a patching panel and maybe a couple of
> blank slots for effects or whatever. I'm running Cakewalk Pro 9 at

There are 19" cases widely available. For "Luggable" you either want a
shock-mounted rack or a "ruggedized" server enslosure.

They're made in everything from single-slot on up. Some of them are
limited in which motherboards they'll accept.

There are many vendors who will put together a system for you, some
catering to the music industry (hopefully with quieter components, but
watch the noise specs).

You might look into someone like Shuttle and build a bay in your case to
hold it. The downside to this is you may need a larger case to
accommodate the Shuttle. OTOH, you might want that for storage anyway,
depending on how extensive your live rig is.
Anonymous
April 14, 2005 7:53:42 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Charles Krug <cdkrug@worldnet.att.net> wrote:
>On 14 Apr 2005 08:20:31 -0700, bob@bfisk.demon.co.uk
><bob@bfisk.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>> Has anyone built a mini PC in a 19" rack?
>>
>> I want to make a 'luggable' home studio in a 19" rack with a mini PC
>> containing a delta 1010lt, a patching panel and maybe a couple of
>> blank slots for effects or whatever. I'm running Cakewalk Pro 9 at
>
>There are 19" cases widely available. For "Luggable" you either want a
>shock-mounted rack or a "ruggedized" server enslosure.
>
>They're made in everything from single-slot on up. Some of them are
>limited in which motherboards they'll accept.

The problem is that many of them are very loud. In order to get good
cooling into a 1U space, they have large fans with high flow rates, and
that translates to machines that are almost deafening to be near.
--scott


--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
April 14, 2005 7:53:43 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Scott Dorsey wrote:
>
> The problem is that many of them are very loud. In order to get good
> cooling into a 1U space, they have large fans with high flow rates, and
> that translates to machines that are almost deafening to be near.

Whereas 2U cases fit 80mm fans nicely (and have much better airflow.)
Anonymous
April 14, 2005 10:13:12 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <1113492031.501753.21540@l41g2000cwc.googlegroups.com>,
bob@bfisk.demon.co.uk wrote:

>
> Any other advice would be welcome even if it's don't touch 'em with a
> barge pole!!

Mac Xserve. Of course, you can't use Cakewalk!
Anonymous
April 15, 2005 1:48:01 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

bob@bfisk.demon.co.uk wrote:
> Hi,
>
> Has anyone built a mini PC in a 19" rack?

mini 19" form factor - that's an oxymoron, right?

I mean it has to be at least 17" wide without the ears. It should be
at least 2U - 3 1/2" high because 1U systems are just to hard to cool
with any kind of decent noise level. 2U systems probably don't have
enough vertical clearance to use PCI cards plugged in the standard
vertical way, but right-angle adapaters can work at a cost in maximum
slot use. That leaves depth as the only variable, and its going to be
from 18 to 24 inches deep because that's how they usually come.

> I want to make a 'luggable' home studio in a 19" rack with a mini PC
> containing a delta 1010lt, a patching panel and maybe a couple of
> blank slots for effects or whatever.

Last time I looked ITX motherboards were limited to 1400 MHz and
DDR266 RAM. That leaves mini-IX motherboards as your basic choice for
small size. IOW maybe 2-4 slots.


> I'm running Cakewalk Pro 9 at present on my desktop and will
transfer
it over.

> Are the mini PC's up to the job, being as they are VIA chipsets (I
> think)?

The ITX systems are all essentially VIA chipsets, but they have the
limitations I mentioned above.

Mini-ATX systems can be Intel or AMD-based.

> Can you get pre-built cases for 19" rack mounts?

Yes.

I find that deep 19" 5U rack is a nice package for a maxi-DAW. While
it's got handles, its not all that luggable.
Anonymous
April 15, 2005 3:49:46 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Frank Vuotto wrote:
> On Thu, 14 Apr 2005 16:02:37 -0700, Kurt Albershardt <kurt@nv.net>
> wrote:
>
>> Wait, I think I found a winner <http://www.avrio.co.uk/ds15050.html&gt;
>
>
> How much of a computer can you get out of a 50W power supply ?


Quite a bit, depending on the design parameters.
Anonymous
April 15, 2005 4:24:52 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Frank Vuotto wrote:
> How much of a computer can you get out of a 50W power supply ?

Well, let's see. My 1.6GHz laptop's running on 90W, but of course the
LCD screen draws a signifiant amount of that.

If you're trying to get quiet and tiny and low-power, laptop-style
technology is probalby the right answer. That doesn't give you the PCI
slot for the Delta... but it would give you Firewire or USB2, and given
how many channels people are successfully putting across those busses...
April 15, 2005 9:18:02 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Thanks for all the replies guys, some good info.
I was hoping I wasn't going to be the first doing this which kinda
makes me think it's a bad idea. Still, I'll persevere and see if I can
come up with a cost effective solution.

Cheers
Bob
April 16, 2005 2:17:38 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <1113492031.501753.21540@l41g2000cwc.googlegroups.com>,
<bob@bfisk.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>
>
>Hi,
>
>Has anyone built a mini PC in a 19" rack?

I've built literally tons of rackmounted PCs, but the
problem is, all the cases are deep racks, not what you
want for audio racks, unless you can deal with really deep
gear, of course.

Maybe if you're handy, you could modify a 4U drawer and turn it into a
PC case.

I've settled for a rack-mounted *shelf* with seatbelts, and the
combination of the Antec Sonata case, Zalman cooling, Samsung
Spinpoint drives, and an ASUS motherboard that has no bridge fan.

Y'all seem to have the luxury of putting your equipment in a separate
room, and don't appreciate the need for a silent PC. But I've got to
have my gear in the same space as my (real) piano, my synths, and my
zero dollar budget. So sometimes this means voice and piano and flute
mikes in the general vicinity of a running PC. Works though. Helps a
lot if you can *underclock* the processor too, and to avoid the fastest
cpu spec. I found that 3.0GHz P4s are much easier to cool quietly than
3.2GHz. Since my priority is noise, the small gain in performance would
not be worthwhile at all.

>I want to make a 'luggable' home studio in a 19" rack with a mini PC
>containing a delta 1010lt, a patching panel and maybe a couple of blank
>slots for effects or whatever.

How about a laptop, on a little shelf attached to your rack? It's a
hell of a lot easier to get a quiet laptop going, believe me.

>Are the mini PC's up to the job, being as they are VIA chipsets (I
>think)?

I hope you're not talking about the MINI-ITX variety. Via-C3 machines
can work, but just barely. a 1Ghz Nehemiah is not in the same league as
a 1Ghz Athlon. Do consider that. On the other hand, this is the best
bet for a low-power, fanless machine. I have a jukebox in my living
room running one, and it is able to record 2 channels at 16/44. But it
can't really play video or even monitor audio while recording.

>Any other advice would be welcome even if it's don't touch 'em with a
>barge pole!!

Another option is a Shuttle barebones. But these still don't qualify as
"quiet", at least not compared to the system I'm running on my keyboard
rig. Antec also has a mini-case for micro-ATX boards, the "Aria", but
I found it rather fussy to work with, and doesn't allow for the Zalman
cooling. Pretty quiet though. I use this one for my work desk (for my
bill-paying day-job.)

If you must have a rack form factor, maybe you should look at what
Carillon offers. I suspect what they call "whisper quiet" is 20dBA,
and I've done better than that (a hard, expensive fight!).

Now, my issues are probably not shared with 99% of you pro-audio guys,
with your budgets, and your ability to remodel your rooms, and all that
stuff, so maybe you have a totally different set of requirements.
Anonymous
April 16, 2005 2:17:39 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

There's also the Antec Minuet Slimline MicroATX (3.8"x17"(depth)x13"5)
250W power supply.

I've built a few systems in this case and they are quiet and roomy
enough for a real heatsink. I've been able to run the CPU and case
(Zalman) fans at 5v with Northwood core P4s and a single Seagate 7200
drive.

The gotcha' is the half height pci requirements but if the card fits
in the case, the mount can often be modified.


Frank /~ http://newmex.com/f10
@/


>
>Another option is a Shuttle barebones. But these still don't qualify as
>"quiet", at least not compared to the system I'm running on my keyboard
>rig. Antec also has a mini-case for micro-ATX boards, the "Aria", but
>I found it rather fussy to work with, and doesn't allow for the Zalman
>cooling. Pretty quiet though. I use this one for my work desk (for my
>bill-paying day-job.)
>
Anonymous
April 16, 2005 11:47:57 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

You might check out:

http://www.logicsupply.com/product_info.php/cPath/29/pr...

This is a fanless unit which looks rack-mountable. The ultra-stripped-down
version is $975, but it's probably not suitable for home studio use. The
upgrades look sensible; the biggest drawback seems to be that it has only
one PCI slot, but if you do things via Firewire that may not be an issue.
They also have one with two PCI slots for just under $2k.

No endorsement -- some of the specs look a little dicey from an audio point
of view -- but worth at least a gander.

Peace,
Paul
!