Trying to make a music server out of a Dell PE1850 - diyAudio
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Old 19th October 2013, 11:31 PM   #1
djn is offline djn  United States
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Default Trying to make a music server out of a Dell PE1850

I picked up a Dell Power Edge 1850 server(thanks Frank) to use as a music server. Looking forward to getting it into my system. the specs are; 2x 3.0Ghz Xeons, 4 GB of Ram, Server 2003 standard, dual power supplies, 2 146GB drives in raid1. I'll hook up my 1.5TB full of music to it and run it wireless to my computer and my wifes computer then hard wire it to my main system. I am also trading in my phone for the new Galaxy Note 3 and will use that when at my main system for remote desktop. Does all this sound do-able? I, for the most part, know how to turn a computer on and off so this should be a real experience. More to come

It does not have a sound card or a wireless adapter. I was thinking of getting a USB sound card and USB wireless adapter. Is that the best way to go?
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Old 19th October 2013, 11:51 PM   #2
rongon is offline rongon  United States
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Since you're running a server with Xeon cpu's, and running Windows Server 2003, get prepared for a lot of hardware not running well on it. Many of the better USB sound cards won't work well on a Xeon-based PC. Remember that a server is optimized for dishing out data to lots of client computers accessing it over a (presumably Ethernet) network. I've seen some USB sound cards work in that kind of a setup, but with glitches in the audio due to interruptions in data flow to the motherboard USB (bus).

That said, it might work with a USB DAC or sound card. The only way to know for sure is to try it and see.

Does this PC's motherboard have PCI or PCI-e slots?

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Old 19th October 2013, 11:58 PM   #3
djn is offline djn  United States
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I was thinking about a USB DAC. I'll see how it goes but it will only be used as my music server and nothing else so I don't know if there will still be interuptions. I do know know what those slots look like, but the data sheet (see below) says it has two of them.


http://www.dell.com/downloads/global...1850_specs.pdf
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Old 20th October 2013, 12:22 AM   #4
rongon is offline rongon  United States
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It looks like bad news. For expansion slots, it says:

"Two total: two PCI-X slots (1 x 64-bit/133MHz and 1 x 64-bit/100MHz)
or two PCI Express™ slots (1 x 4 lane and 1 x 8 lane)"

Translation: It looks like it has two slots that will accept a PCIe (PCI Express) sound card. The PCI-X slots are for video cards, afaik.

You should be able to add a PCIe sound card to it, using its PCI Express ports.

I did a search for "USB" in the specsheet and came up with... 0 of 0.
It does not have USB. You cannot connect USB devices (USB DAC, external sound card, thumb drives, external hard drives) to this PC unless you add a PCIe card with USB ports.

The only hard drive interface is:
"Embedded single channel Ultra320 SCSI"

Translation: It can't accept SATA hard drives (the ones you'll find for cheap at your local Best Buy or Micro Center). It also can't accept the old PATA (IDE or ATA) drives that were so common only five years ago.

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Last edited by rongon; 20th October 2013 at 12:25 AM.
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Old 20th October 2013, 12:38 AM   #5
djn is offline djn  United States
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It does have 4 USB ports. 2 on the front and 2 on the back. They must have been added later.
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Old 20th October 2013, 02:08 AM   #6
alextab is offline alextab  United States
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Hmm, guess I am losing my mind because I was sure I replied earlier...

Anyway, the server you have does not sound that well suited for this application to be honest. I don't know if you have powered it up yet but it is quite a loud machine since it is designed to be racked in a server room. Its is an older design when power consumption was not as much of a consideration so your electrical running costs might be a bit much.

That said, as long as you have drivers for the hardware you plan on using it seems like it would work.

PCI-x is found on servers and provide a high bandwidth bus. I don't believe there are any PCI-x video cards.
PCI-X - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

What music server software were you planning on running?
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Old 20th October 2013, 03:39 AM   #7
djn is offline djn  United States
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I downloaded PLEX today but did not have time to mess with it yet.
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Old 20th October 2013, 03:56 AM   #8
alextab is offline alextab  United States
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Have you powered up the server and is it something you can live with? And I ask because I think a low-power small form factor PC would make a lot more sense.

We have a power edge 1850 (decommissioned) here at work and I can't imagine wanting it in my home.
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Old 20th October 2013, 04:39 AM   #9
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Yeah, not only is it likely to be loud, and hot, but it's certainly major overkill for any rational music server. My ancient single-core AMD pc running Ubuntu and MPD runs at 5% load, and it's a music server and crossover, too.
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Old 20th October 2013, 04:40 AM   #10
djn is offline djn  United States
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It will be mounted in the laundry room so the noise it makes won't be a problem
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