or Connect
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › Laptop or Desktop?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Laptop or Desktop?

post #1 of 92
Thread Starter 

Hi all!

 

Need your assistance in choosing the right path: I'm replacing my trusty Toshiba laptop for a dedicated music server of some kind. I need to choose between a laptop and a desktop, based upon their inherent ability to stream music through USB into an external DAC.

 

I've being doing this with my do-it-all Toshiba laptop but it is getting older and needs replacement. My idea is to buy another computer solely to perform the music serving duty.  Now, what would be best conceptually, why?

 

I can get plenty more bang for the bug with a desktop in terms of ports, memory, etc, plus it may be less noisy as it overheats less than a constrained laptop. But, since it will be used exclusively for music playing, what are the specs I need to choose from in order to optimize it for this purpose?

 

Would a laptop still be better at this?  Any help would be much appreciated.

 

 

.

post #2 of 92
Thread Starter 

To better define my previous request: I'm replacing my computer (Laptop) and need to buy a better one as a dedicated music server. Whether laptop or desktop, could you please provide me with the right set of specs to play music through my external DAC?

 

There's plenty of info out there, but I need to decide this week, so it won't be easy to go through all the info (many times contradictory) out there. I know you guys are the best at using this stuff, so I'm simply asking for your thoughts on this.

 

Thanks for your assistance! 


Edited by Musica Amantem - 3/14/14 at 8:30am
post #3 of 92
Thread Starter 

Ok, I'm leaning toward a desktop, with the following specs:

 

1. Win 7 64 Bits

2. 8 Gb RAM

3. 8 Gb Smart Cache (L2, L3)

4. 2 Tb internal HDD

5. Intel i7 Processor (3.0 Ghz)

6. 2 USB ports 3.0 class and 3 USB ports 2.0 class

 

The only reason to go with a strong processor is the built-in L3 cache which comes at higher levels only with the higher performing processors in Intel.(i.e., an i5 would only bring 6 Mb of smart cache).

 

Please let me know if this makes sense for a dedicated music playing computer which would be my transport over an External USB DAC.  Thanks!


Edited by Musica Amantem - 3/14/14 at 12:02pm
post #4 of 92

Just get a laptop...  :popcorn:

post #5 of 92

i use a notebook, more like a tablet hybrid. its an acer w501. it doesnt have a moving parts inside in which theoretically will not introduce any noise to the audio signal path. i connect it to the external sdd docking of 128gb fr my music collection (again with the idea of no moving parts). this will then go to ap-1 with pp then feed my dac.

 

i did not compare this system to the notebook/desktop with moving parts (fans/hdd) so I cannot comment if my setup is better or not. i did it just for the peace of mind following the so called expert advise.....if i see all of the high end music server, very few of it contain moving parts, if there's any usually only hdd.

post #6 of 92

If all you're going to be doing is STRICTLY music, then no need to go overboard with 8GB ram, i7 etc. Build a cheap PC with win XP or linux, 2GB ram, a cheap intel core2duo, all SSD drives (minimum noise) find a case where the PSU is going to be a ways away from the motherboard (preferably separated by a pane to isolate it as much as possible), watercool it so you have as minimal fan noise as possible (and strictly for that reason, so look into an EXTERNAL water cooler so that whatever noise is outside the case) and remove all other fans from the case. Also buy a fanless PSU.


Edited by elmoe - 3/14/14 at 12:51pm
post #7 of 92

that system would cost him at least usd7-800 or even 1k with water cooling,etc. not to mention the size. acer w510 can be had for $400-ish over the internet and around $500 with keyboard docking. Add 256gb and docking ones probably end up with $800. Much more nicer ,compact and elegant solution

post #8 of 92
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by forbigger View Post
 

i use a notebook, more like a tablet hybrid. its an acer w501. it doesnt have a moving parts inside in which theoretically will not introduce any noise to the audio signal path. i connect it to the external sdd docking of 128gb fr my music collection (again with the idea of no moving parts). this will then go to ap-1 with pp then feed my dac.

 

i did not compare this system to the notebook/desktop with moving parts (fans/hdd) so I cannot comment if my setup is better or not. i did it just for the peace of mind following the so called expert advise.....if i see all of the high end music server, very few of it contain moving parts, if there's any usually only hdd.

My collection is about 1.25 Tb (mostly flac and wav files), so I can't put it in SSD (too expensive). What I do now is batch load whatever fits in my laptop's HDD from an external 1.5 Tb HDD. The fan in the laptop works almost all the time, though.

 

Since I'm replacing this laptop (and I don't want to cool the computer with a heat exchanger) I thought a big desktop would run cooler (less fanning).

 

Some people suggest the Mac Mini  What are the advantages?  or Minimum acceptable specs for good transport duties?


Edited by Musica Amantem - 3/14/14 at 1:44pm
post #9 of 92

i suspect hdd is not so much of culprit introducing noises to the signal path. mac mini is another solution mainly because it can run amarra and bunch of other player software that is supposedly to increase sq. lots of people swear by it. i personally havent tried or audience it. you could however get say 6 ssd of 256gb and break your collection into separate volumes. so whenever you want to listen to a specific volumes just plug the ssd into the docking. its relatively dirt cheap for 256 ssd now. i think the last time i saw it at amazon its like $130-150, this is provided you live in US

 

edit : any latest generation atom or i3 is sufficient for a PC based transport. for ram its min required for the O/S. ie 2gb fr w8


Edited by forbigger - 3/14/14 at 1:53pm
post #10 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by forbigger View Post
 

that system would cost him at least usd7-800 or even 1k with water cooling,etc. not to mention the size. acer w510 can be had for $400-ish over the internet and around $500 with keyboard docking. Add 256gb and docking ones probably end up with $800. Much more nicer ,compact and elegant solution

No, it wouldn't. It would cost him much less than 800usd.

 

core2duo + 2gb ram + cheap case + fanless psu you can find all this for ~300usd, since he has 1.25tb no need to even look at SSDs, buy a 2tb HDD and be done with it, that's 350usd, for watercooling you don't need anything efficient, you're not going to overclock, a cheap external system will run you about 50 bucks, thats 400 total.


Edited by elmoe - 3/14/14 at 1:57pm
post #11 of 92

Case in point:

 

CPU+motherboard+ram 130usd: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Asus-P5Q-Pro-Motherboard-with-Intel-E8400-Core-2-Duo-3-0GHz-2GB-of-PC2-Memory-/171252041608?pt=US_Motherboard_CPU_Combos&hash=item27df6ac788

 

Fanless PSU 120usd: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151097

 

Cheap case 25usd: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811233113

 

2TB HDD 90usd: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822236404

 

Fanless CPU cooler 65usd: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835118141

 

grand total: 430usd and that's just a quick search, if you take your time and buy everything used or look for deals I'm sure you can build something for ~300usd easily.

 

And the best thing is you don't even need to look at it - install foobar with a remote plugin accessible through bluetooth or wifi, and use your smartphone to control everything remotely, you don't even need a screen after you've installed everything :D 


Edited by elmoe - 3/14/14 at 2:24pm
post #12 of 92

hands down the best bang for your buck would be desktop for just music

 

desktop:

 

a hard drive with many Tb

easily upgradable sound card

 

I'm speaking in terms where you are building a simple computer that doesn't require crazy quad sli GTX titans and a I7 4970k

 

Since its only for music you can cut costs on useless things like the cpu and gpu for your computer and find one with specs enough to open windows and a music player.

 

Laptop:

You can bring it around

You can't cut costs because its all prebuilt

 

Desktop is 100% future proof since the entire motherboard can be taken out for the next generations

 

Laptop, you are stuck with what you get but you gain portability

 

 laptop for 1k can be had on a desktop with same specs for 500

 

 

edit: this is all digressing from the main topic, water cooling for a desktop thats for just music l0l. Laptop and desktop do the same thing. Do you ask someone if a samsung galaxy note is better than a galaxy s3 for talking overseas? Get desktop if you want to save money, if money isnt an issue, get laptop for portability.


Edited by smallmany - 3/14/14 at 2:17pm
post #13 of 92

He won't need a soundcard if he has a USB DAC.

post #14 of 92

Ok than since he has a DAC than upgrades from a desktop is moot for OP . so the only reason you would get a desktop is to save money, or a laptop for mobility.

 

Now, does the OP prefer more money in his pocket or is he willing to sacrifice that for portability

 

 

Edit: You can get external harddrive for the laptop for more space, look for a good sale since you are not in a rush to cram music in it.

ram/cpu/gpu will have nothing to do with your music time unless you are planning on acturally using it while listening to music, i.e. multiple things open will slow your computer down without sufficient specs

 

There are laptop fans to cool your laptop to make it not overheat etc etc


Edited by smallmany - 3/14/14 at 2:27pm
post #15 of 92

And the point of watercooling is just to avoid fan noise, not for performance. It's just quieter. But instead I just put a fanless cooler, cheaper than watercooling and less annoying to install also.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Computer Audio
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › Laptop or Desktop?