need upgrade ideas for dedicated roon server

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
For a cheap fanless modern server computer consider repurposing a newer thin client style of computer, especially if you are going to maintain your music files on an outboard hard drive. I have played around with several different ones and really like the Dell/Wyse units with Quad core processors. They work well with Linux. I like the 5020,7020 and 5060 models. They all can support 16 GB of Ram. I have been able to stuff laptop SSD units into the 5020 and the 7020 boxes. I haven't tried to put one in the 5060 yet. These computers and the similar products from HP can be easily found on eBay.
So something like the HP EliteDesk that @airdronian just used to replace his aging Mac mini running an Audirvana server then?
 

airdronian

Radar Member
Blame accepted. There's a video I found which touches on the hdd swap for a 3668:

Sometimes pics make things easier of you're not familiar. The intro shows opening the case, but goes off into a power supply replacement. At about 9:05 he shows how to remove the hdd, then it's just a matter of connecting the ssd with the sata and power cable. and running the Ubuntu installer from a usb drive or off a dvd that you can burn the installer on to.

One thing is the 2.5" ssd would need an adapter to fit the drive bay; if you don't mind a bit of a compromise you can just use some double sided tape to fix it in place. The ssd has no moving parts, so it does not really vibrate on it's own.

Once the new drive is in place, the Ubuntu installer should find the disk without any trouble, and should be fairly easy to follow the steps. You may get to a part in the installation where it asks if you want Ubuntu to use all the disk - answer yes, this is the easiest way to do it. I haven't run Ubuntu in a long time. One thing is certain, installing Linux distributions like Ubuntu or Mint these days is a piece of cake.
 

Thermionics

Post Whore In Training
So if the Dell had useful life left in it, and already has updates onboard such as 16GB of RAM, maybe you'd just take that to the nth degree and get rid of shitty Windows...

I hate Windows
Hey now, some of us work for Microsoft (not in the Windows division, but still).
 

billfort

Administrator
Staff member
My dedicated music machine uses Windows 10 - it's a high-horsepower (or at least it was when I built it) box aimed primarily at running Roon server and HQPlayer for filtering/upsampling. It only does that (and some DSD recording with Korg's Audiogate), was purpose built for it and with a little over-clocking, can quite nicely get me to my target DSD256 output using the newer HQP ASDM7EC modulator. The sound is sublime to my ear feeding my AKM chipped DAC from several sources and it's trouble free, no fuss, no muss - it just works, and has for a few years now.

But that's a whole other story.

On a very old PC, I now use Linux Mint 20 for all other computer related stuff, but it plays no role in playing music, so I can't really help with running Roon on something like this. But, have I ever become a huge fan of Linux Mint running on an small/cheap SSD! This box is probably 10yrs old (AMD Phenom 955, Radeon HD6850 graphics, Asus MB with 8GB ram), was built on a budget and suffered several generations of Windows with who knows what other software installed/removed; it had become pretty much useless.

Before junking it, I put a $40 120Gb Samsung SSD in it as the primary drive and did a clean install of Linux Mint off an image on a USB jump drive (I was NOT going to buy another copy of Windows) - and wow! Totally transformed the thing and it's now the best PC in the house. It's fast, reliable, and the Mint 'Cinnamon' desktop gives ex-Windows users a pretty good level of comfort using it - the whole family wants to use this thing instead of whatever Windows/Apple/Android lumps they have to chose from. Software can be a challenge and sometimes a new learning experience, but aside from a good CAD application and some games the kids would like to have, I've found everything I need for it.

Roon on Linux however, I've not considered, as I view Roon as a package deal with HQPlayer (and Audiogate on the side) - and as I mentioned, I'm already in a very happy place with those on that Windows music box. I'll think about it, but then just start it up, select a rip, DSD vinyl recording, maybe an Internet radio FLAC stream and listen trouble-free for hours on end - I forget all about 'what might be' if I used Linux. :)
 

Thermionics

Post Whore In Training
A few thoughts.

My understanding is that the old hard drive with the Windows 10 on it will not automatically boot on another computer because the digital license is maintained in the BIOS of the original computer. I have never been able to reinstall Windows 10 after converting the computer to Linux (non dual boot).
On OEM machines, they may have a recovery partition which contains the install ISO + PKID. You should be able to recover the license using the following method: How To Recover Original Windows 10 License From BIOS/UEFI? – TheTechWin (wordpress.com)

Alternately, if you buy a Samsung SSD (assuming you are upgrading from moving iron), they have a migration toolkit (Samsung Data Migration) which will clone your original drive.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Hey now, some of us work for Microsoft (not in the Windows division, but still).
Ha, I guess I should have added that I do still consider Windows a very valuable business tool, but there I've got crack IT department support that fixes all issues, nearly all of which are completely transparent to me to the extent I don't even hear about it or experience any problems.

But for home use or in the case of the OP's wish to eliminate any unnecessary processes, as well as the constant updates that occur with Windows 10... I can't stand Windows and would much rather use either macOS or Linux.

I should also reiterate that I do not use Roon, I'm not a subscriber, so if there is any real benefit to running a Roon Core on Linux as opposed to Windows, I have no first hand knowledge or experience with it, other than to say the issue the OP described where his server is consistently offline due to yet another Windows 10 update automatically shutting things down, that won't happen with Linux, nor should Ubuntu require any process killing detective work as with Fidelizer on Windows etc...

But I've seen what the OP is describing with the constant Windows 10 updates killing the server, my sister has the same issue with a JRiver server that she uses to stream to a Naim Mu-so Cube, and my 78 year old technology challenged mother with her iTunes/AirPlay setup.

Both are meant to run 24/7 on always on Windows laptops, so that whenever they wish to listen to music they can just pick up their iPad and use a remote app to access their server. Except when those applications have been killed by yet another Windows update that ran who knows when, and the app can't find the server because it's not actually running.

I've tried to explain to both of them what is happening and how all they need to do is restart JRiver and iTunes (actually now Apple Music) respectively, and they are right back in business, but they just can't seem to get it down and instead they call me to say "AGAIN the music isn't working", very frustrating, especially during the pandemic where I couldn't just take a ride over to their house for a visit and quick fix, as neither one of them lives more than 10 minutes from me.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
clone your original drive
That was more what I was thinking, along with the notion that if the OP installed Linux and absolutely hated it for some reason, he could easily just reinstall his old HDD and be right back in business with that Windows instance in the machine it originally came from, which ain't gonna happen if you nuke it.
 

Thermionics

Post Whore In Training
Ha, I guess I should have added that I do still consider Windows a very valuable business tool, but there I've got crack IT department support that fixes all issues, nearly all of which are completely transparent to me to the extent I don't even hear about it or experience any problems.

But for home use or in the case of the OP's wish to eliminate any unnecessary processes, as well as the constant updates that occur with Windows 10... I can't stand Windows and would much rather use either macOS or Linux.

I should also reiterate that I do not use Roon, I'm not a subscriber, so if there is any real benefit to running a Roon Core on Linux as opposed to Windows, I have no first hand knowledge or experience with it, other than to say the issue the OP described where his server is consistently offline due to yet another Windows 10 update automatically shutting things down, that won't happen with Linux, nor should Ubuntu require any process killing detective work as with Fidelizer on Windows etc...

But I've seen what the OP is describing with the constant Windows 10 updates killing the server, my sister has the same issue with a JRiver server that she uses to stream to a Naim Mu-so Cube, and my 78 year old technology challenged mother with her iTunes/AirPlay setup.

Both are meant to run 24/7 on an always on Windows laptop, so that whenever they wish to listen to music they can just pick up their iPad and use a remote app to access the server. Except when those applications have been killed by yet another Windows update that ran who knows when, and the app can't find the server because it's not actually running. I've tried to explain to both of them what is happening and how all they need to do is restart JRiver and iTunes (actually now Apple Music) respectively and they are right back in business, but they just can't seem to get it down and instead they call me to say "AGAIN the music isn't working", very frustrating, especially during the pandemic where I couldn't just take a ride over to their house for a visit and quick fix, as neither one of them lives more than 10 minutes from me.
It's those 'constant updates that occur with Windows 10' that are why it has gone from a virus & exploit-ridden OS to something that is actually fairly secure.

And nobody should ever be using iTunes on Windows - that was like a Khan Noonien Singh "From Hell's heart I stab at thee!" act from Steve Jobs at Bill Gates.

1620184195685.png
 

Thermionics

Post Whore In Training
I'll be the first to admit that if I didn't have a (legitimate) copy of Windows Server 2016 Essentials, I'd be less inclined to run LMS on my Atom server. It does tend to have a longer duration between updates, mostly because you don't have a bunch of additional built-in applications running.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
I'll be the first to admit that if I didn't have a (legitimate) copy of Windows Server 2016 Essentials, I'd be less inclined to run LMS on my Atom server. It does tend to have a longer duration between updates, mostly because you don't have a bunch of additional built-in applications running.
Yes thats a different situation and much more conducive to running a music server uninterrupted.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Before junking it, I put a $40 120Gb Samsung SSD in it as the primary drive and did a clean install of Linux Mint off an image on a USB jump drive (I was NOT going to buy another copy of Windows) - and wow! Totally transformed the thing and it's now the best PC in the house. It's fast, reliable, and the Mint 'Cinnamon' desktop gives ex-Windows users a pretty good level of comfort using it
I did exactly the same with a nearly as old HP EliteBook 8460p laptop, and it really does run everything with instant access and responsiveness, the fastest computer in the house despite having a 10 year old CPU design. The only other update I did there was install 8GB of RAM, the machine originally had 4GB and though Mint will work just fine with even 2GB of RAM, I figured if I was installing an SSD I might as well go the whole 9 yards.

I've shown friends how good that machine is and they all sort of had a bell go off in their head that whenever their current machine starts to annoy them to no end, they will dump their crippled Windows install and refurb the machine with an SSD and Linux.

It's also fair to note that the clean install aspect is no small part of this, and you can get many of these same benefits with a clean Windows install too, just don't expect it to stay too clean for very long.

I agree they've done a fantastic job with the Cinnamon desktop, to the extent this kind of transition is no longer a big deal adjustment at all anymore, not too steep a learning curve.
 

rogerfederer

Junior Member
stuck on a cle most of today. thinking i should use the smaller form factor PC in the garage as the guinea pig. nothing on that HD i need to keep. will dig it out and see what is in there. will also check my inspiron; i have a sneaking suspicion i didn't order the SSD.
thanks for all the great ideas!
 

rogerfederer

Junior Member
Here is the guinea pig PC
Looks like I pilfered the ram from it
Don't know where that ram went; i don't have anything that fits in my stash

UPDATE: from my order info "Gateway SX2865-UR11P Pentium Dual-Core G630 2.7GHz 4GB 500GB DVD RW DL W7HP"
 

Attachments

  • image.jpg
    image.jpg
    338 KB · Views: 5
  • image.jpg
    image.jpg
    509.5 KB · Views: 5
  • image.jpg
    image.jpg
    238 KB · Views: 4
  • image.jpg
    image.jpg
    747.1 KB · Views: 5
Last edited:

rogerfederer

Junior Member
Never mind
Found the ram

UPDATE: found another ram slot under the DVD drive; so could put the PNY 8gb in that slot
 

Attachments

  • image.jpg
    image.jpg
    452.3 KB · Views: 3
  • image.jpg
    image.jpg
    291.2 KB · Views: 3
Last edited:

JP

Junior Member
Roon appears to have introduced a memory leak in the linux release back in Oct '20. It'll be less problematic on a system with more RAM (I run things a bit skinny - professional habit, and all my back-end instances are virtual).

gkfagOHzEIWtxOcX.png
 

rogerfederer

Junior Member
Here is a look inside the inspiron
Not sure which is the HD…
Can anyone tell?
 

Attachments

  • image.jpg
    image.jpg
    481.9 KB · Views: 6

rogerfederer

Junior Member
The HD is located to the left of the fan in the picture. The cable with the red black and yellow wires is the cable for the HD. It looks as if you have a solid state drive in there now
hey, thanks!
so i could go ahead with that machine or the gateway. i like the idea of using the gateway and seeing if it meets the need. how small a SDD can i get away with to run some version of linux plus roon? (fwiw, would likely have 16gb ram.)
 
Top