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JIMV
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Ok, the dumb 'PC as server' questions

I am considering trying to use a netbook as source...The questions:

1. Is anyone aware of a netbook that has a CD or DVD tray?
2. is it possible to connect a netbook to a DAC without using an USB port (ie, does the thing have a digital out anywhere?)
3. does anyone know of a netbook with decent hard drive capacity?

I want to run a netbook via a digital out to a basic benchmark DAC...(no usb port)

4. Is this possible...

I do not desire to spend a fortune on this experiment. All I want to buy is the netbook....

andy19191
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Re: Ok, the dumb 'PC as server' questions

> 1. Is anyone aware of a netbook that has a CD or DVD tray?

I think that would stop it being a netbook. You would have to call it something else like a laptop.

> 2. is it possible to connect a netbook to a DAC without using an USB port (ie,
> does the thing have a digital out anywhere?)

Probably but it depends what ports the netbook possesses.

> 3. does anyone know of a netbook with decent hard drive capacity?

How big is decent? You can always plug in as much you want externally.

> I do not desire to spend a fortune on this experiment. All I want to buy is
> the netbook....

The question has to be asked: a netbook does not seem to be a solution to your requirements so why do you want to buy a netbook?

RGibran
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Re: Ok, the dumb 'PC as server' questions

For the sake of experiment you could buy a hundred dollar sound card with SPDIF for your current PC, otherwise gotta go with Andy and question netbook as a first choice?

mrlowry
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Re: Ok, the dumb 'PC as server' questions

Apple laptops have a optical digital out. They start at about $999.

JoeE SP9
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Re: Ok, the dumb 'PC as server' questions


Quote:
Apple laptops have a optical digital out. They start at about $999.

Yeah, but a Netbook is less than $300. I suggest a 1 or 2 year old Laptop. They go for about the same as a new Netbook.

mrlowry
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Re: Ok, the dumb 'PC as server' questions

The original poster mentioned that he wanted to avoid using USB + a converter box. I haven't seen any PC-based laptops with a digital out. That doesn't mean they don't exist. But it does mean they are by no means common.

USB also can introduce quite a bit of jitter so the DAC should have some facilities specifically designed to reduce the jitter or a different communication method such as the asynchronous mode used by the new Ayre DAC or the products from Wavelength.

It should also be mentioned that it's important that the computer NOT use a Windows operating system before Vista because they won't be bit accurate. Essentially XP and earlier systems re-sample everything to 48 kHz using a pretty bad algorithm that can substantially affect sound quality.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not some kind of Apple evangelist. In fact I've never owned one of their computers. But the Apple laptops, while expensive would allow one to use whatever DAC they already had without worrying about the need for an asynchronous mode USB DAC AND they obviously wouldn't use an XP or older operating system so no need to worry about the horrible re-sampling. The money saved by not having to buy a new DAC might easily be worth the more expensive computer.

JIMV
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Re: Ok, the dumb 'PC as server' questions


Quote:
The question has to be asked: a netbook does not seem to be a solution to your requirements so why do you want to buy a netbook?

Netbook...$2-4 hundred..laptop, crammed with extra and unneeded software, a good bit more.

andy19191
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Re: Ok, the dumb 'PC as server' questions

Hmmm - pass.

JoeE SP9
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Re: Ok, the dumb 'PC as server' questions

ASIO is the way to get around the re sampling that Windows operating systems apply. I have a version for Winamp and my Creative X-Fi Elite Pro came with an ASIO applet as part of its software. Foobar has one also.

RGibran
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Re: Ok, the dumb 'PC as server' questions

Always nice to have folks who actually do computer audio share their experience and expertice.

ncdrawl
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Re: Ok, the dumb 'PC as server' questions


Quote:
ASIO is the way to get around the re sampling that Windows operating systems apply. I have a version for Winamp and my Creative X-Fi Elite Pro came with an ASIO applet as part of its software. Foobar has one also.

and actually, on vista based systems, the WASAPI(foobar) output is the way to go.

dbowker
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Re: Ok, the dumb 'PC as server' questions

I would not bother getting a netbook for this application. You need more drive space, RAM and processor to do it right. You can a very small but packed laptop for around $600 and it will last you a lot longer than the netbook would.

I have not seen a "digital out" myself, even from sound cards. It's too vague for a PC maker to think about. USB -Universal Serial Bus (emphasis on Universal), while having problems from an audiophile perspective, is that way because everyone, anywhere knows the spec. and it works everywhere. Few manufacturers want to get into anything exotic and risk the operating system not being able to run it. I thought a number of new products address the USB jitter issue though- no?

JIMV
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Re: Ok, the dumb 'PC as server' questions


Quote:
You can a very small but packed laptop for around $600 and it will last you a lot longer than the netbook would.

Do you have a suggestion for that $600 very small laptop that would fit the Bill? A link would be better...

dbowker
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Re: Ok, the dumb 'PC as server' questions

Actually how about $499? This one is a solid build with a 320GB hard drive, 3GB of RAM and is smallish, which I assume was a plus so it doesn't take up too much space as an additional device.

HP Laptop at Best Buy

RGibran
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Re: Ok, the dumb 'PC as server' questions

Something to consider...

Many if not most soundcards (hardware) resample the signal, so that no matter how you configure the operating system (software)you still end up with a less than ideal output to the DAC. So... with internal laptop soundcards you need to research if they will output bit perfect to the spdif out.

dbowker
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Re: Ok, the dumb 'PC as server' questions


Quote:
Something to consider...

Many if not most soundcards (hardware) resample the signal, so that no matter how you configure the operating system (software)you still end up with a less than ideal output to the DAC. So... with internal laptop soundcards you need to research if they will output bit perfect to the spdif out.

All true except that virtually no consumer cards even have spdif out (for better or for worse). Pretty much it's going to be USB.

RGibran
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Re: Ok, the dumb 'PC as server' questions

Would seem to be more than a few PC laptops with coax or optical spdif support on the headphone jack via a connection adapter. Strange...

A used Squeezebox Classic could probably be had for a couple hundred...solves a host of problems.

JoeE SP9
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Re: Ok, the dumb 'PC as server' questions

Sorry, my X-Fi Pro has digital out and optical out.

JIMV
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Re: Ok, the dumb 'PC as server' questions


Quote:
Actually how about $499? This one is a solid build with a 320GB hard drive, 3GB of RAM and is smallish, which I assume was a plus so it doesn't take up too much space as an additional device.

HP Laptop at Best Buy

The link does not work...I have found HP to be a little fast and loose with their warranty repairs (Once had to throw away a desktop less than a year old as HP wouldn't/couldn't fix it)Still, I would like to check out the machine..

JIMV
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Re: Ok, the dumb 'PC as server' questions

Joe, that looks like a desktop solution, not a laptop one.

dbowker
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Re: Ok, the dumb 'PC as server' questions

Bummer- go to BestBuy.com and search the SKU:

HP - Laptop with Intel

JIMV
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Re: Ok, the dumb 'PC as server' questions

thanks...

JoeE SP9
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Re: Ok, the dumb 'PC as server' questions


Quote:
Joe, that looks like a desktop solution, not a laptop one.

True, that was a reply to DBowker.

As someone who just retired from being a network engineer (Sep) I would not now nor ever recommend an HP computer. In the business they are known as "Hewlett Crapperd". Their support is so poor as to border on nonexistent.

JIMV
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Re: Ok, the dumb 'PC as server' questions

Joe, my HP story...In July 2006 I bought a desktop from Best Buy. It began to have problems within the first 30 days. By August the DVD drive did not work, every fix their phone service provided made the problem worse. By Sept and after perhaps 20 hours on the phone, I paid for an HP tech to come to my home and fix it. He advised the hard drive was shot..they mailed me a new one and I now had a black screen. The same tech said the thing was dead and would never work. HP had me ship it to them for repair. 3 weeks later I get it back 'good as new'...for about 3 days when it crashed again...black screen, no boot up at all. I again called HP, they again wanted the machine back for 'repair'..by now I was loudly demanding a new machine and HP was just as loudly saying 'no way'...I got the machine back in january..I took it to a local repair facility for a checkup...it crashed on their bench. In Feb I shipped it to my father as a cache of spare parts. He plugged it in and it burst into flames, ending the saga....

In short, HP warranty service is crap.

Now my HP printer story. Last summer I wanted a wireless printer. I called HP for a recommendation. I bought what they recommended and the device needed to make it wireless. It didn't work so I spent 3 hours on the phone reconfiguring everything till it did...OK, after 3 months it again refused to function. I called tech support again and they not only could not fix it, but advised the printer was not wireless compatible and could never be, despite their initial recommendation and its working wireless for 3 months. That printer is in a box in my garage...I now own Lexmark.

dbowker
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Re: Ok, the dumb 'PC as server' questions

Well- just to clarify- I really don't care what "brand" you like or not- The HP I sited was really just the spec.s. I am certain you could get the same thing in another brand. I've had good luck with a Toshiba laptop, and have many friends with Dell laptops and work stations.

I still say all the big companies have way sub-par service. Luckily I can solve most issues myself but when it counts (like for my 3D animation work) I get it custom built by guys who stand by it no questions asked.

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