Building a pc, buying a mac or NAS, wait, read this painful story

I just have to share this with you all, it has been a painful week. (in the wallet)

For well over a year now I have been building a PC media center, researching and testing part after part, thank god I have a very good friend that runs a computer store and is into audio.

I started out with an AMD dual core system because they said “that’s all you should need” well I couldn’t even watch a movie without it skipping so in went an AMD Quad core, still crap. So in went an Intel i5 and all was good. But the big difference was the improved sound quality, the mission started. I did try it all, Win 7, Win 8, Win 8.1, jriver, EMM, even the case fans were ran from an external controller and power supply (never needed them) and so on, I won’t get into everything that I tried it would just take far too long to type. the final rig was Intel i7 LGA 2011, Asus Rampage lV gene, 32g of ram, corsair i1200w power supply, windows 8, EMM and flac loaded on ssds, with an ac12 hanging off the back, this went into a network switch into the PWD, I’m feeling a little insane just typing this, or maybe a few fries short of a happy meal but the mission was completed, the computer sounded far better than the cd player.

Trust me it’s going to get interesting so hang in there. I picked up a synology DS213+ thinking I would load my music on it and in the summer add some movies to it for the trailer. Well winter hit so back in the house it went. I have wanted to try this minim server for a while now so here was the chance. Loaded it up with a fresh install of DSM and only installed minim server. Did it sound good? Yes, better than the computer? No. I was finally done no more testing just enjoy. It was Sunday and snowing again, a little board at the time. There was a spare ssd sitting on the corner of the desk, hmmm I say, never tried that in the synology. In it went, reinstalled dsm, minim server and some flac. How did it sound?


Pc media center

Ac12 1m

I’m not kidding, this thing killed, destroyed and ate the pc in every way!

My friend came over for lunch today, his jaw dropped he could not believe the difference between them.

Just some of his comments,

The sound stage is absolutely incredible

It’s like you took a blanket off the speakers

It was like Nora Jones was in the room and singing to me

And a bunch of swear words directed at me because now he needs a pwd and a synology nas.

I just had to share my pain and maybe save some of you a little. If you’re going to try this find a store with a good return policy just in case your results aren’t the same. The store I deal with has 7 day full refund policy.

Have a good weekend


Welcome, Sleask!

This is indeed quite a story. As the Head-Fiers say, Sorry for your wallet.

Wow. So the key here was the SSD in the NAS. Anyone else have this experience?

Thanks elk, I have been here for a while, I’m more of a reader than a poster, but this was so big I had to.

I should also add the nas is plugged into the p5 with the dac and amp.

also my buddy gave me a pcie ssd to try, hoping it might save the media center, but no luck. it did sound a bit better that the other ssds but the heat it gave off jumped the running temp 15c, so not an option.

Lurkers are also welcome! :slight_smile:

cheers, it was just safer not to post my findings during the build, things changed weekly at times , so if someone was following and trying any of my ideas I’m sure they would have hunted me down.

As an elk, I strongly discourage hunting on this forum.

As an elk, I strongly discourage hunting on this forum.


Wow. So the key here was the SSD in the NAS. Anyone else have this experience?

I personally think the Linux OS has some advantages in SQ over Mac or Windows. Software or hardware can be a bottleneck. With software, minimal is the key.

Hello all I follow the thread but get lost with the nas. I understand about the SSD. I have that but with USB ext drive I feel it sound better as well and I also have a CPU with SSD on c:drive and if I load music on it I can swear it is better. But the nas thing directly into the Pwd bridge I need some help with understanding.

Help please

In this comparison Sleask is comparing a dedicated computer media server, streaming via a router to the bridge, to a network attached storage device (NAS), which is also a computer, streaming to the bridge. The difference between a NAS and a USB external drive is that a NAS needs a CPU to serve files on network. A NAS is best thought of as a headless computer in this instance.

Thanks but I understand this as I have nas servers in my office. What I did not know was how to serve the music the network bridge. If a CPU is needed I completely understand. However if you need no CPU and the Pwd with bridge can select and play. Help me !!!

@sleask - Hi sleask, can you compare with a helium filled drive and report back?

sorry about your wallet!

@stereophilus This is one of the best, most clear explanations I have seen.

@alrainbow Sleask's NAS has software installed on it which sends the files to the PWD: MinimServer Thus, his NAS is doing the job of a PC.

Ok cool but SSD are limited in read writes so even if in raid not cool long term . So nas about three, each 500 gig drive is 500 so. About 1500 hundred for 1terra storage . Well I have an SSD in my audio CPU and I can say I hear a difference in the sound is file are on the c drive . Wow this tuff is crazy. It just doe sent stop. But the concept is cool if it really that much better. Thanks all for the help for a nobe …

@alrainbow I think you may be confusing the distinction between a NAS and a USB drive.

A NAS contains a CPU and runs an OS. The important thing is the pathway for the files served. When you use a NAS to serve to the bridge the files are sent directly from the NAS to the bridge by the CPU of the NAS. Conversely if you attach a USB drive (a USB drive is not a NAS) anywhere else on your network (eg router, existing CPU, printer) the files must be sent to a server CPU, then served by that CPU to the bridge. You cannot (unless you are @alekz) serve files directly from a USB drive to the bridge.

Does that help?

@elk thanks, high praise coming from you! :)>-

Sleask, thanks a lot for posting your experience! Very interesting! Do you mind trying to set priority of your media server processes on your PC to real-time? I am using jRiver and changing the priority made significant difference.

Here is a question I run raid on my music CPU . If the drives were SSD has anyone compared this to a nas server. As the guy who started the thread states the standalone nas is better why would this be any ideas here…??

alrainbow said: . . . but SSD are limited in read writes so even if in raid not cool long term .

I agree SSD in RAID is probably not the best idea; too many read/writes.

Instead, I would a SSD as the source for the music files and keep a backup of the music elsewhere. That is, no RAID. This way the SSD is acting essentially as read only and will last a long time.

Yes I agree but why is it better. I found it maid the music a little different effects of the sounds as played changed a little like less reverberation in the music. But again not a nas although I have them three I total but all in raid of course. I wonder if anyone else here has a herd the difference as well. .?