A SqueezeCenter Server For Under $100?

Some time ago I published a project about How To: DIY Music Server Using FreeNAS, SlimNAS and an H-P T5700. This remains one of the more popular items around here, generating over 6,000 page views in the past 12 months alone.

A couple of new posts to a related thread over in the forum at Small Net Builder points me to a new take on the project. Kevin Hanson has reworked it to address…How to: Building a Squeezebox Server for under $100… Yes, it can be done…

The $100 goal is certainly appealing. In my own case I think I was in that range. The T5700 that I used as a host was recycled, donated by a friend in IT at a nearby company. I purchased only the 2.5″ disk, a larger memory DIMM and the optional expansion chassis for the T5700. I’m guessing that I spent around $150. Some of it was discretionary since the expansion chassis was $30 that wasn’t truly required.

Kevin may face an issue based upon using the 128 MB of memory included in his T5500 thin client. My suspicion is that’s not quite enough to run both FreeNAS and SlimNAS reliably. Of course, he’s using Debian Linux instead of FreeNAS so he may be able to strip it down very small. I started out with 256 MB of memory, and upped it to 512 MB to get it running well.

In any case, congratulations are in order. It’s nice to see people building upon things that I’ve tried. I helps keep my motivated about taking on new projects.

  • Hi there! This is Kevin. I wrote the article you are linking to. Indeed, 128MB is tough to run squeezebox server on. I was using Debian. It worked fine with my devices, but once the library size got too large, the Web UI was especially slow. I’m no longer using the Thin Client, however. I’m using the Sheevaplug. This is a FANTASTIC device that has a 1.2ghz ARM CPU and 512MB of RAM. I don’t quite hit the $99 mark as the hardware costs $99, and then I had to buy a USB hard drive as well, but I get close. And with 512MB of RAM, this thing is perfect for my needs. There is a recent post at my site (www.crazyhawt.com) about how to get it set up with Debian linux, and once it’s set up with Debian, Squeezebox Server is easy. Take a look! (p.s. last name spelled “Hanson”) :-).

    • Sorry for the spellnig error 😉

      I’m still using the T5700, which I really should upgrade. Software I mean. There’s much newer versions of FreeNAS and SqueezeCenter to be had. The trouble is that it works, so there’s little reason to mess with it.

      I’ve somewhat moved on from the thin clients as well, although I’ve not used a Shiva Plug. I find plug the form factor awkward. I’ve been using a CompuLab FIT-PC2. It’s more expensive, but very capable and extremely low power. Makes a great Asterisk server, or SqueezeCenter for that matter.

      I think that there’s a great deal of promise in the hardware platforms common to netbooks/nettops.

  • Greg

    I got a squeezebox for Xmas… I already had a NAS with my entire music collection running Debian Linux up and running. A quick install of Squeezebox server, and I was up and running in 5 minutes. Great resource!

  • Peter

    Hi. I found 128MB RAM in a Neoware CA15 works just fine with a basic (command line) Debian install, even with about 80GB of music and I’m using it as a NAS for Windows machines (using Samba) as well. Except …. I haven’t built the Squeezebox data base yet. Maybe it will choke on that – I’ll let you know when I’ve tried it. But for the moment I’m happy to access everything through the folder structure. For those on a budget, outmoded corporate thin clients are sooo cheap. It works, it keeps them out of landfill, so why pay more?

  • Peter

    Update on the above – the CA15 did a complete database rebuild on my 80GB of music files in 38 minutes and is still running fine. I’m well pleased.