Best build for spare Acer nitro 5

Hi brains trust

I’m taking the following laptop off my son as battery life at school isn’t up to scratch. As it’s about a year old I’d guess I’d loose money selling used so thinking about using this to replace my 12 year old iMac that really struggles with roon core and my 4 roon end points……I was holding out for a nucleus but kids needs are calling.

Acer Nitro 5 laptop. 11th Gen Intel(R) Core™ i7-11800H @ 2.30GHz. 16.0 GB (15.8 GB usable)

As Im happy to use only for roon what would be the most stable build on this thing thats simple to setup……and doesn’t require a phd in astro physics. I also have a 2TB external hard drive of music connected to iMac Id like to attach to Nitro and use with so needs to be factored into recommended solution.

Any quick pointers ….ie
Most stable platform for this laptop and will work with current external iMac hard drive of music…

Thanks and regards

Rob Derham

I would simply install the lastest version of Roon for Windows. I’m not sure about the music drive.

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Latest version of Roon will do just fine.

I’m more concerned about the external hard drive. How is it formatted?

Windows can use NTFS and ExFAT. But it can’t read or write to the Mac’s own APFS and macOS journaled extended file systems.

It is for this reason I have formatted my external hard drives here as ExFAT so both my MacBook ‘s, my Windows gaming laptop and my Roon Core which runs on Linux can access them.

If your external hard drive is formatted as ExFAT then you’re good to go. But if you are using one of the Mac’s own file systems then you you’ll need to reformat the hard drive. This will erase all data on it so make sure you’ll have a backup.

  • Can’t use ROCK. So that’s out.

  • I’ve never tried setting up a MOCK, but if you could set it up on that laptop it probably would involve some “astro physics”, so that’s out too.

  • I’m not sure that the most stable would be windows. I’d save this as a last option.

  • If it’s just going to be a roon server and nothing else, I’d go Ubuntu Desktop with roon server. You’d have a little terminal use to install the server but there are lots of Linux savvy users on the forum that could help if you run into problems.

I’d consider Ubuntu your most stable option.

But you need to use another computer or iPad for server setup, as you’d have to install wine and setup roon that way for a controller.

If you already have a drive with audio files on it, it’ll most likely be readable by Ubuntu.

  • As far as the easiest. You can just install RoonServer for Windows on the laptop as It is. Then install Roon to use for setup.

Just checked and external hard drive is APFS……

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Which Windows can’t use.

That leaves you with 2 options. Reformat the hard drive to ExFAT if you have a backup of your music.

Another option would be getting a new external hard drive. Connect it to your Mac. Format the new drive as ExFAT and then use the Finder to copy your music from the old to the new hard drive. This way you’ll also have a backup available.

Ooooo hang on. That file transfer app, Ive used it in the past to get the music files from the Mac external hard drive to my Astell & Kern AK240 which used micro SD which I think is FAT32 (need to check). I think this is an android device. So it sounds like I can go either way on build……

So what I’m hearing is the Nitro 5 is powerful enough to be a solid roon core and I just need to look at which build I go with……

Ultimately I need the most stable platform for core to enjoy my music…. Flaky and unstable will not cut it.

Thanks all

Rob D

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Is the external an ssd or nvme?
If it isn’t, I’d make an attempt to transfer the files off and reformat it to something other than APFS. APFS is an Apple format that is specifically designed for ssd and nvme. Not recommended for hdd. I’d try to get it to NTFS.

Then it will be read and writable by win or Linux. And read only on Mac, but if you set your server up on Linux or windows, if you share the volume you can read and write to it from Mac.

If it is ssd or nvme, it is ok as APFS but you will need a 3rd party program to read and write to the disk of not using macOS.

NTFS partitions can be written to by Mac’s as well but you’ll be needing a 3rd party tool like NTFS for Mac to make it work. And that is not free.

Hence my suggestion of using ExFAT as file system. Since macOS, Windows and Linux have full support for that right out of the box.

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This Unstable behavior can happen on any OS, but most time the instability of many OS’s is not the OS but an app or combination of apps that don’t play well with each other or with the OS in general.

Why not just try:

  1. Restoring a new clean copy of windows.
  2. Run a good debloating software and strip all the unnecessary garbage out.
  3. Install RoonServer.
  4. Then install Roon.
  5. See how it works.

If you can get a copy of Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC you’d be all set. That is one of the smallest, cleanest, and quickest installs of windows you’ll find.

You will still need to do something about the APFS formatted drive though.

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I will keep it simple, make sure all music is on AK240 in ExFAT…… If required I will reformat the SSD Lace 2Tb external drive…. There is capacity on the Mac and on the Nitro 5 so can workout how I split up. Most of it on the external drive is just copies of the iMac cover.

I will do some research on Linux / roon core. I’m not a fan of Windows and all the updates it sends out will get on my nerves…. I foresee the laptop flying over the house in a fit of Windows induced insanity :slight_smile:

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I’ve been using this page to help me setup the RoonServer on my Zorin Linux Pro installation on my Lenovo laptop. (Which has a 1.8 GHz 8th gen i7 quad core CPU, 16 gb of RAM and 1 tb internal SSD). I’ve had it running in less then 15 minutes.

Zorin is based on Ubuntu so it uses the same commands. I only had to manually install ffmpeg and cifs-utils as they apparently are not part of the default Zorin install.

sudo apt install ffmpeg
sudo apt install cifs-utils

fixed that issue.

You’ll need to download the 64 bit RoonServer. Link is on the page.
Then in the terminal copy & paste these commands.

Roon Server x86_64

curl -O
chmod +x
sudo ./

That should set you up.


Fresh install of Windows.
Update as required.
Configure to be on with lid down.
Add Roon Server.

Make sure it is connected by Ethernet. If it is modern enough to be WiFi6 you can try it wireless but there may still be a performance hit.

I’ve no idea how to address the HDD formatting issue. It depends on what you have at your disposal. But consider buying another one. It never hurts to have your music in more than one place.:wink: Format the new one in ExFat and copy files over on the old machine then plug into the new.


If it were me, I’d replace the battery in the Nitro, and buy a NUC for Roon.


I have a Roon core on Nucleus, Dell laptop running Windows 11, and Mac Mini. I have no problems with any of them. I am on Early Access on everything.

EDIT: I recently replaced the battery in my Dell. It was easy.

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I’m running the Desktop version of that Acer Nitro (same specs) as my core.
No problems using Roon Server and WIN 10.
I generally don’t use DSP but I’ve tried many DSP configurations with success.

It was pretty packed with bloatware so I ran this script to tidy it up.

But I suspect it would have been fine without doing so.

I also came from a Mac so my USB drive was APFS.
I have two USB drives, one for backup.
Formatted one to ExFat and used

To copy my files.
Then formatted the 2nd drive to ExFat and made a backup.

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I will take simple approach first and just setup core on win11 and copy files over of AK240 android device…. If this is stable and a good UX I will leave as is. If this becomes troublesome I will go down the given Linux route……and rebuild away from W11.

Big thanks to everyone for your guidance notes. Totally belt and braces…….fantastic IP to……

Rob D