Based on discussions dating from a few years back, I ordered a reconditioned NUC7i5BNH (4GB Ram, 120GB SSD) as the basis of a ROCK server. I paid US$ 223 for it (which is kind of odd, because it’s coming from Romania, and I bought it on www.ebay.fr).
I bought this in preference to a NUC8i5BEH (c. +$120), and in preference to a NUC6i5SYH (c. -$20). As far as I can tell, the NUC7’s and NUC8’s are highly thought of here ?
Yes, I saw that. I’m trying to be green(ish), but mostly not wanting to spend money on something new. If I buy used I can sell on if It doesn’t work out the way I want it to, and not really be out of pocket by much.
I noticed in some discussions, particularly about the NUC8, that the 8 was considered as good as, or even better than a NUC10. I’m aware that machine power moves on and the software that runs on those machines are developed to take advantage of the computing power. I didn’t want to go that kind (NUC11/NUC12) of budget.
TBH, I didn’t really check out the links from Roon, I’d seen prices for configured NUC11’s that were closer to 800€ than 400€.
The 8th gen has faster single core performance than the 10th gen when comparing iX vs iX CPU model. The 10 uses considerably less power. What’s better depends on your needs (I have a 10i5 and with 3000 albums, a single zone, and volume leveling as the only DSP, I have 100 times more speed than I need, according to the multiplicator that’s shown in the signal path)
DSP is the most important user of continuous CPU and that can be quite a hog with complex filters, in particular to many parallel zones. And DSD upsampling. This is independent of library size, but if you are like me, it doesn’t really matter
The other thing is search response times with very large libraries, but it seems that this isn’t going to affect you either.
I guess regarding performance you will be fine with 7, 8, 10, and above generations. With the 10, maybe don’t buy an i3.
The lower power consumption of the 10 vs 7 and 8 Mac be a factor in these times at least if it’s always on, and may offset a possibly higher purchase price compared to older ones.
Thread drift here: The brain can compensate for a lot of things, and I would like to hear a system with the room correction dialled in. These days, I can’t see myself wanting to make that effort. (I’m still struggling to repair the damage iTunes Match did to my audio files !)
That’s the N°1 recommendation from Roon. If I was going for new, that’s the choice I would have made. Looking more closely at the difference in price between what I went for used and the new price of the NUC 11, I suppose for many people $ 200 / 200 € is hardly worth worrying about. I may regret trying to be too cheap. (I’ve been there with watches).
I’m thinking of buying my first ever NUC to be used solely for Roon use. I have a relatively small library of just over 1,000 albums, and would mainly be using Roon for streaming from Qobuz anyway. With that in mind would this relatively cheap mini pc be enough for my use?
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I guess I will need a monitor to set this up, I don’t have a spare one so would this small monitor do? I’d literally only be using it to set up Roon and hopefully never have to use it again.
It says this monitor can be used with a Raspberry Pi so I’m guessing it would suffice for my needs setting up the mini pc? Would I just connect with HDMI?
Yes, a NUC7 or NUC8 (but with higher TPW) will be sufficient for 99% of Roon users.
Potentially you could upgrade the RAM to 8GB (16GB is totally over-spec’ing) and the SSD to an NVMe PCI Gen 3 (such as a Samsung 970 Pro) for faster accessing of the Roon Core database.
Are you planning to add an internal drive on the SATA port, an external USB-connected drive or a networked drive for the music library? Obviously the first two give faster performance but will still be limited by the speed of the disk (SSD or HDD). Networked drives are limited by the speed of NAS unit - so overall performance is always an I/O issue over raw CPU processing.
So your NUC7i5BNH is better spec than a Nucleus, particularly with an 8GB and faster SSD upgrade, at a fraction of the cost.
BTW I ran a NUC5i3MYHE from 2017 to recently with a library of circa 90k tracks, and it was able to support multiple simultaneous zones with Convolution DSP filters and with upconverting/downconverting DSP, including PCM → DSD128 without issue.
I only upgraded to a NUC7i7DNKE as one came available for sensible money.
Let us know how you find ROCK performs on the NUC7i5BNH
Yes, I have a 2TB SSD sitting in a draw already, I was going to use that. I’ll never fill 2TB of audio, unless I start gobbling up high bit rate files. (I bought a Tom Petty set in 24/96, but it sounds crap, so I down converted it to CD quality) I will probably upgrade the RAM to 8GB.
So a 2TB mounted internally into the NUC over the 6Gbit/s SATA interface will be a fast connection for your library.
How do you intend to keep it backed up?
Yes, 24-bit audio can take up lots of capacity. Of my 7,167 albums stored locally, 4,726 are in a 24-bit format, which is 8TB of space.
A poor recording will always be a poor recording irrespective of the format used.
Re-mastering can bring out a recording that was previously poorly mastered (some of the CDs from the late 80s and early 90s can be awful, as they rushing to get the titles out on CD as fast as possible, as punters were rebuying their music collections on CD)