Best used NUC for ROCK 2022/2023?

ROCK and Roon are not the same things. ROCK is just Linux based operating system that runs Roon.

You do not need to use ROCK to run Roon on a mini-pc, but you will need a different operating system (Windows or a Linux distribution).

The machines you noted may or may not run ROCK, but they will probably run other operating systems. We only support ROCK on the few models we say we do.

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I am not sure yet, but I’ll keep a local copy on the Mac mini I have, which I will sync to the NUC. If I understand correctly, the Sata drive will be available as an SMB share ? If so, I can use Chronosync to manage the Rock SSD.

I had a taste of this the other day, rather surprised me. I’ve known Nebraska/Bruce Springsteen since it was released. I’d neither considered a great recording or a poor recording. I bought the HiRes download from Qobuz, and was pleasantly surprised to hear a very natural sounding acoustic.

Thanks for the replies so far.

@danny, although I’m by no means a Roon expert ,I meant to put ROCK rather than Roon in my post above, but it was just a slip of the keyboard tongue :grinning:

Would this one suffice?

ps - nobody has so far answered my query about this monitor. Would it allow me to install ROCK and would I connect to NUC with HDMI cable?

yah, it’s a great NUC.

it should work.

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Thanks @danny, appreciate the support from yourself and the others. Order placed for NUC and monitor. The fun will start on Saturday when I try to fumble my way through setting things up lol.

I don’t use internal storage in my NUC/ROCK, nor DAS - everything is on the NAS units

Nice - it is bit hit and miss, as sometimes you question did some just take the CD rip and drop it into 24-bit files and sell it has HiRes.

I dumped my ageing NAS (A single disk sinology unit), and stuffed a 4TB SSD into the late 2012 Mac mini as a 2nd disk. It serves as a NAS for the other machines on the network. That machine also has an 8TB HDD as a backup disk on it.

The NUC/ROCK is going to be (I hope) transportable between two physical locations.

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You could do that, are just use Roon ARC in one of them, to access the ‘home’ network

Problems are :

  • The “home” network doesn’t have fast enough upload; or at least I don’t think it does (ADSL)

  • ARC will only work from iPhone/iPad, I don’t wan to use them for that (or am I missing something ?)

Based on my experience you will be quite happy with the choice of NUC7i5BNH as your ROCK server. I have been using for a number of years and use a complex DSP filters (12 bands of EQ). Processor keeps up nicely running any PCM 192K 24 bit files never going under 10X processor speed. DSD files up to 128 bit depth run fine with complex DSP. I hit the processing wall < 1x processing speed when running DSD 256 with complex DSP. Similar experience when using a NUC7i3.


I have been very happy running ROCK on my NUC. But I got the itch to try something new. So I will soon be listing my NUC10i7 32GB dual rank RAM and 256GB M.2 SSD fanless in an Akasa case on USAM. The listing should go up in a few to serveral days. This miniPC has performed better than the Innuos Zenith Mk2 that I used to use.

Another potential advantage to the 11th and 12th gen NUCs is support for PCIe gen 4.

@danny, do those higher bandwidth connections make a difference for Roon? Maybe in terms of load times and overall responsiveness?

Try it, if you are only streaming Redbook CD quality the draw on the upload speed may be very little to facilitate use of ARC.

It will, as a Mobile Endpoint, but try connecting an external DAC to a iPhone/iPad and they make a good endpoint for a secondary location, and may be easier than transporting the Roon Core around.

Just do the measurements using their app and they will do the rest.

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It’s worth trying, that’s for sure. Although I’ve been an audiophool for about as long as I can remember, I am still in the trial period for Roon. I never considered it until now. I have a lifetime Plex license but it’s been dormant for a couple of years. An Apple TV 4K fixed that, but in the secondary location I could most likely AirPlay to the TV (LG 2022 OLED).

So cast from the Roon ARC app running on an iPhone/iPad
The Airplay will be limited to 24/48 as with all Apple things unless you use an external dongle DAC.

They don’t and they produce much more heat than Gen.3 drives. Stick to a great Gen 3 drive, like Samsung 981/970 Evo Plus for example.


For a regular user (that does not use heavy DSP / Room Correction / DSD 512 upsampling) any NUC i3 from the 6th-gen onwards with a fast SSD drive will be more than good enough.

NUC6i3 and 7i3 are basicly identical (7i3 CPU is 6i3 with added support for Optane memory). With 8GB of RAM and a fast SSD they are a great platform for Rock server. It is worth pointing out that the latest Roon Nucleus Rev B uses 7i3 board, with only 4GB RAM and a slow SSD - and it is still OK for 95% of users.

For a bit more you can get the NUC 8i3 - this one is faster than both 6i3/7i3 and 10i3. What is more - it has a much bigger fan than 5/6/7-gen, which means, that at similar thermal load it can spin slower, making less noise. So if you are planning to use the NUC in the original Intel case (with a fan) in your listening room, I would suggest 8i3 or 10i3. The 7i3 can also be made very, very quiet, but if you are getting them used, you need to replace both the fan and the thermal compound under the heatsink.

If you want to use heavy DSP (Room Correction / DSD 512 upsampling etc) you should go with the i7. However, those should only be considered in a fanless case (unless you have the NUC in another room and noise will not be a problem). Best for this build will be NUC 5i7 and 7i7. I would go with those over 8i5, 8i7, 10i5 and 10i7. Add 16GB and a fast SSD and you will have a great setup.


I’d echo this - I’ve been using the same (albeit latterly in a fanless case) with 8MB RAM and Samsung M.2 SSD for several years. It manages upsanpling to DSD256 with Convolution filters on one zone, has no issues with playing to multiple zones and copes with my modest library of 1700 albums without any hiccups. My only irritation with it was the fan (hoovered dust and was tricky to clean), hence going fanless.

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While waiting for my NUC to arrive later today I thought I’d do some prep work and downloaded the Rock image and flashed to a USB drive. This seemed to work ok but I noticed that Windows cannot detect my USB flash drive in the File Explorer view. Etcher can still recognise it, and when I used Disk management and System Tools and the USB flash drive appears to be all present and correct!! see screenshots. I’m just hoping that the NUC will be able to recognise the USB flash drive, does anybody foresee any issues and if so can they be overcome? Thanks