Budget roon core build - feedback requested

Hi everyone,

I’m almost done with my trial and I will be subscribing! I’m coming over to roon from 13 years as a Squeezebox/LMS user. I currently run the core on my main Windows 7 desktop but want to move it to a headless server (running Windows 7/10 or maybe Linux) that I will control from my desktop, laptop and Android tablet. I’ve seen all the posts on using a NUC, etc. but I want to keep the build cost below $300. Here’s a list of components that comes in around $200. This unit will be in an upstairs loft and connected to my router/network via ethernet.

CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819113364
Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819113364
120GB SSD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226831
RAM (8GB): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226754
Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119299
Power Supply: I plan on using an external 65watt power adapter (about $10)

I plan on copying my current library (about 500 albums in FLAC) to an existing 1TB USB drive. I may add a NAS of some kind down the road but for now this should work.

I’m wondering if I’m on track here as far as minimum requirements are concerned for running the roon core. Any feedback/suggestions most appreciated!

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I’m running Roon on a headless Linux box (passively cooled) using a dual core Intel i3 4130T running at 2.9GHz, 16GB RAM and a 500GB hard drive.

This appears more than ample for Roon right now, so your proposed setup should be fine (assuming Roon can take advantages of all those cores).

If you were to run Windows instead, then I suspect you might want consider a faster processor and a larger hard drive.

Interesting project! For those without the diy skills or patience, I just saw an interesting product called the SonicTransporter from Small Green Computers. A bit pricier but designed and bundled for this purpose…


I certainly think there is a market for this, but they don’t give the specs of the machine (like the processor or RAM). I would also prefer to have a larger SSD and store my music on the unit too.

This leads to an interesting point: Can Roon autoupdate itself on a Linux box, or do users need to feel comfortable SSH’ing into their box?

I think I have read elsewhere on here that it has to be an Intel CPU, so your AMD isn’t compatible.

Scrap that. It was ARM that I read, not AMD.

Roon Linux autoupdates in the same way as the other platforms.

Interesting discussion about the SonicTransporter here:


That’s good to know. It opens the way to consumer boxes running Linux with Roon pre-installed.

That Sonic Transporter looks very interesting. It would be nice to have an “all in one” solution but the price is about 2x what I was hoping to spend. I think I can build my box, add Linux/Roon Server and be ready to go for well under $250. I’ll probably order the parts in the next week or so and build it. I’ll post an update once I get going on it.

Do let us know. I am tempted to do this, but installing Linux Server is a bit intimidating.

Actually, installing Ubuntu Server is not much more difficult than installing Windows, but the instructions for installing Roon on the latest version of Ubuntu could use a little updating.

Off the top of my head, I used the following variation of the instructions from the Roon Linux install page, having downloaded and installed the latest version of Ubuntu Server (16.04):

Login to the box and type in the following lines (confirming your password and ‘yes’ as appropriate when prompted):

sudo apt-get ffmpeg
sudo apt-get alsa
sudo apt-get cifs-utils
curl -O http://download.roonlabs.com/builds/roonserver-installer-linuxx64.sh
chmod +x roonserver-installer-linuxx64.sh
sudo ./roonserver-installer-linuxx64.sh

The lines in bold are ones that are implied, but not spelt out in the original instructions. I hope this helps.

OK, I ordered the pieces/parts for my “experiment” today so should have them next week. Now I need to learn a bit more about Ubuntu and how to install and set it up. My plan is to hook up a keyboard/mouse and monitor to the box to get everything installed. I’m imagining I’ll need to install Ubuntu (and Roon server as well?) off a USB drive. Any tips or suggestions from anyone would be great. I’ll be sure to post anything I come across as I build and configure this thing.

Let the fun commence! :slight_smile:

I would download ‘Ubuntu Server’ from the Ubuntu website, I found burning to cd less fiddly than USB sticks in the past, but this may have changed.

You won’t need to download Roon, however, as the instructions reposted above will do that for you. When installing, you might want to choose ‘SSH’ as an additional option when it asks about additional packages to install as that will allow you to login to the box in future without needing to plug in a monitor or keyboard.

Hi Mark,

As previous LMS user I made the switch 2 weeks ago, so I think that’s comparable :wink:
As a server I used an old Samsung Chromebox, and installed openSUSE on it. It has a 2 core intel i5, but I can guaruantee you that it is more than powerful enough. Considering that you have 500 albums (I’ve got twice as much) it should run fine.

Installing Linux is a breeze; doesn’t matter that much which distro you take. I took openSUSE because I’m familiar with it. Runs in server mode, no graphics involved. Installation takes 15 minutes.

Installing the Roon Server for Linux is a breeze as well: the team did an awesome job in making Linux a first class citizen!

Enjoy, if your experience is gonna be similar as mine you won’t look back at LMS.

Best regards,

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Installing Ubuntu Server with Roon Server in a few easy steps:

  1. Install Ubuntu server from USB stick. Default options are fine, make sure OpenSSH server is selected in software selection, as you probably want to remotely log in if the server is running headless

  2. Make sure your installation is up-to-date:
    sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

  3. Install the required packages:
    sudo apt install alsa-utils libav-tools cifs-utils

  4. Install Roon Server using the easy installer per instructions

That’s basically it. Depending on your setup, you may want to assign a fixed IP to your server, configure disk mounts in case you are using extra or external disks and/or configure Samba for shared network access to your music folders.

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Thanks for these tips. What’s the best way to originate a backup schedule from Ubuntu server to a NAS.


Rsync with Cron

Well, it looks like all my parts should show up tomorrow so I can get going on it this weekend! A couple of quick questions:

  • Will I be able to (at least for the time being) access the music folder on my desktop if the “core” is running on my new toy or should I get a USB drive to hook directly to the box?

  • If I have to hook up a standard USB 2.0/3.0 drive to the box will I need to do anything different/special in the Ubuntu setup?

Thanks to everyone for all the help and encouragement so far! I’m looking forward to getting this thing set up and running. I won’t be shy about posting if I have questions during the build.

You should be able to setup file sharing for the folder you have your music files in and then add a watched folder in Roon that points at it. If you get stuck, just shout.

If you want to mount a USB drive, you’ll need to install ‘usbmount’ in addition to the other packages shown in the install above (see http://serverfault.com/questions/414120/how-to-get-usb-devices-to-automount-in-ubuntu-12-04-server). If you need any help following the instructions towards the bottom of the page, again just shout :slight_smile:

Thanks. Attempting an install, but I can’t get wifi to run.

my /etc/network/interfaces file is:

auto wls1
iface wls1 inet dhcp
wpa-ssid “your_router”
wpa-psk “your_wpa_key”

Any advice? I’m attempting this on a late 2007 Mac Mini.