Buying New Laptop for Roon Core - Best CPU Option

I’m now ready to upgrade my outdated Windows 7 laptop to Windows 10. I want it to run Roon flawlessly. I’ll be getting a SSD & plenty of memory. But I’m unsure as to best CPU option.

Question - is a single Intel i5 CPU running 2.4 GHz better than a 4 CPU Intel i5 each running 1 GHz (net speed up to 3.6 GHz), or is the 4 CPU a better option?

Question - Is the AMD Ryzen 7 just as good as the Intel if the speed is comparable?



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To my understanding Roon is using a limited number of processors (max. 2 ?)
I would go for the highest CPU speed, not the more processors)

Although I am using AMD Ryzen 3700 myself, I would recommend to go with Intel.
AMD is cheaper, and stronger in multi-proccessing . intel is stronger on single CPU power. ( source
I don’t think you will find same limited proccessor, highspeed setup at AMD.

My 2 cents.


What else might you be doing on the laptop when you are also using it as Roon core?

Before you go that route, please consider a dedicated computer device such as a Roon Nucleus or a NUC. Many people, including me, have better success running Roon on a dedicated computer device. I started out with Roon core on my Dell XPS 15 i7 2.60 gHz with 32 GB of RAM and had lots of problems. Only after I moved to a Nucleus did my problems go away and now Roon is perfect.

That said, I know that some people have success running Roon on a Windows 10 computer.

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The Laptop will 90% used for Roon playback & 10% occasional use for email, internet browsing, and other misc stuff. But when Roon is playing, pretty much nothing else will be running on the laptop.

Jim - I guess I never really looked at what is involved setting up a NUC. Is there a site or document that explains that in layman’s terms?

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Well, then it would be better to go the NUC route as Jim suggests. A nice NUC is around $500. You could still use your old laptop for the remote or buy a nice tablet to go with it.
If you were doing something intense on the laptop while Roon was playing, it’s a different answer.

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That’s right. If you use a NUC for Roon core, you can use a laptop, desktop, iPhone, iPad, or Android, or all of the above as control devices.

I appreciate everybody’s input & help. It’s one of the nice things about using Roon.

I don’t think I’m ready to jump in to a new LINUX environment & hardware system. I’m sure the overall sound will be superior, but I was plenty happy with the sound on my old laptop with the earlier Roon software versions. The current Roon version just seems to bog the machine down, & my Roon display is now gone due to some of the new OpenGL requirements. So if a new more powerful laptop gets me back to where I once was, then I’ll be happy again.

Thanks again.


It’s not really about the sound. There is no reason one computer would sound different or better than another computer as long as they are quiet. The issue is about stops and skips and drop-outs, etc. My very powerful Dell XPS 15 was unacceptable. However, some people have good success using a laptop or desktop.

To answer your original question directly, the ‘right’ computer will have these things:

  1. At least an Intel i3 processor.
  2. At least 8 Gb of RAM
  3. A solid state drive which the operating system will go on.

Those are the same basic components in a NUC. Also note that the NUC will run fine under Windows 10.
All told, you don’t need a really fancy computer for what you want to do overall. Multiple cores (like an i7) only become important with very large libraries, multiple endpoints, and digital signal processing.

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I dont know how somebody can even find laptop with i3 processor and under 16gb memory. Dont buy that one. Laptops are so cheap nowadays and if you have roon u can buy some 2000€ laptop easily or nucleus.

Thanks Scott & Jim.

Scott - I do not use DSP when playing 2 channel. But I do have a lot of MCH stuff (WAV & DSF) that I use DSP for channel balancing and distance specs only. I suspect there is significant additional CPU required to do that processing. So maybe an Intel i5 with 2 cores would handle that pretty well, you think?

I have i5-7300HQ on my other laptop and it can run roon ok with dsd512. But number 1 thing with laptops is undervolting.

And the first one is with i7-9750h, 16gb, 2060rtx. Dont buy laptop if u want to run hqplayer. :smiley:

Personally, I would have built a NUC except I didn’t want the DIY potential problems, so I opted for a Nucleus. I still might do a NUC in the future, just for the fun of it, and put it in a fanless case of some sort.

Once you add DSP and DSD together you can start putting a hurtin’ on the CPU. Objectively, Simon Pepper and I compared an older version i3 to my NUC8i7. We couldn’t find a point where the i7 could separate itself in performance from the i3. I’m sure there is a point where that happens, but Simon threw a lot at his i3 and it did fine. The i5 is a nice compromise and gives your some headroom.

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What is undervolting?

And if you are using your laptop for music, disable all c states etc.