Cheapest* install of ROCK - *EDIT Least expensive for my needs*

Hi, currently using Roon on an old laptop, but as I have to leave it on or turn it on when I want it i’m thinking or using ROCK.

There are 2 routes install on a NAS or a standalone unit like the NUK (or are there options I’m not aware of?)

I don’t really use my ripped content anymore as have both Tidal and Qobuz subscriptions so maybe the new NAS route would be wasted ?

As I have a working solution I don’t really want to spend anymore than I can get away with :wink:

Any advice would be gratefully received ! I currently use a BS Node 2i as the end point but my DAC does have a USB input so maybe I could use a NUK directly too the DAC and use the BS to recoop some of the spend ???

Thanks in advance for the help and suggestions !!

A NAS is not the way to go, unless you already have one (IMO).
A NUC with an i3 processor will do what you want (smallish library, not DSP intensive). You could get the last generation Nuc7i3 processor, 8 Gb RAM and the M2 SSD for about $400. Plug in a cheap USB drive for the music you own now and you’re done (assuming you can borrow keyboard, mouse, and monitor for the ROCK install).
Is this outside your price range?
You could buy something used. There is a Nuc5i3 for sale on this forum for $175
The most important thing is getting something with a SSD for ROCK’s OS and the database. The CPU speed isn’t that critical if you are mostly going to stream, but it should be an Intel processor.

BTW, I don’t believe a NAS will run ROCK. It would run RoonServer with Linux AFAIK.

Hi Scott,

Thanks for quick and detailed reply.
I didn’t really want to go new NAS - I have an old but working WD 2TB drive that hardly spools up due to Tidal/Qobuz use.

I was unsure if the NUC5i3 would run ROCK - I have seen these pretty cheap, I already have a 128GB SSD in my ageing laptop that I’m hoping to donor across onto the NUC.

Will I still be able to use the DSP with a 5i3? I’ve been reading about peoples experiences implementing the results from REW and am keen to give this a go.

Again thanks for your help info thus far !



If I was going to get into DSP (meaning convolution filters via REW), then I’d want more CPU horsepower. An older generation core would still be okay, but a faster processor i5 or i7 should be considered.
Others may have this working and their experience trumps my opinion. But you can use up CPU pretty fast with DSP. Where it disappears in a hurry is convolution filters and upsampling.

Thanks again for the reply.

Okay I think I’ll need to be on the lookout for a bargain i5/7 NUC



I’ve had Roon for a few months but decided early to invest in the NUC8I7BEH/Rock setup and make use of multi-channel output over HDMI to Receiver. I added the internal 2.5 Sata drive for my library. I think with the NUC, M.2 ssd, 16gb ram and the 2.5 the cost was around 800.00 with tax and shipping. Not cheap but I have no regrets with the performance. I had been running on a fairly high-end desktop but the NUC is jsut better and always available. Like you I have the Tidal/Qobuz subscriptions but I do play from my library as well. The radio function pulls from my library along with the streamers.

That’s the route I went too. It’s almost invincible, Roon-wise.
But the difference between top-shelf and completely adequate can almost buy you a lifetime Roon membership! That’s real money

That’s an M2 drive Mikey? You’ve probably seen this, but doesn’t hurt to be clear.

I’m going to see what price I can get the FS NUC for , the seller says he is currently using DSP so I think it should suffice.

I understand right that I can connect direct to DAC from the NUC if I wish ?
I would experiment to ensure noise would not be an issue via USB

It is thanks Scott, I appreciate the clarification ! Measure twice cut once as they say !

yes, that will work fine. You might get some fan noise when you first set it up and if you are using DSP-intensive processing.
What DAC do you have?

I have the Primare I35DAC with the AKM AK4497 chipset, currently using the Node 2i Coax into it with great results. just thinking the NUC kight simplify the system further via USB connection

ROCK uses ALSA protocols to connect USB to DAC. This typically works well, Sometimes a DAC will require specific USB drivers. In this case, ROCK might be a challenge. Not trying to scare you off from going this way, but it’s something you should check (Primare could tell you).
OTOH, if you are having great results with the Node 2i, there isn’t much downside. It also gives you the opportunity to stash the NUC out of sight.
As far as interfaces go, one can argue these things almost any way you want. Until you compare the Node/Coax vs USB, it’s hard to know.

Thanks Scott,

I’ll email Primare and see what they say.
I was planning the A/B test as I’ve been happy with the BS Node and see which way the cards fall

A NUC is certainly the prettiest and quietest approach using modern components. If you are focused on inexpensive I’ve experimented installing ROCK on a Dell optiplex 9020 usff with an i7 and for an investment of $150cdn it’s performance for value is unmatched.

I’ve run ROCK on several old, retired from the office small and very small form factor Dell as well. Works just fine. They all had very old, 2013, 128GB SSD and 8GB ram. No problem with moderate DSP but upsampling to high DSD rates likely will not work (no big loss).

These old PCs are available very inexpensively if you look around. Anything newer than 2013 will likely be enough CPU power

ROCK still requires itself to be ON all the time. You can, of course, use a desktop computer to be the RoonCore.

Don’t mind having it always on, it was just the faff of turning the laptop on and off that I wanted to avoid.

Im looking at the NUC that in the for sale area (thanks for pointing me at it Scott). Would it be powerful enough if I decided to use room eq from REW?

I waited to see if someone else would respond. Not sure which Nuc you looking at. It’s my understanding an i3/i5 would be fine for basic streaming, radio, and playing from your library (depending on the size). But for larger libraries and using the more cpu intensive features of Roon, DSP, upsampling etc. you would be better served with the more powerful i7 Quad. It could be more expensive in the long run if you come up short on power and need to upgrade again.

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Hi Mike,

Yes that’s what I’m starting to think.

I’m going to hold off now on the basis of the great advice I’ve read on this thread and invest in a higher spec NUK. As you said more expensive in the longer run if if doesn’t perform as I’m wanting…



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