Do I need a new NUC?

Running ROCK (latest version) on an i7 NUC with a 3.5 GHz Intel 7567U 2 core processor with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD.

I have a fairly large library close to 30K tracks, plus Tidal and Qobuz.

My network is all Meraki managed switches on CAT6 or better cable from the router. All devices are Ethernet connected, there is no WiFi in the streaming path.

I recently upgraded my theater to a Trinnov Altitude32 and installed an Atmos configured speaker system. The Trinnov is Roon Ready and can handle multi-channel up to 24/192K streams.

I have tested the Trinnov with multi-channel content streaming from my NAS and MCH PCM works fine. However, much of my MCH content is DSD, which requires the Core to down sample the MCH stream from DSD to 24/176 PCM to send to the Trinnov. This works fine for DSD64. However, when I attempt to stream 256DSD (4x) after about a minute of playing, the signal starts to stutter and breakup, and eventually the music just stops streaming. The Roon controller will flash error messages when this is happening but they go by quickly and I haven’t been able to capture them. Since this only occurs at the highest rate of DSD, I suspect my NUC is running out of HP to handle the processing required in real time.

My current i7 NUC 7th gen uses a 2 core processor from 2017, I’m wondering if upgrading to a new gen 8 i7 NUC will correct the problem? Just looking at a comparison of the CPU benchmarks, the new 8th gen 4 core chips seem to be at least twice the performance as my 7th gen 2 core chip, whether using 1 core or 2 cores. I would also max out the memory to 32GB in the event that the memory is a issue during the down sampling process.

Am I diagnosing this correctly? Is my problem related to the processing power of my NUC?


30k is not really a lot and the NuC should be up to spec but have you looked at the signal path and checked the processing speed. This will indicate if the NuC is underperforming, anything below 2 could indicate an issue but this could be also down t network performance, storage and not just cpu. Is it the same for local files as well as Tidal? Where are the music files stored. Is there any flow control on your switches try turning it on if off and off if on and see if it helps.

Adding @support

Thanks. I’m not familiar with how to check the processor speed on a ROCK NUC. I am streaming from a ReadyNAS NAS, this is not Tidal. I’ll check for flow control but unless it is enabled by default, I know I haven’t set it on.

Tap on the little signal light just right of the song title on the play screen. That gives you a signal path. If you are doing some significant signal processing there is a numerical figure like "77.5 X’ at the top of the signal path.
If it’s saying nothing you have huge head room. Even with Convolution based DSP on my i7 windows rig, I see nothing quite often. But most often it’s in the range of 70-95X. If I switch in upsampling to 512X DSD that will drop down to 1.5X or something like that. That’s not good, but I don’t need to do that (in fact I prefer it better without).
My guess this isn’t the problem. But it’s easy to check that part anyway.

DSD DSP actions are pretty compute intensive. You could try enabling the multithreaded option in the DSP engine for it. That might stabilize you for your main zone.

Roon’s DSP engine really favors higher clocks than multiple cores. The multithreading option can help, but it is a bit of a bandaid. If you go for a newer CPU, go for increased clocks.

@ksalno make sure to enable parallelize sigma delta check box in the dsp settings for dsd rate resampling

Post your signal path when the stutter occurs.

Disable Native DSD Processing.

Hi @ksalno,

Thanks for contacting us regarding this issue. As others have mentioned, please post a screenshot of your Signal Path while this issue is occurring, you can use these instructions to upload screenshots to Community.

Also as a test to see if the NAS plays any part in this issue, you can try to load a few DSD256 tracks on to a flash drive and then see if you experience the same issue with the playback starting off of that instead of involving the network at all, this will give us another good data point.


Thanks, I will try the suggestions and if the problem persists I will post a screenshot.

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Ok, so I had a chance to do some playing around with this. Attached are screen shots of the path and the error message I am getting. You can see the processor is borderline at 1x. The suggestions for enabling multi-threading or parallel delta-sigma don’t apply in this case, as I’m not sending DSD, I am having Roon convert the DSD to PCM since the Trinnov can’t accept DSD. I also downloaded some material to a USB 3.0 stick and tried playing with the USB plugged directly into my NUC and it made no difference.

Other thoughts? I recognize that going from 2 cores to 4 cores won’t help but I’m thinking a 8th gen i7 is going to outperform a 7th gen CPU even with a single core.

I would definitely say that your NuC is not upto to that task. You are just getting 1x processing speed what in gives little leway, but being 5.1 that’s also going to be heavy network bandwidth usage to. You connected to core and endpoint by 1gbe or 100mb?

8th generation CPU will be faster. However, I have some doubts whether NUC8i7 can bring your processing speed from 1x to the absolute minimum 1.3x. Check out the single thread benchmarks. If I were you I’d just build a desktop i7-9700K with a cooling fan designed for overclocking.

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Or put it in a fanless silent HDPlex case. There is one that supports 95W CPU TDP.

Where does the claimed absolute minimum 1.3x figure come from? Just curious!
1.2x is good enough when upsampling to DSD512 in ny system.

Not absolute. Just recommended. If 1.2x is working fine for you, then no worries at all.

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Maybe the 1.3x figure is when multi core upsampling is enabled. Then I can understand that 1.3x is the the absolute minimum.
In my case the 1.2x is single core so there is plenty of processing left on my 4 core processor.
2.3x if multi core processing is enabled.

The old recommendation of 1.3x has been revised to 2.0x (recommendation, not absolute…).

For reasons danny mentions above in the post I linked…

As mentioned, if 1.2x is working fine for you, then no worries at all.

What I was trying to say is that the 2.0x recommendation must be when parallelize sigma-delta processing is enabled and it is a dual core processor.

Without crazy overclocking with current hardware and current Roon it’s not clear to me how 2.0x can be achieved with OP’s requirements, unless there’s something suboptimal with his current setup that we haven’t noticed.

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Bought a new 8th gen i7 NUC and set it up tonight. When downsampling 5CH 256DSD to 7.1 176 PCM the processing went from 1.0x to 1.1x, no big improvement. My files play more reliably but there are still some drop outs and stuttering. Not as bad as before but still there.