Hardware requirements and chipset advice


(Nick Biden) #1

Hi,

I’m currently running Roon Core on a Synology DS918+. This has a Celeron J3455 processor and, on the whole, seems to do a reasonable job of looking after the streaming side of things. However, compared to the minimum recommendation of a Core i3 - Ivy Bridge the Celeron would seem to be a less capable chipset. It certainly benchmarks as such on cpubenchmark.

To provide some system context I generally airplay to one or two zones (as a group). Very seldom play different streams in different zones and don’t, currently, use any of the advanced (DSP/upsampling) capabilities. Ripped library is on a Melco N1 attached as a network device. Streamers are:
Devialet 440
Naim Atom
Naim MuSo Qb

Now please excuse the slightly roundabout phrasing of the following question but I’m keen not to lead the witnesses and to see whether any of the anticipated responses accord with the behaviour of the Roon core. As noted before, it’s fair to adequate but by no means perfect.

Given that the chipset in my NAS appears to fall below the minimum hardware requirements I would be interested to hear what performance shortcomings might be expected. I appreciate that this is probably a fairly broad and nebulous question but humour me - for now! If it proves impractical to answer I will happily share the behaviours that I see and you can tell me whether you think it’s down to an under powered Roon core.

Thanks in advance.


#2

You can use lower specs but you will be limiting the Roon experience and feature set that need a fuller spec system to run smoothly or at all. If you want to use more zones ,DSP for upsampling, eq or room correction then you will likely struggle with performance to achieve this… Also if you have a large library this can also effect performance on lower grade CPUs. Roon cannot offer support really on anything lower than their specs either they are there to ensure the best performance at all times. If your NAS is under heavy load from other services and apps then Roon could really grind to a halt.


#3

If your setup matches your needs, stay with it.

You can add a NUC or other PC as upgrade to your library on the DS918+ at any time should the circumstances demand it.
IMHO you can’t gain better SQ by adding unused CPU power to your Core if that’s it what your after.

From Roon Server on NAS:

What will happen if Roon Server runs on a slower CPU (such as Atom or Celeron)?

Roon Server uses a lot more CPU than any other audio software. You can read about why we have a Core and why it requires so much more CPU than other software here.

While Roon Server will work fine on these slower CPUs, consequences of running on them potentially include:

  • Stuttering or dropouts in audio playback
  • Slow response for searching
  • Slow loading of artist, album, composer, and work pages
  • Longer startup and connection times for remotes
  • Slower audio analysis for normalization/crossfading/other
  • Slower import of new music

Overall, the experience will not be as good as it can be. You can fix this by running on a better suited CPU, such as an Intel Core i3 or i5.


(Nick Biden) #4

@BlackJack Thanks for copying those extracts from the other threads. Apologies for not having found them before asking a duplicate question.

Based on the first extract it looks like most, if not all, of my issues are derived from processor (in)capability. I suffer from slow searching, slow loading and longer/intermittent connection/start-up of audio devices. All of which seem to be likely symptoms of an under spec’d processor.

Roon Core upgrade clearly needed!

Thanks


(Mike) #5

If you keep your music on the NAS, an i5 NUC running Rock could be added relatively cheaply, and would give you a huge performance boost.


(Darko.Audio contributor) #6

Nick

I’ve just gone from 2010 Mac Mini to Rock on an NUC (6i3 bought used for £200). It runs better / faster. It also sounds better. You might want to consider the latter when making a decision.

The Rock experience is also good - very easy to setup and run. I mainly run one endpoint, so less than you. I do upsample though - max power of 2 PCM, although the i3 will do DSD 128 if needs be. I also occasionally tweak things slightly using the PEQ.

Phil