Intel NUC endpoint question

I see a lot of discussion about using an Intel NUC with ROCK as an endpoint. My question (besides the OS cost) why not just use Windows? You could always still use it headless via remote. And you’d also have the option of displaying the player on your TV. You could also use the pc for something else like playing video.

As near as I can tell having a full computer, like a nuc with windows, as your roon app via hdmi to your receiver is the only way you can be sure to be able to play all files (cd, high res and multichannel). and have the option of showing the player display on your tv. [I know there’s the display function with chromecast or a web page but I still think that has less functionality than a full computer would]

Please let me know if I’m missing something. I’m currently on a trial and planning a new home theater and am still getting acquainted with all the new technology after 10 happy years with my old system.

Not sure where.

ROCK is meant to be used as an appliance that requires, theoretically, no more attention than one’s toaster.

ROCK, since it’s designed solely to run Roon, doesn’t run the risk of being affected by OS updates not specifically designed for Roon.

Contrary to some other’s mistaken beliefs there is no SQ benefit from using ROCK over Roon run under another OS and the Roon principals have never claimed such benefits.

I, and others, quite happily run Roon Core under WIN10, macOS, or Linux. For myself, running Roon under WIN10 allows me to use the machine for other media chores, i.e. JShiver, Plex, etc. Also, I can run scheduled backup software to backup my music files.

Once one installs ROCK on a NUC, the only thing that can run there is Roon. ROCK has no GUI. To control Roon one must use another device, either an iOS/Android device or another PC/Mac.

However, ROCK is free.


Most people use a NUC with ROCK as a Roon core device, not a Roon end-point. Maybe you are talking about a single device for both purposes.

If you have a DAC which needs Windows drivers, you can setup up a small Windows based computer, smaller than a nuc even, to just be an endpoint running RoonBridge, and the devices drivers.

1 Like

@xxx has said most of it , to emphasize a couple of points

The Roon Architecture is Server > Network > End Point A NUC with ROCK is generally the server. A NUC can be used as an end point but not specifically running ROCK, any OS would do

Windows on a NUC will work fine . There are 2 main differences between Windows & ROCK

ROCK is dedicated to Roon , plays ONLY Roon . If you plan to use the server for anything else you are stuck

Windows , adds cost yes but allows “any software” eg I use Roon and JRiver together , JRiver giving me a Video and DLNA Sever hence I need a more flexible OS

If your server is gong to be absolutely dedicated to music AND absolutely dedicated to Roon the ROCK is a simple , indeed free, way to do it .

If you back out you can always install windows afterwards

Good luck

A ROCK based low powered NUC is an excellent choice as a a potential end point. Fanless, maintenance free (you don’t even need to log into them) and properly sorted for applications like connection via HDMI for proper multichannel use. There are number of us who used this path and it works well. I know Windows 10 will work equally well. But it’s update and reboot cycles will be much longer and Windows can on occasion be a pain to have to administer in a way the appliance like ROCK simply isn’t.


It’s what Henry said. The only thing I would add is that, indeed, if you are planning a new home theater, then a NUC with ROCK will only deliver multichannel audio to your TV/Receiver, it does not give you a Roon display.

So if you use a NUC with Windows, then you can display the full Roon UI on your TV. However, bear in mind that this UI is not a “10 foot interface” designed for Home Theater - it is a UI designed for PCs and tablets. Some people get by with it, others prefer the display from Chromecast, which, while it is a pure display (no input functions supported), is at least designed for display on a large screen.

1 Like

Thanks for all the helpful info. That clarified some things for me. I was misunderstanding ROCK and understand now that it is for the core function and not as an endpoint. Likewise the Nucleus would be a core component. Though it sounds like some are using them as endpoints, but that’s not their typical usage. Ok so that narrows things down.

Is there any Roon Ready network player that can play multichannel files? I’ve searched the forum and looked at the Roon ready device list, and I don’t think so but would be glad to hear if there is such a device.

So that would leave me with a computer with an HDMI output as the only endpoint solution that would allow me to play all my files - CD, Hig Res and multichannel. Is that correct?

Some even Thrive with it. :wink:

Can’t speak directly to this except to say that, with the exception of CDs, you don’t need a ‘computer’ to play the formats you want.

Pretty sure there are streamers out there that will do what you want. Others will chime in.

I suppose if you wanted to play to all possible formats in one Roon zone, then a streamer that eventually connects to a receiver w/DAC (or for less than multi-channel, a DAC/pre-amp combo), along with a connected CD player and/or turntable would be what you want.

Sorry maybe I wasn’t clear. All the files I want to play are digital. When I say CD what I was referring to was ALAC and FLAC files at CD resolution (16/44). I also have high res Flac files 24/96 etc . Lastly I have surround sound 5.1 flacs at varying resolution.

I’m wondering if there’s a Roon Ready network player that could play all those files in their original format? Or is a computer via hdmi my only option (from what I’ve gathered I think it is)


No, I think a streamer or even an RPi or similar SBC will do what you want.

Don’t really have a need for multi-channel, but those who do will speak up.

A Raspberry Pi can’t do multichannel music properly. It is a pretty well documented fact and is one of the reasons people looked into Windows or ROCK powered NUCs.

Ok Henry, ya got me. :wink:

How about streamers for the OP?

Multichannel streamers are pretty rare and expensive. exaSound is the only one off the top of my head though I know there are others.

Not cheap, but yes. Exasound and Merging +Player are two

I use a celeron based nuc as an endpoint running rock. The core is on my main windows machine in another room.

I noticed an improvement over the Pi in terms of sound quality. Clearer, more definition, wider sound stage.

Wow you weren’t joking about not cheap. The eight-channel Merging+Player PL8 is priced at $13,500. Certainly making the case for the NUC as an endpoint plus using windows I could also use it to play the mkv files I have on my NAS. Thanks for the all the input, lots of jargon to cut through, But at the end of the day sounds like there aren’t a lot of options if you want the ability to play 5.1 files.

Yep. No doubt.

Not quite. ROCK provides both the Core and Endpoint (Output) functions. It does not contain the Control function

1 Like