Intel NUC vs Mac Mini vs Current setup

I am trying to find a solution for a Roon only setup and until now I have the following:

  1. Mac Mini 2018 version with 256 gb SSD + Intel core i5 + 16gb ddr4.
    Here I have a few concerns:
  • I read on some forums that the T2 chipset can sometimes lead to audio signal loss or something like that.
  • this setup, in Romania, is more expensive compared to the US and automatically more expensive than an Intel NUC8I7HVK setup.
  1. Intel NUC8I7HVK with core i7 and 16 or 32 GB ddr4 + 512 GB SSD. This setup also has that Radeon video card which, as far as I understand, it is used by Roon for DSP.
    This setup also has 2 variants:
    A. To put windows 10 OS + Fidelizer + Audiophile Optimizer and strip the system of services not being used for audio.
    B. To put only Roon Rock OS on it. Here I also have some concerns because my ifi audio dac requires windows drivers and I don’t know how Roon Rock can handle this.

Both setups have Thunderbolt ports to be used for my Lacie 2big dock which has 2 x 6 tb drives.

I could keep my current setup which is a newer model of Asus gaming laptop but this is an all day machine used for different things and I keep wondering if I am missing something by not having a dedicated Roon setup.

Regarding the difference in costs between Mac Mini and Intel nuc8i7hvk, even if I put 32 GB ddr4 and 512 GB ssd, the Intel is about 300 $ cheaper.

Can you guys help me out with your expertise and past experience?

I used to use a 2014 i5 Mini. I hated it for various reasons.

Although many people use a Mini, you are correct in believing a NUC is a better bang for the buck, IMHO.

Of course, it depends on the size of your library and what DSP you plan to use, but even an i3 NUC could be adequate. See the specs on Roon’s i3 Nucleus as an example of what’s necessary.

If all you’re going to do is run Roon, then save yourself money (and hassle) and install ROCK. That way you don’t need Fidelizer or Optimizer or other, questionable, add-ins. I consider these optimizing add-ins to be pure snake oil on any modern CPU or OS. Again, people will disagree, just a BTW.

8GB of RAM is plenty to run Roon. On the other hand, memory is dirt cheap right now.

Only the ROCK can be installed on your M.2, so 512GB is a waste. If you want (are able) to install a 2nd internal drive for music files, then that’s where capacity is handy.

I’m not sure, but I think only HQPlayer can use a video card for additional processing. Dunno.

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Thunderbolt won’t work on rock. Dsp doesn’t use the graphics card. If you do go rock a 128gb ssd m.2 is ample, if you can find one.

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So if Thunderbolt doesn’t work on Rock OS, then it seems windows 10 OS is the only option.

I am working on the same issue, except that I want Roon ROCK and network connection only (maybe USB also).
You can try some options here: They have fanless configurations also (including NUC fanless).

You could use the USB port on the Lacie instead. There are no real world speed advantage over usb 3 for music storage. Or get some cheap external USB drives.