Is it worth upgrading from (ROCK) NUC5i5 to NUC8i3(or 5)?

I’ve spent a lot of time going thru all the posts etc. here and just thought I’d ask outright in the end :wink:
I currently have a ROCK NUC5i5MYHE with 8Gb RAM, 128Gb M2 boot & 1Tb internal SSD (for music).
(This is then playing thru a rPi4 (4Gb) running RoPieeeXL with rPi touchscreen in SmartiPi 2 case [with small fan], connected to Chord Qutest DAC on USB3 [no HAT])
I might be able to pick up cheaply an 8i3 or 8i5 and was wondering if it would be worth my while?
My library is not huge (some 25K tracks, but a growing number of DSD64 tracks ripped from my SACD collection) and I also use Tidal (Master), but of course will be growing over time as I am enjoying my Roon eco-system so much.
I don’t mind a little bit of fan noise (NUC etc. are all in my listening room, but so is my Synology DS218j NAS which certainly isn’t silent)
From what I can see, this should be a worthwhile upgrade, but should I go for the 8i5 in preference to 8i3 if I am going to change? (And I do notice the occasional slowdown/pause when searching or switching source, but it is tolerable if I’m best off sticking with what I have).

See here Roon Hardware Platform Suggestions for my experiences with a NUC with Gen3 i3 and then Gen5 i3 CPU - what you have here is Gen5 i5 unit.

Before you start spending on a replacement with a new server or the ‘get as much horsepower as possible’ recommendations come in, see here List Your NUC Capabilities Here for benchmarked performance of a ROCK server on a NUC5i3 doing multi zone DSP just as well as a NUC7 and NUC8 unit.

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I wouldn’t upgrade until/unless what you have is no longer meeting your needs. Then, I would upgrade to the most capable Roon approved option that will meet your future needs.


Probably not, unless you have a real need. Searching slowness is as much internet connection as CPU.

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Have you tried alternate DNS providers, such as

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Thanks for the replies everyone…
I shall reconsider upgrading now then :wink:
I should have thought about searching slowness possibly being Internet related, as it trying to check on Tidal as well as local

Is there a way to change the DNS settings that Roon/ROCK uses somewhere, other than me changing the DNS settings on my router, as I’d like to leave router settings alone as there are children in my household & ISP does content blocking/filtering, so don’t want to bypass for whole house :wink: ??

Yes, the Admin page for ROCK.
Follow the link in Settings -> Setup -> Configure, open that page and at the bottom are the network settings for ROCK

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I will try that out later

Just to update this, I couldn’t help myself, but I managed to pick up a NUC8i5BEH from CEX (Computer Exchange), that looked almost new, already fitted with 8Gb RAM (& a 240Gb M2 SSD).
I just updated the BIOS, reset defaults, swapped in my current 120Gb M2 SSD that had my Roon/ROCK install on it), also put in my internal 1Tb SSD with all my music, fired it up & it worked straight away!!!
From a short listen, it sounds at least as good as previous one (of course), but not had a chance to do any extended listening yet, or performance testing.
But I think my ‘upgrade bug’ has bitten and now been satisfied, so no more responses needed, but happy to reply to anyone else that might have a similar question here :wink:
(Will now try to ‘exchange’ my 5i5 (with above 240Gb M@ in it) bak at CEX…)

You could also run some Benchmark tests and see how a NUC8i5 performs - probably on the core CPU processing needed for conversions - upsampling/downsampling, no different from the NUC5i5.

The core CPU architecture, # of processing pipes and chip die lithography @ 14nm is no different between the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Gen Processors.
The additional clock speeds, as Intel was able to push the 14nm based architecture, is not able to be used as the NUC used the mobile version and limit them for the 15W TDP footprint needed for the limited cooling a NUC chassis can provide.

But given that you have both in front of you, with similar memory and can swap the SSDs over, would be an interesting exercise to undertake.

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I don’t think many people realize just how little the steps are between some NUC generations. Sometimes, it is not even a move forward but more a re-arrangement of capability focus, like focus on cooling/power saving vs. any type of actual usable speed increase.


If someone really wanted a big power increase, then just moving over to a similar CPU but the desktop version provides an increase in speed/power; and yes heat and power consumption as well.

And the improvements are not directed/intended at a headless embedded Ethernet only server based application,such as ROCK with the Linux based RoonOS, but Graphics heavy general purpose desktop applications, driving 4K displays, Bluetooth and WiFi requirements etc.

Now as Intel get to grips with the move to 10nm die sizes, there may be a jump in core processing capability from the increased transistor density, shorter signal paths etc. but this will be later this year, and into 2021/2022 to see these processor across the board in all packages and into the different NUC chassis types.

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Yes, exactly. Although, Intel has been having hiccups in its drive to smaller die sizes. Which has allowed AMD to catchup in many respects. And certainly surpass in terms of core density at reasonable prices.

However I am much more interested in what Intel are doing with the Austin Beach range.
So a fanless Chassis, with the I/O elements on-board and then a separate (up-gradable) commute module. This would make a future-proofed ROCK based server. so with a i3 Module with 8GB RAM, and a 128GB NVMe M.2 SSD for the OS, this is a £500 option - and if/when more CPU is required, swap out the compute module for a i5 etc.

I’ve actually seen pre-orders for Game Focused NUC’s based on the new architecture. And Yes, I agree, very interesting.

Usually not, no. As future generations usually come with support for future technology and also often include changed power requirements, users may not be able to use the new technology or need even a new chassis with the new compute module (Note: Did you notice the coding gaps in the connector strip?). Is there a guarantee how long or over how many generations a given chassis might work?

This is just the same as with docking stations for laptops. While a given new docking station from brand X might work with all current laptops of brand X, the next or next after generation will need a new docking station to support new technology (usually peripheral interconnects).

If one manages to properly estimate the current needs and adds sufficient “headroom”, one will likely not need another compute module for the next three generations passing by. By then the whole technology presented here is either already obsolete and abandoned or has evolved in incompatible ways.

Yep. And it’s not like Intel hasn’t been down this road before. Slot 1 and Slot 2 lasted what, 3 years, before it was phased out and things returned to sockets.

And a current socket H4 rev. 2 (LGA1151v2) CPU won’t work in a older socket H3 (LGA1150) mainboard or a upcoming H5? (LGA1200) mainboard.

If the modularity comes at a higher price compared to the non-modular version, one can usually save money with the non-modular version because future module upgrades are impossible for the reasons listed above. Even if one decides to upgrade while one still can, this doesn’t come fore free, or just the price difference between the current and upgrade module. One usually has to pay the full price for the new module.

BTW: As of now it seems impossible to buy just a compute module. At least I was unable to find a place to do so on the sites linked above.