Linux on i5 NUC


I am just seeking some advice as I am about to purchase a NUC to run Roon Server on and would just like to make sure I have the right solution.

I am about to purchase a 5i5RYK NUC and was thinking of the Samsung SM951 128GB SSD and 16GB of 1600Mhz DDR 3 RAM. I was thinking of using Ubuntu 16.04LTS Server. Media is on a NAS but could be local on a USB HDD.

I have some questions which I hope some people can advise on. Please help if you can, hope they aren’t too noddy!

  1. Is the 5i5RYK NUC suitable? I believe it is, but it will be located in the listening room. I can source it for only £190.
  2. Is the 950 Pro SSD a better option than the SM951
  3. Has anybody tried it on Ubuntu 16.04 and how was it?
  4. How do you access the Roon Core is it via web browser into the Roon server?

Thanking you in anticipation


I’m running pretty much the same config: NUC6i5SYK with 16GB an a 128MB SM951 NVME M.2 with Ubuntu Server 16.04. I have two USB3 drives connected for data and backup.

It’s running fast and stable. When first installing, the system would not boot without a (non-bootable) USB device attached. Haven’t looked into it further, since I always have disks attached.

Roonserver is configured/controlled by Roon Remote in any flavor you fancy (Win, Mac, iOS, Android).

I’m using a 6i5SYH, 8GB DDR4, and 250GB Samsung Evo M.2 SSD. I didn’t bother with Ubuntu Server, too much hassle, just got Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, installed with a keyboard and monitor I have for my Mac laptop, turned off GUI services, and rebooted. Working beautifully, serving from a Synology NAS. For maintenance tasks I ssh from my Macbook to the NUC, for everyday control I use the Roon Mac app. I’m still trying to get the Roon database to backup automatically to my NAS. I have a folder mounted properly on the NUC with a suitable /etc/fstab line, and I can run the short script to back up manually with no problem, but I need to debug my cron setup, been too busy with other stuff.


Thank you for your replies. Fernando are you running it on Ubuntu Desktop then, as I was wondering if that was an option?

Roonserver runs just fine on Ubuntu Desktop – it’s just that you will have some unnecessary overhead compared to Ubuntu Server on what is basically a headless box.


I only have a collection of about 20k tracks so would desktop have too much of an overhead? I might have a play getting Ubuntu server if it does.

You’ll have no problem running Roonserver with 20K tracks on Desktop.

It’s just that it gives you a bunch of extra software/processes that you don’t need and will have to upgrade, etc. A lean server is preferable, but not required. :slight_smile:

Thank you very much for your replies

I run Roon Server on Ubuntu Desktop because the convolutions of installing Ubuntu Server seemed just ridiculous. However, after I installed everything, I disabled all the GUI-related services:

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When you finally installed the desktop were you able to install Roon Server easily without having do the all command line entries i.e ff something or other

I was also wondering if SGC do anything special with their i5 box i.e. optimise the Linux in some way. Does anybody know. i.e. if I install Ubuntu Desktop, and use my Meridian MS600 endpoint is their any way I can improve the SQ with those components.

Would just buying the ST sound better than the NUC with Ubuntu?

Thank you

I used the Roon-provided shell commands to install Roon Server, I’ve been using *nix variants since 1979 :wink:

I doubt that whatever magic SGC do will change SQ here, but it might make Roon slightly more responsive. In my case, the i5 is plenty, the current responsiveness bottleneck is the old NAS where I have my music.

great thank you

Hi again

I would be interested to know if you are happy with the SQ of your setups, and would like to know what endpoints you are using. I found my current setup which is Synology NAS, Roon Core running on Macbook Pro and Meridian end point to sound better than my Sooloos MC200/MS600 setup

I come from the exact same Sooloos setup you have (connected to a pair of DSP5200’s). When starting out with Roon, I replaced the MC200 with a Mac mini running Roon, later Roonserver. I found the sound to be identical to Sooloos.

With the advent of Roon Bridge and Roon for Linux, I replaced the MS600 with a Raspberry Pi & Hifiberry Digi+. To my surprise, no difference of any importance. (I have run the two in tandem for about a month). I replaced the Mac mini with a NUC running Ubuntu server. Not surprisingly: no difference.

I have since added a MiniDSP with Dirac room correction to the chain, which does make a BIG difference – but that’s a different story.

I can’t think of any reason why a Roon setup would sound better than Sooloos when using the same endpoint (not disputing your ears, just sharing my experiences).

I guess the moral of the story is that it is hard to go wrong with Roon. :slight_smile:

Interesting feedback. I have heard so much about NUC’s not being ideal for audio, and stock LINUX not being optimised for audio playback that I was getting concerned, and was having a re-think about maybe not building a NUC and buying a Sonic Transporter, which is I believe an audio playback optimised LINUX box.

A bit disappointed that Meridian doesn’t improve the SQ significantly. :frowning:

Incidentally what was your MiniDSP with DIRAC please?

When used with a networked, streaming endpoint (like Roon Bridge or your Meridian MS600), the computer you run Core on will make no difference whatsoever. When you attach a DAC directly to your Core system, it’s a different ballgame.

The Sonic Transporter is a very nice solution for those not experienced with Linux, but will make no audible difference in a streaming situation.

Let’s look at it the other way around: the measly Pi/Digi+ punches way above its weight. These are my observations in my system setup though – it probably helps that most of the Meridian special sauce (upsampling, apodising, D/A conversion) that the MS600 brings in, is also present in my DSP speakers (I never used the D/A functionality in the MS600).

MiniDSP DDRC-22D. Let’s start a new thread if you need more info, as not to derail this one.

i have built my NUC and installed Ubuntu 16.04 desktop onto it.

RoonServer has been installed and has come up that the install is successful.

How do i now tell it what folder to watch etc and enter my credentials (if I need to) please?

Just connect to Roonserver with any remote of choice: Win/Mac/iOS/Android – all configuration is done with Roon Remote.