Looking for advice - how to pick the right NUC for a Roon server

Hi there

I’m new here and quite new to all the audio terminology. I got Roon two weeks ago and I’m excited to start using it for my home setup. I’m considering buying a NUC, getting a fanless case, and using Ubuntu to run Roon Server as a service and launch Kodi on startup. I’m assuming this won’t cause any issues since I’ll never use both at the same time. I might switch over to ROCK at some point.

I was thinking of the following specs:
256 GB M.2 SSD
(+ a 1 TB 2,5 inch HDD that I have laying around for music storage, which I might switch for a large HDD or 2TB SSD)

The ROCK specifications have me a little confused over which NUC I should get. I’ll be using Roon to play my FLACs on two setups using DSP - does that count as ‘(heavy) DPS use’ and mean that I’d be better off buying an i5 or i7? The differences between NUC generations make it a little hard to make comparisons - it seems the NUC10’s don’t offer an improvement over NUC8’s. Would it then be better to get a NUC8 i3 or a NUC8 i5, or would the (currently unsupported) NUC11 i3 be a more futureproof option?

Thanks for your advice!

Well two comments.

  1. If you are setting up a PC and not using ROCK then it doesn’t matter which NUC you get, or desktop for that matter (which is what I use).

  2. If you want to get a NUC and then later load ROCK on it, then, limit yourself to the following Intel Nuc Model Numbers:

More about ROCK’s hardware support…

We have worked with Intel to support its Intel NUC line of products. They are low power high performance easy to install units that work very nicely as a Roon Core Server. The models we support are:
  1. It is the NUC models and motherboards that matter because ROCK only has drivers for those devices included and you cannot load drivers on ROCK since it is closed. And, since it is closed and you are used to being able to “do stuff” on the computer, you might just stick with Linux. I have ROCK NUC as a second Core, my primary is not ROCK as I want to monitor cpu temp, network usage, etc etc, which you cannot do while running ROCK.

You are correct that the 10th gen NUCs are not a big performance improvement, although they appear to consume less power. Currently on Amazon, in the US anyway, you can buy a NUC8i5BEH either by itself or fully configured with what you need (except for the 2nd SSD) for a fraction of what they used to cost.

At these prices, I’d get the NUC8i5 and not look back

I agree!

I have a NUC8i5 running Roon ROCK flawlessly. If you do decide to go down the ROCK option, it is all you are likely to need.

1 Like

Thank you all for your advice!

I went for the following:
Intel NUC8i5BEH
Akasa Turing case + Akasa M.2 Heatsink (NUC’s going to be in the living room)
Samsung 980 250GB SSD
2 * Crucial CT4G4SFS824A 4GB

1 Like

I just set up a NUC8i5BEH yesterday running Ubuntu and Roon Server, and made it my core. So far so good, though I haven’t really put it through its paces yet. It came with a 256gb m.2 drive and 8gb of ram, and I dropped a 4tb ssd into it to actually store all my data for Roon and anything else I might put on it (like a PLEX server or the like). This weekend I need to set up SAMBA so I can easily move media to it and handle backups.

1 Like

Seems like a good idea to take it one step at a time, Ubuntu takes some getting used to :slight_smile:

I’ve set up Kodi this weekend and can now play my movies over Samba. It’s a lot more responsive than I had thought.

I’ll also be replacing the old 2,5 inch 1 TB HDD with a 2 TB SSD, since it’s now the only component that makes noise.