Low-cost Roon Core

Hi, I’m thinking about setting up a dedicated Roon core but on a tight budget. I’ve seen this on Amazon: mini-PC.
It’s Intel Core I7 3537U and has room for SDD and RAM, so it seems good on first sight. Can someone with experience on this have a look at it and verify if it’s valid for putting Rock on it?

I would stick with a NUC model suggested by Roon here https://help.roonlabs.com/portal/en/kb/articles/roon-optimized-core-kit and put ROCK on it.

Thanks. Indeed Roon suggests this I5 but it’s not available anymore (the price was ok). The suggested I7 is ‘+ €200’…
Small correction, it’s still available from UK but I’m in Belgium, they don’t deliver here. In NL/DE/FR it’s unavailable.
Is a NUC out of Roon’s suggestions a risk? (if yes, I could wait until I’ve saved some more…)

Look on eBay for a nuc they seem to be pretty reliable, I bought an i5 a couple of years ago and it’s been great.
UK example refurbished

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I have read some managed to put ROCK on a NUC which is not on that list and were successful. Roon say they do not guarantee it will work and take no responsibility (which is fair play).

I ordered a NUC8i3BEH this week from a Spanish website www.techinn.com and they had very good prices compared to what I had available in the UK.

As @ged_hickman1 suggested, eBay is also a great place to find good deals.

EDIT: Just seen the site I ordered it from offer to split your payment over three months with Klarna or Paypal. This may help with your finances.


Thanks for the good suggestions! I indeed found some affordable secondhand on ebay, and I’ll have a look at the Spanish site as well.

That’s a very OLD processor

Core i7 -3537U processor released by Intel ; release date: 25 January 2013.

Good luck and try to stick with the models Roon suggest.

What about a used Mac mini? I use a late 2012 for that purpose without problems.

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I run my Rock on an old Zotac mini pc using an i3. More than enough for standard DSP (eg scaling up, speaker correction).
Database runs smoothly. No issues.
Latest Zotacs seem even better to me eg https://www.amazon.co.uk/Zotac-CI620-Micro-Intel®-GRAPHICS/dp/B07H566S5R/ref=pd_sbs_3?pd_rd_w=HQjRY&pf_rd_p=2cc879b3-0437-401a-870d-ced07a584039&pf_rd_r=M2Y2WFAR62MAS69K1ZTA&pd_rd_r=4b8bd3d1-43fe-45a9-88df-24655dc7dc46&pd_rd_wg=oRaSm&pd_rd_i=B07H566S5R&th=1

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Hi. I couldn’t agree more. My i7 2012 Mini handle Roon without any issue or lag… Even when I sit behind (headphone listening) with DSP enabled for crossfeed and equalization is ahead of real time play (any kind of bitrate) From an audio point of view, there is still a lot of power in these old CPU.
Don’t get me wrong, Roon Nucleus is really a nice package but well when a Mac Mini can do the job and do not get your DIY hands too dirty… :wink:

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It will simply work.
I tested roon on a few different PCs and it worked on all of them.
It’s all a matter of speed…well and support. I think if you got a problem which could be hardware related and you are not meeting the min specs, you are out of luck.

so instead of using a cheap new device, maybe use an older nuc from the official list!?

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I bought a NUC8i3BEH awhile back for around $450-ish and it works great. You can buy them now for around $330 or so.

Just know that the i3 is the smallest of the core versions and is intended for modest libraries and limited DSP. You’ll know when it ceases to be a good solution, and perhaps that will never happen.

For me, I tend to “overbuy” and grow into a solution, not out of it. There’s nothing inherently right or wrong about either approach.

Good luck on your setup. It will be hard to go wrong.

I bought secondhand NUC7i3BNB 8GB ram , (120ssd M.2 + 120 ssd 2.5sata) for 160 eur .It “rocks” perfectly.

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My 7i3 handles dsd512 quite easily running at 1.3x and never falters, dsd256 is 1.8x
I bought mine used with ROCK already installed and it was just plug and play, running in under 3 minutes!

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