Music storage for Intel NUC running ROCK

About 6 months ago, I built a NUC8i7BEH on an Akasa Turing fanless case running Roon Rock (headless server). So far I have been using my old external HDD for music storage. Everything has been running well so far. I am now thinking of upgrading to an internal (2.5 inch) 2TB SSD. Has anyone tried both the external HDD and the internal SSD? Is there any improvement in sound quality when using internal SSD? Thanks for your feedback.

SQ is not dependent on the form factor of your storage device.

People use an SSD for the speed of accessing the Roon library…

Thanks. But does the increased speed offer any advantages to music storage for the 8i7BEH Roon Rock?

No. Music files can live anywhere.

Some people even have them on a NAS.

The only place speed is important is when accessing the Roon library.

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I believe that for long term internal HDD is better than internal SSD or external HDD/SSD:

  • SSD will fail sooner than HDD.
  • You can disable that external USB port that now is dedicated to external USB.

OK Thanks. I currently have an internal M2 250GB SSD running Roon Rock and Roon Library. The board allows an additional 2.5 inch drive to be installed internally for music storage. But I guess if there is no SQ improvement whatsoever- I might as well continue with my existing external HDD?

You might as well… Unless you want to have one box instead of two boxes sitting on the shelf.

I recently built a fanless NUC10i7FNH1 using the HDPlex case (photo attached) and installed a 2TB internal hard drive. I am listening using a Synthesis Titan A100 Integrated and Harbeth 30s.

I have done critical listening and I can say I have heard no difference in sound quality among these Core configurations (wired Cat 6 in a different room than the stereo).

  1. Mac Mini 2014 i7 with internal HD
  2. Mac mini 2014 i7 with external HD
  3. Mac mini 2014 i7 with internal SSD (after the HD crashed)
  4. Intel NUC10i7FNH1 with internal SSD Hard drive
  5. Fanless HDPlex Intel NUC10i with external HD
  6. Fanlesss HDPlex Intel NUC10i with internal SSD (current configuration)

That being said, there is a certain elegance to a fanless core without any moving parts. I put the 200W power supply in my rig so the whole thing is pretty self contained (though it can use a 19.5V DC power supply instead).

Off topic: I have, however, heard significant decrease in sound quality when I tried the Hifi Berry Digi+ Pro over my Squeezebox Touch being used as endpoints. I recently acquired a Pi2 Design PiAES and it really sounds great. I think the fact the Hifi Berry Digi+ uses the Pi 5v power supply really is a detriment.

I haven’t done enough critical listening to say that the PiAES is better than the Squeezebox (coaxial, Cardas Clear Digital), but my instinct is that there is more dynamics.

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Oh and no sound quality difference running Roon Rock or Roon Server.

The primary way that there CAN be a sound difference is in the actual location where the NUC and HDD are physically located. If they are in the listening room itself, the spinning HDD will have a sound characteristic that will blend in with the music.

So, if that is the setup, then adding the SSD, whether it is internal or external, can actually help with a more pure sound. Also, as already noted, the added benefit of going internal is less boxes and cables.

TBH, I’m damned if I can hear the HDD in my fanless NUC if I’m more than 12 inches away from it. I certainly don’t notice it if I’m sitting in my listening seat 15 feet away.


Again, that will depend on the HDD itself, as various brands, series, and speeds all vary and have pros and cons. And, certainly, it is much better with today’s technology and advancements…if you ever experienced some of the SCSI drives from the 90’s to today’s versions, it will be evident how bad some drives can be for low/no sounds.

Doubt many are rocking SCSI drives from the 90’s for their current audio system :crazy_face: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I think some of today’s NAS devices give the 90s hard drive a run for the money.

Based on what? If the SSD is mostly used for reading, as in this use case, I don’t know of any evidence for your claim. In fact, for this use case, I’ve had 2TB HDDs die sooner than same age 2TB SSDs.

There is a slight convenience edge for having your music files on an external drive. Portability and speed of swap-out if failed.

I have to side with Fernando on the longevity issue. SSDs have a generally good record … thus far. Heat is the primary worry.

This is the opposite of reality. SSD reliability and MTBF is significantly better than any hard drive full of heat and moving parts. The only compelling case for hard drives in modern computing is for long-term storage of huge amounts of data where SSDs would be unrealistically expensive.


Interesting. Just wondered if the type of storage disc (HDD vs SSD) and how it is configured (internal vs external) can be a factor on the amount of electrical noise or jitter feeding through to the music files being streamed?

I’ll back this opinion up, long term storage reliability is something I have to worry about a lot in the day job. SSD reliability was a source of a lot of worry 10 years ago but they’re emerging as a reliable, albeit pricey storage medium. I now own several SSDs and the oldest is 9 years and still going strong. Never had one fail yet. During that time I’ve thrown away a lot of failed spinning disks, particularly Seagate which IMHO are so unreliable you’d have to use violence to persuade me to purchase.

The short answer here is no. Read times are so quick that, unless the device is failing, your disk is never going to be the cause of jitter. Electrical noise from disks reaching analogue reproduction is just a myth, others may believe differently but they believe wrong. You might be able to prove me wrong with a pathologically badly engineered example but it would take some work. Audible mechanical noise from spinning discs can be an issue and is capable of spoiling a listening session. SSDs can also produce an audible noise, a high pitched whine/chatter, if you drive them hard but I’ve only heard them on a test bench with my ear to the disk.

Thanks. Just a follow up question, if I may.

Some USB tethered drives are powered externally with their own power source; while other drives are powered through the USB bus. For audiophile applications, does the power source make any difference?