Just wanted to do a quick share with what I settled on for a cheap Roon Core. I was browsing Woot! when I found their listings for refurbed micro PCs. Took a flier and spent about $350 on a refurbished HP Elitedesk micro PC. Basic spec is an Intel I7-6700T, 500GB SSD and 16GB ram. Pre-installed Windows 10 pro. Turned it on, installed Roon core for Windows and I was up and running, fully configured in under 30 minutes. It’s been running 24/7 for the last month without a hiccup! I’m actually shocked at how solid it is! Anyway, don’t be afraid of buying an inexpensive refurb to run the Core software. I figure when Microsoft finally drops support for Win10 I’ll load up Rock on this little box and see how that works out. At worst I’ll only be out the $350.00, but that’s a ways away!
It is possible to upgrade a system with pre Gen 8 Intel CPUS - it involves doing a clean install of Win 11 from either ISO or via a boot USB disk created with the Media Creation Tool. My media server system is running a 7th gen CPU and it worked just fine.