Need advice with Roon build on older PC - OS? MOCK?

I recently gave my daughter our PC with the Roon core. Subsequently, gaming, video production, and lack of access are forcing me to rethink the location of Roon. I’ve evaluated some options, but it seems that my best (and easiest) option is to use the PC components I have lying around the house to build a dedicated Roon PC.

The rig has the following
Asus H170M-Plus Motherboard
Intel i5 6500
16 GB Ram
Brand New Samsung 970 M.2 SSD 500GB.
Other hard drives of varying speeds and sizes
a very basic gpu

I have three endpoints; one Bluesound Node and two Bluesound speakers. The Node is wired, the speakers are wired to an extender.

My library currently consists of 3064 albums in FLAC format and many yet to burn.

I currently have no OS for this system…everything is from scratch. I thought about the MOCK/ROCK, Linux, Windows, et al, but before jumping in I figured I’d ask the more educated community.

I’d like to keep the cost to a minimum.

What OS should I use? Will a MOCK work? Has anyone had success here? Is there any component that I am missing? Something that could dramatically improve SQ?

Thanks in advance for your commentary. And, I’ll be sure to let everyone know how it all works out.

MOCK should work and that processor and memory should allow for a decent sized library. SQ is pretty much locked in. But MOCK is easy to try. My only caveat is the location of your music. If it is on a portable drive or NAS then go ahead but with MOCK you cannot store music on the system drive. You can with other OS’s. The benefit of a MOCK build or other free distro’s is they only cost time to try.

I haven’t tried this exact mobo, but odds are it likelywill work. The main issue would be with ethernet drivers. Otherwise this will likely make a good Roon Server!

Depending on the motherboard capabilities there are no issues with additional drives for music storage, besides the restrained system drive, that is.

Drives plural? I though ROCK only supports one internal drive (as that is all you would ever find in a NUC).

Hmmm, that is a good question. I’ll look into it!
But what we can agree on is that RoonOS supports att least two drives, one system drive which is only used for OS and Roon DB plus a media drive, that will be known as Rock Internal Storage or similar…

Thank you for your responses so far. I may try installing a MOCK today on an M.2 SSD. Hopefully, the OS will recognize other drives set up in the case. I’m not really sure there’s a difference between an internal and external drive. If one is recognized by the primary (OS) drive wouldn’t the other? As far as the ethernet drivers, I’ll cross my fingers that I don’t need to go there.

If I hit a wall, I may quickly jump ship and install Linux or just go to Windows. Windows is what we use on the other machines in our tiny network.

I do not believe there is any difference as far as Rock(Mock) is concerned as to where the media drive lives, internal or external so you should not worry about that aspect I think.
Good luck with the project

Sorry, Henry is correct! Roon OS does NOT support more than one internal media drive. However, you may add as many as you wish (i assume) via USB.

And should you chose to go down the Windows route, you can also “join disks” in software, making them appear as one drive to Roon and other applications. (You may be able to do this in Bios settings also, fooling Roon OS into seeing one drive when it really is a JBOD array.)

Hmm. That throws a wrench in things. Although, it probably makes using a MOCK easier. That is if I can build my library on an external drive from a windows machine and just plug it in to the Roon/MOCK machine. Will it be that simple?

Are there serious benefits of having a dedicated Roon machine as opposed to building a general media server that also houses the Roon Core?

You can even leave the external drive connected to a Windows machine and point Roon to that location as a music storage location as long as both machines are on the same network.

Having a ROCK or MOCK increases the chances that you can “set it and forget it” - single use appliance that does one thing, doesn’t get resource congestion, has just the packages it needs and nothing else, etc. Harder to mess up, much less to fiddle with. So low “asset utilization” but also low “worry about it”. Not saying no one has issues - if your library gets too big for resources, or networking becomes a bottleneck or… but observation over years here is that it seems less likely to have you fussing over the machine on ROCK/MOCK than Win/Mac/Linux. But I don’t have the data (only Roon does) and I have confirmation bias, having gone to ROCK a while back.

I successfully built the ROCK/MOCK today with a couple of hiccups. The system is running and I got the MOCK to recognize my backup after some trial and error. I had to move the backup to the ROCK/Data/Storage file to accomplish this. I also successfully attached an external USB drive with a partial library. The new MOCK is still not recognizing my shared drives on my other PCs. Additionally, my Win 11 PC recognizes the ROCK in the Network, but the Win 10 PC does not. Does anyone have suggestions/fixes for these issues?

I had to rebuild the database a few times for whatever reason. It seems that I have to log in and rebuild every time I leave. This also means that I have to reconnect to Tidal each time. Hopefully, this will change.

Lastly, I found the following line “If you’ve connected a USB hard drive to Roon OS, or if your Roon OS device has a separate internal hard drive for storing media, you can access this storage using Roon OS’s Data directory” under “Using Roon’s Data Directory

This suggests that you can add internal drives. Has anyone tried this?

Thanks for your help!

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As noted I believe there is a limit of ONE internal drive - for music., and you must format it within RoonOS GUI before you can copy files to it.

USB external drives, windows drive sharing or a NAS is really the best option for multiple drives.

Re the windows issues make sure you have firewall rules to allor Roon and RAAT in / out or just turn off completely to troubleshoot

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You could always install Ubuntu server, and Roon server. Opens up many possibilities, and allows multiple internal drives, etc.

Ubuntu server: Ubuntu Server - for scale out workloads | Ubuntu

I am running Roon Core on a Dell PC with the following:
Optiplex 3700
i5 9th generation
16gb RAM
250gb SSD (can’t remember the make).
6tb WD RED (5400 rpm) HDD (6500 albums or there abouts)
Windows 11 Pro

If I remember correctly the total cost was under £600

I set the machine up over two years ago and have rarely had to log onto it (I use remote desktop). I copy files to the HDD from another PC. So I think your setup would be fine to run Windows - I’m no expert on the other linux based options.

Hope this helps.

As of now, everything is stable. I added and formated an internal drive and I am able to access the drive and add music remotely. It’s nice not having to wake a PC to use Roon.