New (2nd hand) NUC - What to install?

Just bought a 2nd hand (NUCI7i5BNH i5-7260U) without any disks, and originally I was planning to a big m.2 and install ROCK to check it out, but found out I had to get both a m.2 and a SSD as ROCK doesn’t allow the OS to be on the same disk as the library for some reason, so now I’m at a crossroads and not sure what to do.

I can still get both and go ROCK but that’s expensive and maybe a little boring as it’s locked to ony one purpose, or get a 2TB m.2 and run Win10 or a Linux Build… I’m a long time Windows user, but I’m open to trying out an easy Linux build, and have tried in the past and kinda liked it. It’s cheaper, and maybe less taxing on the resources?

So help me out with your thought and ideas, own experiences and errors… bring it all! :slight_smile:

If you are going to run ROCK, an M.2 over 128 GB will be wasted.

I run Roon on a WIN10 i5 NUC. There’s no SQ difference between that and a ROCK machine.

ROCK is geared toward running Roon, so it lessens the possibility of OS conflicts.

I’ve never had a problem with Roon on WIN10.

Personally I like Linux Mint a lot. I haven’t tried all of the literally hundreds of Linux builds out there offcoarse but this one fits somewhere between windows 7 and OSX. It is also pretty nice for Linux beginners since it has a built in app installer. There is also a online appstore so all the general software can be installed without having to deal with any command line too much.
I have tried Roon on Linux Mint, ROCK and on my main system it is running on Windows 10. I don’t experience much of a difference in speed or snappiness. Sometimes I thought one was faster than the other but it turned out the difference was moslty caused by what was in the cache.

Nice thing about playing around with Linux in general is that you can very easily try different builts just by running it from an USB stick

Unfortunatly Roon does not have a user interface for Linux so it also runs just as a server. If you also want that Windows or maybe Hackintosch is the way to go. Or run Roon in a virtual machine under android. Choices choices.

I’ve run Roon on a Win10 NUC, and Rock on a NUC. Not really any difference in performance, but the headless, appliance like functionality of ROCK is really nice. It truly is set and forget, and software upgrades are automatic and trouble free (in my experience). You only need a 256GB m.2 for rock, and a 256GB M.2 and a 2TB Sata III SSD should cost no more than a 2TB m.2 drive, so I’d go for ROCK.


I think I might try out Linux, just because it would be fun and interesting getting to know Linux a bit more. I’ve ran Roon headless on my previous NUC running Win10, so I’m used to running it headless anyway and won’t miss the GUI. How do I best access the Linux box from my main Win10 machine, and how is it transfering files between the two? Sorry, this might be out of the Roon area of expertise but I just want it to run flawlessly when needed.

Thanks for your insight so far!

I might use the small m.2 + SSD option running Linux as well though, so I can switch to ROCK later if I change my mind.

I don’t think a small m.2 SSD with a 2.5" SATA HDD is more expensive than one single 2TB m.2. You don’t have to buy an expensive SSD to store music only.


File transfer can be done directly via USB or via sambashare

Also, @Henrik_Richter_Schie would presumably be saving on the cost of a Windows license for the new NUC, if he decided not to go with Linux instead of ROCK…

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I own the exact same NUC. I did my build with Windows 10 Pro. But with
a) the massive overhead of the Windows OS running a gazillion Services to make it all things to all people, and
b) the continual degradation of quality of Windows Updates due to Microsoft getting rid of a huge chunk of their QA staff that did manual testing on a very heterogeneous set of hardware and now instead do automated testing on homogeneous VMs and literally expect us to do part of their testing …
… I wish I did my build using Linux. I may rebuild it one day.