NUC compatibility for Roon 2.0

Is the NUC10i7FNH still the recommended device for large libraries with Roon 2.0? I’ve noticed a number of support problems with NUC 10 and don’t want to start down the wrong path.

How large? i7 NUCs are the devices suggested for more demanding use but they have their limits too.

Thanks for responding. I’m at 79k+ tracks now but will be over 100k once I have ROCK set up. I didn’t see anything in the recommended list larger than the NUC10i7FNH which is a 6 core i7 10710U up to 4.7 GHz with 12mb cache. I’ll be using a Samsung 980 Pro 500Gb NVMe SSD with 8 or 16 mb RAM and a fast WD USB 3.1 5TB drive.

The spec says 12,000+ albums which at 10 tracks per album is 120,000 tracks so it should be fine. If you can get a smaller M.2 you might save a bit of cash but it doesn’t really matter. Also what connector is on the external drive? I’m not sure how compatible ROCK is with USB 3.1.

Besides the NUC, I’m using a bunch of hardware I have laying around after upgrading my gaming PC so it’s all sunk cost. The NUC supports USB 3 and Thunderbolt but the drives will all fallback to whatever they are connected to and USB 3.0 will be fine.

I was checking on recommendations because I’m concerned that Roon will release a new version of ROCK that supports secure boot and UEFI which will open up access to much more powerful devices soon after I set this up but I haven’t seen anything indicating that will happen soon.

strong textFor 100k tracks a i7 will be more than sufficient for at least double or triple that.

If you are only running a few zones, less than 6 of concurrent playback, or excessive DSP such as DSD upconversion a NUC10i5 would also be fine.
For ROCK it’s all about the single thread performance.
See this comparison What's coming in Roon OS 2.0 (not Roon 2.0, but Roon OS 2.0)? - #454 by simon_pepper

Also my comments about coming from a NUC5i3 used with ROCK since 2016 to a NUC7i7DNKE (which is a Gen8 NUC with quad core CPU) I have not noticed any usable differences in my setup with a library of circa 100k (8k albums) on a NAS with RAID1 10TB volume (my library is 65% 24-bit HiRes and no lossy formats in the rest).

So for most Roon users a NUC10i7 is totally overkill.


Thanks for the response and the 2.0 info.

I got the NUC10i7FNH bare bones for almost half price (less than many 8’s) plus I already had the other parts, so the cost wasn’t a big factor. Also the NUC 10 has a lower TDP than the 8 due to the lower powered GPU and more efficient CPU architecture so it’s really better for music even though it would be worse for something that required more powerful graphics.

A single thread per stream makes sense because it’s a single linear operation but I would be surprised if it wasn’t actually using 1 thread to read the stream into a buffer and another thread to stream it out with a very accurate clock. I don’t know how stripped down ROCK is but I would be interested to know if you were able to monitor it with something like htop or know if it supports 1 or 2 threads per core. Since the I7-10710U has hyper-threading it would be nice if all 12 threads are being used for running processes.

Unfortunately with ROCK there is no access below the application and a Web management page.
So no htop, no CPU or Memory usage probes etc

I’m fairly new to Roon and my current knowledge of ROCK is that it’s “a stripped down version of Linux” but I’ll be reading up for a couple of days while I’m waiting for the NUC to arrive. Do you know of any good technical resources for ROCK I should check out - I’m an EE/CS and was hoping ROCK was an open source project but apparently not.

I’m getting the components ready for my NUC but there are 2 questions I haven’t found good answers for:

  1. Does my SSD need to be formatted or does Etcher take care of this before it writes img.gz?
  2. Does anyone have experience on whether a USB drive or a SATA drive is best for a NUC instrall? On paper they are about the same but there are two considerations that will be best answered by those who have tried both options - A) does using a SATA drive cause internal noise & heat problems and B) does the USB drive protocol overhead vs. dedicated SATA protocol make a difference in real world scenarios (e.g. this drive is only used for the music files which should be a small percentage of available bandwidth for either drive type)?

Sounds like you have made the choice just to reassure you I bought the same NUC 6 months ago.

I added 32GB (because I could and RAM is cheap) but 16 Gb would be fine for your library size.

Beware a 4Tb HDD will hold way more than you’re talking about depending on your file sizes. Mine is 60% classical so low file count of bigger files in general.

My library is 130k (3Tb) on an internal Crucial 4Tb SSD , I have also run an 1 Tb external USB HDD with no issues.

In use it never breaks into a sweat and is totally silent

Good choice and a piece of cake to build,. (Maybe check out Darko’s video its really “idiot level” but very thorough).

The ROCK install guide is all you need , the only tricky points are enabling Legacy Mode in the BIOS and remembering to download the Codecs file. An old codger like me managed it !! :smiling_imp: so …

External drive is fine for music files, makes it more flexible to move them if unit has a fault and adding more to it from another source.

Rock isn’t a stripped down Linux it’s a purpose built Linux os for Roon. It’s not based on any other distro they built it from scratch so it has very limited driver support as it’s built specifically to run on supported nucs. That said it does seem to run nice on most intel based motherboards from the same periods but ymmv.

Hey, thanks for the info. I just finished getting it set up and like you say, it was pretty simple. I’m also running on 16 gb of reasonably fast (2666) single file DIMMs (2x8). I’m running a smaller 512 gb super-fast Samsung 980 Pro NVMe SSD and a 4 tb WD USB 3.0 drive for the music. My library is still under 2 tb but I will probably get over 3 tb in the next year so the extra space will get used. Now I just need to find a way to get all my wife and daughters playlists moved from Spotify over to my Tidal and Qobuz accounts so I can cancel that family account I never use. Who knows, they may even develop an ear for HD.

Thanks for the info. I read that it was a stripped down distro in a few reviews but hadn’t had time to verify it. I checked GitHub and Roon Labs has some great open source resources for Meridian which will be very handy since I have Meridian stacks in my home office and A/V room. I haven’t had a chance to check any details on that but Meridian has used the same control interface for a while so I assume it must use that in some way.

I finished setting up my NUC10 tonight and it’s working great. It’s so nice to not to have the Roon Core on my gaming PC since that thing can heat my office by itself on a cold winter night. I would appreciate any links you may have to ROCK technical design documents.

Roon team used to work for Meridian they created

Yes, the CTO and CEO have been working together for quite a while. The relationship between members of the executive team is one of the most important factors for successful companies and those 2 have been working together for almost 15 years.