Thought about titling this, “Talking 'Bout My Generation”, but figured that wasn’t descriptive enough.
I’m looking at NUCs to consider moving in that direction. Roon recommends the NUC8i3BNH (with RAM and SSD) at a minimum. Roon also lists NUCs that they support and shows how to break out the Intel naming ceremony inventions.
So the question: what are the actual differences in NUC generations?
I recognize it’s always best to have “latest generation” of anything, but does an equivalent chip model in a prior generation really make that much difference? For example, is there a real difference between a NUC8i3BNH and a NUC5i3BNH? There’s certainly a difference in price.
Since Roon says they support NUCs back to the NUC5i3xxx and Intel is now up to NUC10’s, I’m just wondering in Roon reality what it means. A simple web search shows quad core vs hex core, hyperthreading, all kinds of tech mumbo-jumbo, opinions that a NUC8i3xxx performs better than a NUC7i7xxx (at what? Doesn’t say).
I’m wondering about Roon-specific generational differences.
You got a bigger problem… Understanding the technology behind it.
Yes a quad Intel i7 will perform better than a i5. This comes down to Core size, and or efficiency,
HT vs none HT, etc…
To make it simple. You can buy a HifIMan Edition X for 1k. But you could also buy a HiFiMan 1000 and cost you 3k… What are the differences if they look the same(Except a few cosmetic changes)?
This also holds true to Roon specific. Roon performance will be better if you throw more resources at it.
aka Better CPU, RAM, Disk Type… etc…
And to be clear this does not mean that you can go and buy a Xeon CPU and 1TB of RAM and roon will do even better… There is a logical limit to which you have to account for…
Knowing what your system is going to be doing and what resources it will need for those services will make a differences when sizing your NUC.
Meaning you could do just fine with a low end i5 NUC with decent amount of RAM if Roon is all is going to be doing…
I have a layman’s understanding about multiple cores, hyperthreading, and the theory behind them. But your answer, “…a quad core Intel i7 will perform better than an i5…” gives me no information that is Roon-specific. When I check out various chips on-line they are compared using benchmark tests - graphics processing, bit throughout, time to complete a series of computations, etc. What I’m trying to get at is what Roon-specific differences there are. Can anyone hear the difference between a 5i3xxx and an 8i3xxx, or are there any difference in data retrieval/refreshing from the core?
Put another way: if Roon were the benchmark test, what differences would the generations of a given chip show?
Roon is not telling you buy anything, except that they recommend a specific model which means they have tested and probably model their own from it. You can go and build your own server with similar spec and you will be just fine.
I want to sit here and tell you the differences but ill be here all day.
Please know that the system recommendations have nothing to do with how better it will sound nor quality… Its all about the user experience which boils down to performance… Understanding technology on the systems help understand why one is better than the other.
Most of the generational differences in the NUCs are
Built in WiFi and Bluetooth - not required by ROCK
Support for dual head 4K or even 8K displays - not required by ROCK
Higher RAM support - for ROCK and 99% of music libraries 8GB is enough, there has been one case on this forum of a ROCK user needing more RAM.
Faster SSD support - if a NUC5i3 with 8GB and a M.2 SATA SSD can do the same benchmarked workload as later versions, ROCK doesn’t need it.
Higher CPU Boost speeds - again this is only when the CPU workload triggers the clock boost, which is only meant to be for short periods hence ‘Turbo Boost’, but the trade off is heat, which kicks the active cooling in, which as a fan makes noise - acoustic and electrical.
Either get the most basic NUC Xi3 available, with 8GB RAM and a SSD
or a secondhand NUC5i3/NUC6i3 and save some money.
The most basic NUC? Xi3? I want to see when the system load on a “basic” Xi3 is like for roon. specially Xi3. It is old. Is an i3 1.3GHz.
And if you going to do DSD and or upconvert…
I wouldn’t do it.
1- Has been there since gen1.
4- Faster SSD? What does that mean? You mean NVMe SSD?
5- Wrong. You just dont get higher cpu boost, You get higher cpu frequency’s period. You can set the CPU to clock at full performance. Also you get better FSB, efficiency, etc…
Technical data sheet for a NUC5i3MYBE
2.10GHz i3 CPU 14nm with 3M cache (virtually no difference in no of CPU pipes & clock speed used in a NUC to a 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th Gen CPU. It is only now Intel are releasing 10nm architectures)
Sorry, what I have proved is that a NUC5i3MYHE with 8GB RAM and a M.2 SATA SSD can run ROCK just as well as a NUC6, NUC7, NUC8 machine - it still does multi zone DSP, it does format downsampling and format upsampling.
There is no requirement for the latest and greatest NUC and Intel CPU Architectture to run ROCK in 99% of the cases of users.
Now if anyone wants to spend more on a NUC7i7 quad core machine, sure, but it is going to spend nearly all of its time, after the initial library load, where the file analysis does take processing, doing very little.
If you are trying to penny pinch while dealing with a $100+ annual db program then…
I built an 8th Gen Tall Case NUC (put it into an Akasa Turing Case though to go fanless) this weekend and have everything up and running easy peezy. Running better than the i3 2018 Mac mini I was using for my Roon Core.
I went with Samsung 256gb NVMe SSD, 16GB Ram, and i7 8TH gen NUC just to be a bit future proofed. Future Proof is mostly about headroom and this gives me plenty of it for less than ½ the cost of a Nucleus+ which was my first choice.