NUC i7, 8GB - will this be enough computing power?

You need an M.2 SATA (or nvme) drive. 64gb, 128gb or 256gb. You should note that Nucleus comes with 64 I believe. Bigger isn’t really required. If you intend to use ROCK it and the associated database will reside there.

Two TB will store a nice library. Don’t forget about backup storage to your music files as well as storage for Roon’s database backups.

Please see List Your NUC Capabilities Here and the rest of this thread re. how a NUC5i3 performs with ROCK. The unnecessary power of this i7 CPU will just be heat, causing active cooling, and electrical noise of a fan.

I run Ubuntu 18.04 LTS & Roon Server on a 64GB M.2 SATA on an i7 NUC with 8GB of RAM. My library currently has ~50k songs.

Logging in and looking at Roon running, it is usually using a small percentage of CPU & RAM. I can patch the operating system while playing music without any problems.

Re the comment by @simon_pepper above, if I had it to do all over again, I might get something a bit more energy efficient and cooler. Mine is a 28 watt model instead of one of the 15 watt ones. It runs hotter and it’s a bit of overkill. But so far, it’s worked really well so that’s a minor complaint.

My comments and benchmark tests only apply to ROCK running on an Intel NUC.

My overall point is once you have an striped down Linux-based OS running as a headless server, so no Desktop elements, 4K display drivers, on-board WiFi and Bluetooth drivers, just doing simple network I/O and core based algorithmic processing, there is very little difference between the NUC5, 6, 7 & 8 generations, plus if the required processing can be done on a 15W i3, there is no need for the i5 or i7 which will just generate more heat while idling. During normal playback of Redbook or HiRes upto 24/192 or DSD64 there is no format conversion DSP being undertaken.

The Room EQ DSP didn’t seem to introduce any sufficient load, simultaneously supporting multiple zones with Room EQ DSP. Then throw in some format conversion DSP and there was still simultaneous playback across multiple zones.
What more does anyone need?

1 Like

How much DSP horsepower with a current 8 series NUC i3 have. Small library around 12000 tracks, plus Qobuz adds. 8gb RAM, 128gb M2 SSD. Will this be adequate to run DSD128 and up to 24/384 flac, with things like Crossfeed and EQ? Think I’m going to give RCK a try. Thanks.


See here for benchmark tests of my NUC5i3 based ROCK server running various different DSP based tasks, including Room EQ, upconverting and downconverting, sometimes at the same time.

1 Like

Perfect. Thank you.

It should be enough. I ran a 5 series i5 with the same size SSD and RAM and it had enough grunt to upsample everything up to DSD128 and run multiple end points without using the multiple core option. An 8i3 should be more than adequate.

1 Like

Thanks Henry

@simon_pepper, you were absolutely right about the unnecessary, droaning fan! I got a good deal on the NUC, but the fan is annoying.

Has anyone modified their NUC by swapping out the fan with something less noisy?

Never hear the fan on the NUC - firstly in the BIOS settings, make it Quiet (but not fanless) secondly it doesn’t come on during any playback scenario (the advantage of an i3 over an unnecessary i7 CPU is heat production - the i3 gets the work required done without outputing additional heat, which then needs to be actively cooled - with less heat, there is passive cooling from the NUC casework.
Lastly my NUC running ROCK is away in the study, upstairs from the listening environment, as part of the ‘backend’ servers (NAS drives etc.) and not the ‘front-end’ audio components.

As such, no need to consider any passive cooling cases or quiet fan solutions.

Now, I have changed the fans on the NAS unit for better, silent versions, as I could, as times, hear them when in the same room.


@simon_pepper Thank you for the information on running the fan. Do you happen to have a helpful link on how to interact with the BIOS of the NUC? Would I need to plug a keyboard and monitor directly into my NUC and jump in during startup? I would love to set my fan to “quiet”. Thanks, Peter

Yes, plug a KB and Monitor, then on boot ‘F2’ to enter the BIOS.
Any setting changes it is from within Intel’s Visual BIOS.

What are you doing in Roon to cause the NUC to be working that hard to have the fan running?

You can expect during initial library upload, the Roon Core to be working hard to identify and analyse the tracks - however this is just a one-off function and once done, it is only new incremental content that needs to be analysed.


Thanks again @simon_pepper! I have 1TB of music and Roon seemed to catalog it pretty quickly (within a couple hours) and then go into “watching for new files in real time” mode. I assumed that this meant it is done analyzing tracks as well, but was kind of surprised it had finished that quickly after what I’ve read about time to analyze. How would I know when Roon is done analyzing (as opposed to done cataloging)?

As for the fan, it seemed to be running continuously, even when I was not engaging with Roon. That remains the case right now. And speaking of “case”, the chassis of the NUC is cool as a cucumber - no sign of head whatsoever. All that left me clueless as to why the fan was running at all, as well!

If it is still analyzing your data you will probably see a spinning circle in the upper right corner of your control app. Once the data are cataloged (relatively quickly), Roon needs to analyze the audio for other information. That can take a while.
You can control this under Library>Background Audio Analysis Speed.
Just keep in mind that even though you can turn the fan down to quiet, that may come at the expense of higher heat load to your Nuc, and possibly shortened lifetime. If you are still analyzing audio, it’s too soon to know how much fan noise you’ll hear under normal use.

Thanks @grossmsj! I don’t see any spinning circle in the upper right hand corner, although there is a pulsing circle down near the bottom associated with some track listings.

Regarding the fan, I’m not too worried. That unit is so cool to the touch with no evidence of significant heat generation, the fan seems to be an aberration!

Usually the pulsing circles are little reminders to ‘try this button’. Sort of like a help button if I recall. But it has been a while, and the memory ain’t what it once was!

Go Settings -> Library then under the ‘Background Audio Speed Analysis’ setting may be a ‘Processing 24/346’ type message.

If nothing then it is done, and there is another reason your NUC fan is running.
If still processing, your Roon Core is busy doing that, hence the CPU heat and the need for active cooling.


Hi @Peter_Schwartzman, what OS are you running in the end?