NUC kit for ROCK check

(James) #1

Would someone tech-savvy please be kind enough to glance at the following and see if they all play nice with each other, and with ROCK? I’ve done a fair bit of reading, but I may have, e.g., got the wrong specific spec of memory, or not the optimal kind, as my computer building skills are limited!

Any other suggestions very welcome as long as they’re in the same kind of price range and if there’s a specific reason for changing.

I’m buying with a view to later adding a 1TB or 2TB storage SSD and putting it all in an Akasa Plato X8 fanless case, but this will have to be done later as funds allow.

Thanks!

(simon_pepper) #2

In a NUC8 you are not restricted to a M.2 SATA drive, so why not go for a smaller PCI Express 3.0 x4 NVMe Solid State Drive, as Boot and Roon database drive?

Also how about a single 8GM stick, so if you need to go to 16GB it is an additional stick rather than removing the 2x4GB and replacing with 2x8GB.

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(James) #3

Thanks, I didn’t realise this was an option - are NVMe quite a bit more expensive, though, and do I need the extra performance for ROCK, or is there another benefit to them?

Also, do I still get to have room for the additional SATA SSD if I use the PCI Express slot?

Also how about a single 8GM stick, so if you need to go to 16GB it is an additional stick rather than removing the 2x4GB and replacing with 2x8GB.

I went for 2x4GB because my understanding (perhaps wrong) is that I would get better memory performance installing in pairs. If that’s not the case, yes, I could get a single 8GB to allow 16GB later on without wasting money.

#4

Smaller form factor (but one can’t add an additional SSD) -

Yes, that’s true and if all you’re going to use the NUC for is to run ROCK (and if you install ROCK then that’s all you can use the NUC for) then 8GB (2x4GB) is more than enough.

Twice the money for no appreciable benefit, IMHO.

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(James) #5

Thanks, yes, this will be just purely to run ROCK.

I was trying not to go nuts on SSD speed and memory which would be overkill just for ROCK (although I completely understand why I would want the fastest possible if it were to be a general purpose machine). The only thing I budgeted a little more for was a WD Blue M.2 SSD instead of the WD Green, but I did this on an understanding that the Blue has a greater mean time between failure rating and 5 year warranty, and not because I expected ROCK to necessarily need the higher performance of the Blue? However, if that’s wrong and I don’t need more than the WD Green, again I might as well save the extra £20.

I went with the taller case BEH model so I can add the SATA SSD for storage until I can move over to the fanless case later.

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(Mr Fix It ) #6

Roon and thus rock in this instance relies heavily on disk speed for database so spend more there given a choice

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(James) #7

Thanks, good to know!

So is the WD Blue fast enough or should I look at something else ideally?

Anything in particular you’d recommend?

These caught my eye, but not sure if they’re significantly faster -

#8

Don’t NuCs have dual channel memory so two sticks would be better than one for performance to.

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(James) #9

Yes, as far as I understand it that’s true, so I’m using 2x4GB instead of 1x8GB.

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(simon_pepper) #10

It is the database performance you want, in terms of device Read/Write times.
Now ROCK boot plus Roon Core dB is quite compact, so if you can find a 64GB or 120/128GB PCI NVMe SSD that may be cheaper.

The Nucleus+ only comes with 8GB, so I am sure that will be fine.

What size library are you planning on running?

Mine is now 83k tracks in 6,250 albums running on a NUC5i3 with 8GB and a SATA SSD, with my library on a 10TB RAID1 volume (7TB of music library) on a NetGear ReadyNAS Pro2 over a Gigabit network. This runs fine, serving a couple of zones with the only DSP being use for downconverting the odd track down to 24/192 or DSD64 from higher formats.

Simon.

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(James) #11

Thanks for the reply.

My library is currently around 16.5K tracks on around 1K albums, but growing mainly due to Tidal. However, it’s relatively small at this stage in terms of Roon’s requirements from a NUC/ROCK, I believe. DSP is only used very occasionally to downsample to 24/96 max from higher formats, or first unfold MQA, so not an issue I don’t think.

I’ll probably go with the 2X4GB Ram, but use a 250GB Intel NVMe M.2 SSD as the cost difference with it on sale is only about £7 so we’ll worth the extra performance over the WD Blue SATA SSD, I expect.

It turns out I’ll likely have a bit more budget than planned so will probably go straight to the Akasa Plato X8 fanless case and internal 1TB 2.5” SSD storage. This is not because the NUC will be in the listening room, but because it will be in the office where I work and I find computer noise very distracting.

(simon_pepper) #12

Then why not go straight for a build one in a Fanless case - see https://www.quietpc.com/sys-ultranuc-pro-7-fanless

(simon_pepper) #13

Or a preconfigured NUC - see https://simplynuc.co.uk/8i5beh-full/

(Scott G) #14

IMO, the preconfigured NUC is the worst buy of all for ROCK. Let’s face it, plugging in the memory and drives in a NUC is the absolutely easiest part of building a ROCK, and one is paying a premium to have someone else do it. It’s what, 5-10 minutes?
It’s not exactly easy to do the BIOS stuff, load Roon, and get ffmpeg. But it isn’t hard either. Those are the more challenging aspects of doing a ROCK install and you still have to do them if you get a preconfigured NUC.

What did you do Simon?

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(simon_pepper) #15

Oh, cheated - mine is an ‘ex-works’ NUC5i3MYHE (Maple Canyon) machine - our developers use NUCs running Linux with Docker environments, with dual displays, so it came build with the 240GB m.SATA SSD and 8GB RAM without a Wireless card - just needed to update the BIOS, and boot from a USB drive with ROCK on it, to get up and running.
Was previously running ROCK on a DC3217IYE (Ivy Bridge) unit, which is now a spare (presently out on loan) and have another unit, a NUC5i3RYHS (Rock Canyon) awaiting ROCK build as the new spare/backup, but I need to see what that was configured with, as they were build at different times and parts swapped out.

Have looked at a new NUC7i3 or NUC8i3 and building with RAM and PCI NVMe SSDs, but as I have NAS attached storage that probably my performance bottleneck, the Gigabit I/O traffic. For a while Search in Roon got slower, was I going to move, and then Roon improved Search times in the last build. Let’s hope for further optimisation in the next one.

My view, is that if you buy pre-configured, yes, someone is taking a small premium, but they are probably buying the RAM and SSD drives in volume, so getting better value, and they are giving you a system they have to standover.

(Scott G) #16

Yeah, that is probably true. I will also admit there is a some amount of satisfaction in doing it yourself. But everyone has their own perspectives.

(simon_pepper) #17

The satisfaction to getting the software installed and running correctly.
Hardware is just commodity these days - it was different when there was motherboards and cards with different chip types. But then I remember being amazed by a 4GB HDD in a 286.

Anyway ROCK is pretty slick, a good compact leanOS to run just a Roon Core.

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(Peter Lie) #18

Although this is mostly theoretical, I believe the performance degradation from 250GB to smaller capacity SSD is much larger than the degradation from NVMe to SATA, because SSD performance is derived from parallelism - this affects all normal operations of SSD. The extra benefit from NVMe can be seen from bandwidth-limited operations.

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(James) #19

Thanks guys.

I’m going to go for a 250GB NVMe, as the cost difference is so low.

Regarding pre-built NUCs, unfortunately the cost difference is pretty large - for pretty much the exact same fanless spec, Quiet PC would be over £200 more, so I’ll have to build my own and just ask the excellent folks here if I get stuck at any point.

I’m relatively confident with installing drives, memory and ROCK install doesn’t sound so bad to me. I’m reasonable at putting things together (used to build RC cars from scratch as a 7-year old). Guessing it’ll be little details like how much heatsink compound to use, and things like that I expect, although you never know ‘til you start!

(simon_pepper) #20

Go for it - do report back on how your ROCK server is performing.

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