NUC kit for ROCK check

Ok, I understand but remember to run a Word processor or even a Web browser the unit will be needing to run a Graphical based Desktop and OS, such as Windows or Ubuntu etc.
You are using the GPU processing for multiple display drivers in full colour etc. and a stack of interaction processing etc.
ROCK is a headless leanOS optimized just to run a Roon Core nothing less.
Hopefully you will find that the processing requirement is a lot less than general Application driven usage.

Not sure why the NUC8i3 is 24W, it was only 15W in the NUC5/6/7 models.

Also will you won’t be listening to a Roon stream while in your Office, focused on work etc., when the Roon Core is doing it’s work, you will be in your Listening environment.

Same for me, study/office is upstairs - HiFi downstairs, no fan based equipment in the ‘frontend’. The only HDD is in the TV STB and that’s off when not watching cable served TV.

Following a recent move, even a kitchen clock had to be changed as its ticking was too loud and audible during quiet passages.


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OK I see your point - I’ll try it that way first and see how it is running ROCK.

My guess is the power consumption increased as the 8i3 is no longer so “crippled” compared to the rest of the 8ix range as in the past - essentially all the models have the same specs for GPU, etc and it’s only the processors which differ - when using a single core, it seems performance between them is remarkably similar it’s only when multiple cores are working the i5/i7 are a lot faster.

I have just built a new Roon Core using the NUC8i3BEH and I am seeing really impressive performance from it.

I was previously using a big core i7 desktop machine which was frankly overkill and was very power hungry.

The desktop had an i7-3770, 128GB SSD and 16GB RAM, the NUC8i3 has 8GB RAM and a 250GB SSD (plus Intel Optane memory). The processing speed as reported in the Roon signal path for my primary end point was around 60x with the desktop and is now around 30x with the NUC8i3.

It is running my fairly basic DSP with no issues and it supports my 2.5k album library across four end points. For the money I am delighted and I thoroughly recommend one of these new NUCs.


I’d like to put together my own fanless ROCK computer, but the Roon web page has me concerned that if I deviate even just a little, ROCK may not install.

Is there a thread here dedicated to hardware that works with ROCK but isn’t a NUC or Nucleus specified by Roon? A place where, among ourselves, we can confirm certain hardware configurations will be supported by ROCK?

With that in mind, another thing that would be helpful is to know what CPU is suitable for given use cases. For example, if my library is comparatively small, and I’m only interested in using the parametric EQ in the DSP module (and nothing else), do I still need an i7?

I haven’t yet committed to Roon. My sense is resources for this kind of certification are extremely limited. Understandably, the Roon team need to balance development with bug fixes and UI/UX improvements.

I like the idea of Quiet PC, but I’d rather put it together myself than pay the premium for someone else to do it.

Thoughts very much appreciated.

I understand what you are asking and why but I think you need to consider that if you want ROCK to work, and more importantly for Roon to support your setup, then you cant really deviate too far from the recommend/supported devices. If you are using Windows for your Core rather than ROCK then your options are lot broader.

That being said any of the new NUC8 devices are supported with ROCK, are fairly inexpensive and work really well. From my experiences with a few different Core setups the latest 8th gen i3 processors are more than adequate for a small/medium library (I have ~28000 tracks) and I use volume levelling and up/down sampling as a minimum to all my end points. If you go with the i5 and above then the sky is pretty much the limit I would say.

Just to be clear, the problem has not been installing ROCK, per se. When people have had problems, it seems to be at the step where you are setting boot order in BIOS. That specific problem is imprecise instructions for part of an Intel product. Roon should improve that, but as you say, they have a lot of irons in the fire.
It might sound like I’m splitting hairs here, but its for a reason. ROCK is very stable. But if you are going to do a build yourself there is the Intel Nuc, and there is everything else covered in the “Tinkering” thread. That is geek crazy town (no disrespect intended). So it just gets harder with the non-Nuc products and ROCK.
You always have the option of just booting up an Intel Nuc and running RoonServer under Windows 10 That is drop-dead simple up front, but you have to occasionally deal with Windows stuff. Performance-wise, its generally accepted to be a wash, with maybe Windows being faster in some circumstances. You can always go back and install ROCK later.
Since you have a computer background, I wouldn’t be overly concerned with building a ROCK setup yourself. The instructions are a little spotty but virtually everyone gets it done. What would make things easier to trouble shoot would be some better pictures of the BIOS setup screens from this generation of NUC. There is a lot of experience among the Roon userbase, and with just a picture and a question you will get an answer. Usually in hours.

Second, part. Performance.
I won’t rehash what Tim said for the i3s.
For i5s you get medium sized libraries and can start doing some decent amount of DSP.
You need the i7s for large libraries, intensive DSP, AND something else like up-sampling to DSD256. Right about there you start to lose steam, but still have some headroom.
From what I’ve seen, the i7s can handle just about everything short of upsampling to 5 channels and other fairly exotic stuff.

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You can search for MOCK, but that’s always going to be unofficial. Why do you want to avoid NUC?

There is a thread that covers some of your questions;

I wanted to go with a fanless case. My listening area is also where the Roon Core would be.

Thank you for pointing me to MOCK.

A number of members here are using fanless cases for various models of NUC.

I have a standard Intel NUC (NUC8i7BEH). It’s sitting next to my audio rack (I have both NUC and streamer connected to same switch) and I never hear a fan. When it’s running I have to get my ear within 6" just to hear it at all.

I have thought about migrating it to a fanless case but I’m not so sure it’s worth the expense and effort (and voiding my NUC warranty).

I can hear my i3 from outside the room when it’s just at idle. It’s also quite an annoying pitch because the fan is so small, I guess. I’ll either have to use the fanless case or situate it somewhere where the noise isn’t an issue at all, so not in my office or the listening room.

I’ve never heard any noise on either my i3 or i5 NUC. They sit on my desk.

You can hear yours from another room and even at idle? Something is definitely amiss.

Try cleaning the fan.

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It’s brand new, so nothing to clean.

I don’t believe there’s anything wrong, it sounds like normal fan noise for a computer with a fan that size, similar to my laptops when they were in there.

The room/house is otherwise dead quiet - when my NAS is running, that masks it to an extent, except the pitch is different.

Also, I’m just sensitive to noise like that - e.g., I often pick up on transformer noise others filter out.

[edit: however, see further answer below]

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Sorry, it just occurred to me that you might have meant your fan doesn’t tend to run when the machine is at idle/playing back Roon without analysis/DSP, or at least runs at very slow speed.

If so, then something may be amiss with my NUC.

Is there anything I can try (e.g. in Bios) as if it’s faulty it’s still only a week old, so I can easily return.

Make sure the BIOS settings are correctly set for the fan.

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No problem, but you were right, at first. I have never heard a noise from my fan.

If you’re referring to a high pitched noise, then it’s probably my diminished hearing.

Small recompense.:grimacing:

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Thanks I’ll have a look. No idea what the correct settings would be, though…

I dread any hearing loss as I get older. I always wear protection at amplified concerts now, but in my youth I was a drummer before anyone was careful about such things!

I wouldn’t say that high pitched in total terms, just compared to desktop fans which tend to be larger/lower in pitch. I definitely find my NUC irritating, but as I say, it might well be a ‘thing’ of mine!