NUC on-board audio / Format of "my-music SSD"

Hi everyone,
I am a newbie at Roon and decided to build my own NUC. I have ordered an Intel NUC 7i7BNH and installed the required additional parts (8GB SODIMM, 120GB m.2 SSD). I updated and modified the BIOS, installed ROCK and added the ffmpeg codec.
Everything looks good and I can remotely access ROCK via CAT6 or WiFi. No actual Roon tests as of yet (leaving soon for a business trip and don’t want to start my trial period until I come back).

I have two questions I couldn’t find answers to in the KB and the Community:

  1. The BIOS contains a softswitch to turn NUC onboard audio ON or OFF. Is turning it OFF beneficial … maybe less digital noise in the box?
  2. I still intend to install a 1TB SSD in the drive cage. Can I pre-load my music (about 700GB) to this disk externally before installing it? How should I format the drive?

Any guidance is highly appreciated!!

Can’t help you with point 1, but yes,you should be able to pre-load your music on your SSD externally prior to installing it , just make sure it is in the right format (exFat) rather than NTFS or anything else unsuitable. I switch my core between desktop and laptop for when I’m travelling, so now have all my music on an external SSD drive via USB (makes it much easy to copy everything over to the laptop).

Fitting the SSD to the drive cage is a tidier solution, but using it as external USB can also have its benefits.

(moderator note: edited above)

Thanks for your response Peter.
The wish for preloading the SSD before installing it in the NUC enclosure came after reading some comments here about excruciatingly slow music file transfer times from networked computers / NASs to NUCs.
I have no idea about the cause of this. I have an iMac and a MacBook Pro on my WiFi network and even very large file transfers, such as hundreds of raw image files, are very fast.

I recall that internally mounted drives in the NUC need to be formatted to be used in the NUC, and you will wipe out any preloaded content. if you want it preloaded then use a USB external.

The only benefit that the devices won’t show up in the Roon audio settings which is nice if you have a lot of other devices. Otherwise it won’t have an impact on how the core works or sounds.

Unless this has changed recently ROCK won’t recognize the filesystem unless it was the one to do the format. This was a hard spec when @danny first put RoonOS/ROCK together. There are a number of reasons for this , but the end result was that you had to format the internal drive via the ROCK web interface and then copy files to it by mounting ROCK’s data share on your compute via the network.

As an aside, the format of this disk won’t be exFAT or any other commonly-used Windows / Mac filesystem. It will be the default linux filesystem (ext4).

This is not correct :slight_smile:

As per the Knowledge Base:

The internal drive is formatted from the web interface when you first set up ROCK, so you won’t be able pre-load music onto the drive

Presumably the OS will be on the 128gb M2 drive he already has in there, so it will be fine to preload music onto the 1TB SSD, as that will not be formatted as part of the ROCK install?


Following the link Mike from Roon Labs posted gets you to this:

There are a few disadvantages to using the NUCs internal storage, including:

The internal drive is formatted from the web interface when you first set up ROCK, so you won’t be able pre-load music onto the drive – you’ll start with an empty drive, and copy your music over later

Notwithstanding what some might to believe it would appear you have to let ROCK format the drive before it can use it so you will lose anything stored on it. While I can’t find the post just now I did see another post that mentioned that ROCK formatted the drive with specific parameters to optimize it for music storage and retrieval.


First of all MANY THANKS to everyone for trying to help me on this issue!!

Just a few words about my NUC installation:

I read the Roon documentation and was aware of the fact that any drive found in the NUC would be formatted during ROCK installation. That was exactly the reason why I didn’t install it from the get-go. I assumed that, after ROCK had been successfully installed, a correctly formatted drive that is seen as secondary by the BIOS should also be seen by the ROCK software.
Maybe that was a false assumption on my end…

All my music presently resides on a 4 x 1TB exFAT RAID-5 array with network and USB3 interface.
After reading “ROCK: Storage Basics”, NAS is a non-starter for me.

Andrew, if the only problem is the file system format of the NUC-internal 1TB SSD, I could easily remedy it by formatting it in ext4 and copying my music through Linux servers accessible to me.

Tim, if your statement is correct that the used file system (ext4??) is "non-standard”, it would be nearly impossible to recover from a disk failure short of a reformat and a lengthy file transfer.

In this case an external USB3 SSD may not be as ‘tidy” (as Peter called it) but sounds better and better if a catastrophic disk failure can quickly be corrected through a re-format and file copy from the RAID.

Maybe somebody can give me his or her thoughts about this.

Tim, yes, you have to let ROCK format the drive which the OS is going to run from, so in this case the internal M2, NOT the 1TB SSD. To quote the Knowledge Database:
"We recommend USB drives connected to ROCK be formatted exFAT if you requires compatibility, or EXT4 if you don’t.

Advantages of using exFAT include:

Cross platform compatibility (macOS, Windows, Linux)
No real limits on drive size or file size
ROCK will also work with NTFS ,FAT32, and EXT2/3/4 drives, but if you are starting fresh with USB storage, our recommendation would be to use exFAT."

So ROCK as an OS is actually pretty tolerant of format for drives that don’t contain the OS itself. I intend to EXFAT mine and plug it into the NUC via USB.

Sorry Peter, but you are not correct. An internal 2.5" drive (not the M.2 drive which is where ROCK lives) MUST first be formatted by ROCK before it can be used by Roon for music storage.


Seems like we have not been talking about the same thing. Rainer asked if he could install an internal 1 TB drive in his ROCK based system with music on it and use it. I might have misread your posts but it looks like you twice said he could and not lose his files. Your last post indicates you think he is going to connect his 1 TB drive via USB which is not what he asked about. Also, your statement that ROCK is pretty tolerant of format for drives that don’t contain the OS itself only applies to USB connected drives, not to an internal drive.

See this post ( Technique for faster copies to internal storage ) from Danny.


Ah OK, I stand corrected, my initial reading of it was it was just an issue with the format of the drive that ROCK was going to run from. Certainly builds a stronger case for using external USB!