NUC with one or two M.2 SSD?

Hi Folks,

New in this space and, despite the multiple posts I read so, thanks in advance for your patience if I’m asking a stupid question.

I’m currently using a MacBook Pro to run Roon Core and I want to move to a fan less NUC as a little DIY project.

As I’m lazy, I’m planning with the highest spec of approved/recommended NUC by Roon, currently NUC12WSHi7, so that hopefully (fingers crossed), it will be a little longer before it is obsolete.

Now that I understand the benefit of M.2 over 2.5’’ SSD and knowing the NUC12WSHi7 could support two, here’s my question: should I have 2 M.2 SSD, one for the OS and one for my music library?

I understand that I will have to migrate my library after the OS installation (actually copying it from my MacBook as I’m planning to keep it as a backup copy of my library).



Separate drives is a requirement, I understand

You didn’t say what OS you were going to put on the NUC.

If you’re going to use ROCK, then that’s the only thing that can be on the M.2. You don’t need anything larger than 128GB for that.

The NUC12WShi7 can only use a SATA SSD as the 2nd drive. There’s no operational difference between an M.2 drive and a SATA SSD.

Many people use an external USB drive for their music files. The only drive that needs to an SSD drive is the drive that has the Roon app or the ROCK OS. Music files are just fine on an external USB HDD. If one uses an external drive, then to add music the drive can be temporarily moved to another PC for copying, rather than needing to do copys over the network.

Well, I am not sure it supports two m.2 slots for storage, I think one is used for wireless. The OS drive is only for the OS and you cannot use it for anything else including music. So you will need a second drive if you want to have music stored internally which will be the SSD connection. Although, you can always use an external USB drive instead, and would suggest you do so for various reasons.

Also, M.2 is wasted on storage, so is an SSD. An external HDD via USB is already faster than is needed for playback. Any additional speed is not useful.

Re OS, it is ROCK. When I read Intel’s specs, I assumed that since it’s mentioning it supports 3 internal drives that it could only have one 2.5’’, hence the remaining 2 would be M.2

Hmm, I’m not sure that’s true. The Intel data sheet is unclear about that. If you get this NUC, check back in with the info.

This vendor’s customization only gives options for two drives.

BTW - A GEN12 i7 NUC is profoundly over spec’d for ROCK (now or in any conceivable future) but that’s your choice.

As I said, it has 2 m.2 slots one is used for Wifi. According to the intel website

I’ll write to Intel and ask the question. If the answer is no, would it be best to dedicate the M.2 SSD for the OS and the 2.5’’ SSD for the library?

Yes. Although as I mentioned before, you would probably be better off with just the OS drive and an external usb hdd.

That is correct

BTW, well aware this is OTT (Over The Top as my British colleagues would say :-)), just assessing the art of the possible for now, reality tends to kick in when it’s time to pay…


You saw this line in the specs

But, you might not have grokked this part of the specs:

There are 3 PCIE, Key M (SSD), Key B (SSD) and a Key E which is an M.2 used for wireless. Note that I drew a mark between the two for the wireless.

These are physically different connectors, (i.e. the 22x80, 22x42 and 22x30). It might be possible to remove the internal Wifi card, and buy adapters that would let you use the Key E for an SSD. I believe that is talked about here in a tinkering blog (Replacing a Wifi card with an PCI-e SSD).

The blog also has a brief run down of the different cards with pics to see the diff shape/sizes and their general usage. (storage vs wifi vs bluetooth)

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Thanks for the clarification, so you can indeed have 2 M.2 SSD, one that’s a NVMe 80mm and one SATA 42 mm.

Looking at the installation guide p.10-11, (, I get the impression you can fit both a 80mm and a 42mm M.2.

Going that way, I guess you would install the OS on the SATA SSD and your library on the NVMe SSD.

SATA and M.2 are two different things.

No, exactly the opposite. Not sure if it can even be done the way you suggest.

This KB article will answer your questions about ROCK install.

Impressed it can take 2 M2 SSDs

You would certainly need one for the ROCK OS/ Database - 128G is plenty - but hard to buy one that small these days.

For ROCK media storage - assuming the OS works (and I imagine it will - but you will need to test) you can use either a second M2 or a SATA.

An M2 is faster than a SATA - but I suspect it doesn’t matter much in that role. I compared a SATA SSD vs a spinning SATA drive in a ROCK - and it didn’t seem to make much difference.

I think ROCK keeps all the critical data in memory and on the M2 OS drive, so the performance of the media drive is less critical.

I’d be tempted to use the two M2 drives if there isn’t a price penalty just because you can - but would be very surprised if you could notice a performance advantage.

I expect that machine is already a top performing roon core, and will be idle most of the time anyway!

Enjoy - and let us know how it goes.

Why would anyone hassle the boondoggle of modifying the WiFi M.2 connection to be able to use an SSD when there is a SATA connection for a SSD? There’s no operational difference between the two.

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There’s 2 slots for M.2 storage xxx:

Never the less, might as well go w/M.2 NVMe for the OS and a 2.5’’ SSD for the library.

Thank you all for your inputs, much appreciated!

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Not really. Not without some modification. Guess you didn’t see this.

Maybe you should write Intel and ask. I’m out. Have fun.

Check out Rugby’s post.