What hardware/software is recommended for Nucleus and NUC?

I see “additional hardware needed” on buy pages. Which options are recommended for NUC since there seem to be several available?

Is the money saved between the two worth whatever sound quality difference there may be?

I need information to make a buying decision…

Not sure what you are trying to achieve. Nucleus = NUC in a passive cooled case + Roon OS + Roon Core.

There are some guys here in the community that build their own Nucleus (including me).

I use a NAD T778 / Roon certified endpoint
Raspberry Pi + Justboom HAT / Roon Ready endpoint.

The main issue I had with a NUC is the active cooling. Currently I am not running ROCK but Mint + ROON Server. No issues so far. Runs since 3 weeks in my passively cooled case without issues.

Not quite, those NUC’s run ROCK, which is RoonOS + Roon Core but without the optimized thermal management that is specific for the Nucleus hardware … and the Control4 Extension for home automation is also omitted.

However, don’t get me wrong … I’m not saying that NUC + ROCK is inferior to a Nucleus but there are subtle differences in their implementation.

I am not computer savvy enough to build one or know which part does what. But, thanks for the response.

What pages? A Nucleus is “turn key”, with official support.

If you want to build a NUC for Rock, which works out cheaper but requires some know-how, you’ll need the items here:

For a “renderer”, a raspberry pi is a good place to start, running ropiee or diet pi & Roon Bridge. If your amp or dac accepts a usb input, you’re done, otherwise some sort of “hat” may be required.

Sorry, you are absolutly right. Did not want to under estimate the software effort.

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Had not read all that. Thanks. I think I will try and save up for a Nucleus! Meanwhile, it is running on my Windows home computer and connecting wireless to the Bridge and, so far, is working fine.

There is no SQ advantage to Nucleus. Would suggest saving the extra bucks and going the NUC route. If you want something pre configured check out sonicTransporter as an example. It is also fanless, cheaper, and more powerful than the base Nucleus…

Thanks for that! Being a bit of a newbie I appreciate all the advice.

OP, if you understand any of that, you’re doing better than I am and that’s why I decided to go with a Nucleus. :grin:

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I do understand it, have worked in the software industry all of my life, but I still went with a Nucleus because I like the simplicity. IT is a job, it’s not a hobby, I do it when people pay me to.

Music is a hobby. Audio gear is a hobby, sound quality and convenience and all that. Computers is not a hobby.


For the price differential I wouldn’t consider a Nucleus for a second but then I am perfectly comfortable building PC’s and fiddling.

I built a MOCK server (just to confuse matters a bit further a MOCK device is one that runs ROCK but is not an officially supported NUC). Took me 30 minutes from opening the package with the components from Amazon to having ROCK up and running. £300 as opposed to £1600+ for a Nucelus - that £1300 or so buys an awful lot of hifi, music and Roon subs!

If you’re not comfortable building the system up I bet you have a friend who is…

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Re: job Vs hobby : I completely agree with that. And that’s what convinced me into joining Roon, in the first place.

If you’re comfortable building a (passively cooled?) Nuc yourselves, and load ROCK os on it : do it . It is much easier than you might expect.
It is an initial small effort. And onwards, it has proven to be (for me at least the last 3 years), a 100percent maintenance free appliance.

If not willing or capable of that initial effort : keep it simple and buy the actual appliance. Just a matter of preference and financials.

Edit: sorry, did not fully answer your questions. Sound quality differences are not to be expected. Nucleus does have a technical advantage, mainly if you wish to include home automation.

Hardware requirements : if you want a nucleus, just buy it. You’ll only need an endpoint to play the music ( can be a dac, appliance, or the nucleus itself over hdmi).

For a rock nuc system, you may find hardware recommendations over here :

Thanks. Yeah, think I am going to buy the Little Green Computer Sonic Transporter and save the few hundred bucks over the Nucleus.

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I am in a strictly Apple Mac environment .

If I were to build a NUC8i7 as per the Amazon link would I be able to connect a USB C LG monitor and use it together with an external keyboard and mouse in order to install rock? I seem to recall reading that there is no USB C driver to use with the monitor - ruling it out?

One additional question - I currently run the Core on an iMac 27" with music files stored on an external USB drive connected to the iMac. I assume the USB drive can remain connected to the iMac and one simply directs a Nucleus or NUC to the external drive.

Finally I seem to recall reading that “coil whine” was common with NUC7’s and corrected with NUC8’s. A few have mentioned noise problems with the Nucleus and I attribute that to their using NUC7’s. It causes me to pause on a Nucleus purchase and consider a NUC8 instead.

Hopefully I will not have a problem with the Sonic Transporter I have ordered.

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