PC Build Spec Question (ROON with the Possibility of HQP DSD 512)

Fellow ROON Users, I’m spec’ing a new PC build and sure could use some advice.

This PC will run the ROON core – be left on 24/7 – and be also used as a general HTPC.

I don’t presently use HQP and don’t know that I will. However on the off-chance that I decide to try HQP, I want to build-in sufficient horsepower to take advantage HQP’s capabilities.

Based on what I’ve managed to find, my chosen configuration should run ROON/HQP DSD 256 with no problem. However for want of a better graphics card (for example), I don’t want to miss the possibility of upsamping to DSD 512, if perhaps, I later decide to do so.

I’ve sent this and the following to Jussi (HQP/Signalyst) in a PM. However, I thought that the input from this discussion may help others and I wanted to point out my chosen barebones configuration as perhaps another option for folks wishing to stream ROON.

My Digital Audio Hardware:

Streaming via CAT6 (from adjacent room) microRendu/Lampizator Golden Gate DAC
Music Database: 8TB HD (Full) – 100,000 FLAC Tracks (1,000’s of HD and DSD files)

NOTE: After reading ROON Forum threads, apparently select graphics cards can aid HQP’s processing requirements. I see CUDA offloading mentioned and understand that this means that the graphics card is involved with some of the processing. But I don’t pretend to understand the specifics of same. Or what GPU Company’s (e.g. Nvidia and ATI etc.), let alone models within each GPU Company are minimally recommended? Especially if a budget of $150-$250 is maintained.

My Proposed PC’s Specs Follow:

  1. Barebones Kit: Corsair Bulldog 2.0 (http://www.corsair.com/en-us/bulldog-2-0-high-performance-pc-barebone-kit-na)
  2. CPU: Intel i7-7700k
  3. OS: Windows 10
  4. RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance LPX 32GB (2 x 16GB) 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM DDR4 2666
  5. RAM QUESTION: Would 16GB be sufficient – i.e., is 32GB overkill for ROON and HQP (will it be utilized or needed by either/both)? This is important; RAM is costly & this is an area where an unnecessary cost could be shaved.
  6. HD: SAMSUNG 960 EVO M.2 250GB NVMe PCI-Express 3.0 x4 Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
  7. COOLING: Corsair Hydro Series H6 SF cooler (included in the Bulldog 2.0 Kit)
  8. GRAPHICS: I’m considering a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti OR GeForce GTX 1060 3GB
    Because I don’t plan on gaming, the GeForce 1050Ti and/or 1060 3GB are overkill, but a ~ $200 price range makes sense with this level of build.

My Question To You Is:

Will the above PC – with either a Nvidia 1050Ti or 1060-3Gb – be sufficient to allow me to upsample to 512? Or should I be looking at another GPU card? Or changing some of my other build specs?


As an aside, I actually ordered a NUC Skull Canyon, but cancelled the order after it was placed. Because of my 24/7 run requirement, I had second thoughts about the Skull Canyon’s proprietary fan. I saw some mention of fan problems and perhaps the inability to easily source or DIY replace it. So, I began looking at Mini ITX builds and began researching cases (e.g. practicality/esthetics). After countless hours, I ran across the Corsair Bulldog 2.0. I liked what it came with, including the water cooler which could be easily replaced if needed. Plus, all other parts are off-the-shelf and could be easily replaced or upgraded – all very good things.

My guess is the first question will be, upsample to 512 with what filter options? There are some which, I believe, even Jussi says will press even an i7-6950X paired with a EVGA 1080 ti. Someone who might be able to offer some insights on power requirements and the differences in filters at 512 is @andybob.

Hi @Mrmb,

Here’s a link to the parts in my current server. A few notes in relation to your proposed build:

  1. You are using the i7 7700k which is faster and hotter than the i7 7700 I’m using.

  2. I only used 8GB RAM as that is sufficient to run RoonServer and HQP under Windows 10. I also use CAM to monitor the temperatures. I don’t exceed 75% RAM usage and I think 8GB is enough for a purpose built server. 16 GB would certainly be sufficient.

  3. Roon doesn’t currently have a CUDA offload and so the graphics card will only be of use with HQP. The Roon devs haven’t announced any plans to implement CUDA capability but they are generally interested in ways of offloading DSP or upsampling workload from CPUs in order to afford a broader entry to users in relation to those features. There are other possibilities than CUDA, including OpenCL. Broadly speaking Jussi at HQP has no problem with writing heavy filters (well, 2 filters) in advance of commonly used current hardware and waiting for Moore’s law to catch up. Brian at Roon has a different approach and aims at offering advanced features to the broadest group of users.

  4. The take home from the above is choose a CUDA capable GPU and it will work with HQP and very probably with any co-processing feature adopted in future by Roon.

My build will happily run all Roon filters at resolutions up to and including PCM 768 and DSD 512. It will also run all HQP filters at the same resolutions EXCEPT the single pass xtr filters at DSD 512. I can run the 2s (double pass) variants of the xtr filters at DSD 512 using CUDA and that runs my four CPU cores at about 25-30% and my GTX 970 at 0-59%. I am also convolving a two channel room filter in either Roon or HQP at the same time.

Jussi posted here about the kind of machine that can run the single pass xtr filters at DSD 512. They’re i7-6950X ten core fire breathers and a bit out of my league.

So, to sum up, your proposed build will happily run anything currently in Roon or HQP up to and including DSD 512 except for the single pass xtr filters and I think you could downspec the RAM.

As to what sounds best. At the moment I’m listening to PCM 706.5/768 with HQP single pass xtr-mp filter and multicore DSP and CUDA disabled. It uses about 3% CPU but I think I am preferring it to DSD.

I may sign up for SETI at home.

EDIT: That Corsair case looks like sex on a stick. I want one …
I started off with an air cooler but eventually moved to the DeepCool Captain 120 AIO cooler which I was able to bolt on the front of the case with dual push/pull fans. I leave the case off and strap on a 6TB HDD to accompany my 1TB SSD for music storage.
I’m only able to use the Captain (which has a stupidly high cooler unit) because of the very nifty Corsair 600 PSU which is also in your proposed build.

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Thanks Rugby and Andybob.

Andybob: Interesting that you mentioned the “K” designation. While I knew “K” meant unlocked, I wondered what if any value, that would offer in a non-overclocked HTPC/ROON/HQP. So, I was researching that very thing before I saw your post. I did see that power requirements were higher for the “K”, so temps. would be hotter. Not a good thing, unless more speed was really important, which from your post, and experience, suggests that it wouldn’t be. So, very good news and thanks for the insight!

Now, that the 8th. Gen Coffee Lake CPU’s are being released today, (e.g. i7-8700), I may wait to obtain one and then one of the new Z307 motherboards that will be needed. Pricing for the Coffee Lake processors appears to be very comparable to the current Kaby Lake ones, so that would make the 8th.Gen decision a very logical and practical one.

When contemplating the new Z307 M/B and the Corsair Bulldog 2.0 which comes with a MSI Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon motherboard, I thought that this unit may be a no-go. However, Corsair offers the Bulldog 2.0 sans the M/B, but still with the their own power supply and water cooler for $199. So, with a Z307 M/B, the Bulldog 2,0 would obviously still be an option for use with the new Coffee Lake CPU’s.

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Andybob, I should have mentioned that I became a Corsair fan with my last Desktop build in one of their Graphite cases. It has a great cooling design and perfect cable handling capabilities. It was just a joy to work in. Now, considering a mini itx build (my 1st one) I won’t have the luxury of size, but while some may not like the looks of the Bulldog 2.0, I as you, found it to be a pleasing addition to the H/T audio rack from where I stream into the 2-channel audio room. The Bulldog’s only downside may be how open it is with no filters, but I plan to place it high off the floor and than may need to pop its top once a year for a spring cleaning. Otherwise, it looks like an ideal option for me.

Roon sounds great just as is IMO so you really don’t need HQPlayer to begin with. The GG DAC does have the ability to showcase HQP filters so do consider adding HQPlayer at some point when you can also add a CUDA capable graphics card. Until then skip the graphics card and run the machine headless with Remote Desktop.

8GB RAM is plenty but 16GB should be just fine.

Go with the one SSD for the Win 10 OS and Roon. Since you already have a NAS, Roon will connect to your music database no problem. Typically you will use about 50% of the 250GB

Reducing the hardware helps as it reduces the power draw on the power supply.

If at some point you decide to connect your DAC directly over USB, consider either a SOtM or JCAT USB card. The clean USB makes a difference. The Microrendu however is brilliant as it completely isolates your computer from all your audio gear.

Good luck!

It’s very rare for people to have a capable computer for the poly-sinc-xtr filter.

I am in the process of building a computer right now that will do the job. Just waiting on the parts to come in.
CPU: Intel i9 7900X (10 Core/20 Threads)
PSU: EVGA SuperNOVA 1000P (1000W) Platinum
RAM: DDR4 2666MHz
SSD: Samsung 960 EVO 256GB M.2 (for operating system)

I thought about going for Jussi’s i7-6950X (10 core) but since it was pushed to 90% workload just to encode poly-sinc-xtr at DSD512, I reckon it would be better to get one with a little more wiggle room just in case music stutters when minimizing apps within the user interface. I went for the i9-7900X (10 core) as it is the newer flagship model and should be pushed to no higher than 70%. When overclocked I doubt it will be any higher than 60%. I did consider the cheaper option 1920X (12 core) or paying a little more for the 1950X (16 core), but since those CPU’s are more for workstations, FPS for games would suffer. If more intensive filters are released in the future, I will simply just upgrade to a higher core count Intel i9 as it goes up to 18.


The Holo Audio Spring sounds out of this world when fed PCM music that’s been encoded to DSD512. I really enjoy poly-sinc-xtr-mp due to the majority of my music library being either modern pop music or EDM so the mp (minimum phase) really helps with transient response. Unfortunately I have to run the two stage (2s) otherwise my previous Intel 6700k would bottleneck at single stage (non-2s). I’m excited to get all the parts in for the build and to finally give it a listen. Even when I listen to poly-sinc-xtr-mp on DSD256, there is more focus, layering, detail, and accuracy, but without the expansiveness that DSD512 brings. This build should give me the best of both worlds.

DAC: Holo Audio Spring
AMP: AMB Laboratories Beta 22 Balanced
TRANSPORT: UpTone ISO REGEN > USPCB > Singxer SU-1 (powered by UpTone LPS-1)
Headphone: Focal Utopia

P.S. I can totally understand why some people prefer PCM over DSD.
I’ve tried so many DAC’s and some sound better on PCM while others sounding marginally better through DSD. The Holo Audio Spring however is an entirely different beast and for $1400. I take it as an anomaly as it’s the best word to describe it. When listening through the Spring and upsampling PCM files to DSD512, it sounds far better than the Schiit Yggdrasil, Metrum Acoustics Adagio, and Chord Dave that I compared it to. Perhaps the R2R Ladder circuit on Holo Audio Spring who’s job of decoding DSD is just one of those magical sounding circuits that only occur when the conditions are right (design, parts, copper traces, material composition, etc) but there’s really no way to tell when it’s right, thus an anomaly. For good sound that’s not an anomaly, you’ll have to spend 5 digits salary ($10,000+) on a DAC.

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I"ve used Corsair cases for all my builds at the office. Nice, basic, easy to work with. why are you going m-itx instead of a basic mid-tower? The Carbide series is a nice series. I use one to house a MS SQL server.

I would prefer the newer cases from Fractal Design, Lian Li, or NZXT that utilizes closed cell foam behind their steel enclosures to help with internal noise created by the fans.

Take it with a big chunk of salt though as I still ended up with a Corsair Crystal Series 570X RGB.

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If you are building a computer to sit stored away in a different room not used for music listening, why does sound even matter? Or looks?

So the other computers don’t laugh at it.

Computers Bullying other Computers!!____Oh the horror!!____Notify the anti-bullying authorities, construct a safe space…! :sunglasses:

Seriously gang, as opposed to what Rugby inferred, I have no intention of squirreling away the new PC out of sight. As I’m presently doing with a Macmini, it will reside on my audio rack in the H/T room. It’s there because it is USB “A” to “B” connected to an OPPO 105d (using its DAC & ROON) to play music in that room. It is also connected via HDMI to a pre-amp/surround processor. I have many ripped movies that consume 10TB’s of HD space. While they can be handled by the OPPO, JRiver provides the much needed metadata for that movie collection size.

However, most importantly, I use this PC to stream my music tracks (100k) via CAT 6 from the H/T room to the 2-channel audio room into a microRendu --> Lampizator Balanced GG DAC.

My intention is to place the PC on an audio rack, in (what is) a horizontal position. So, I would prefer that the case be the same size or very close to the size of a DVD Player, Receiver, etc.

Based on the recommendations of using a midtower case, I will give more thought to just that.

After many hours of research, there are a myriad of case options. As with most things, all cases have different pluses and minuses. Indeed Fractal Design, Lian Li, and NZXT among many others, are cases to be considered. However, finding the Bulldog 2.0 with really good components already spec’ed and installed was, for me, a plus.

If anyone knows of a case the size of an audio shelf and would blend-in with the look of audio components as opposed to looking like a PC placed horizontally, please let me know. Cooling/air flow is high on the preference list as well as good looks (I know, I know, looks are quite subjective)!

Because of how cooling vents are placed, some cases aren’t designed for horizontal placement; unfortunately, by looking at pictures, this isn’t always obvious. If I can find a case that fits my size and aesthetic needs, can be placed horizontally and can house an ATX board vs a micro/mini board, all the better. I’m totally open to suggestions.

I was really anxious to begin this project (new toy and all). However, now that the new 8th.Gen Coffee Lake CPU’s and M/B’s were released Oct.5th, I’ve decided to wait until these CPU’s and new Z307 (verses the old Z207) M/B’s become more readily available. So your thoughts about cases and internal parts are welcomed.

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If I’m going the other route, I like the case to be center of attention like with this one, :smile:

Good One! In my case searching, I found that one…talk about water cooling…:smiley:

In a similar vein, I’d always wished I’d gotten one of these. They came with extra track and would move back and forth while the computer was on!

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I had never seen that one. I like it even better than the ship, plus moving on a track! Lian Li is on a roll (grin)! I have a friend who is a retired IT director and a model train hobbyist. I’m sure he would have liked the Lian Li Train PC…

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I’m using Streacom Alpha 10 for that purpose:

With the ZF240 PSU:

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