Reliability of Nucleus or suggestions for alternatives?

I’m considering getting a Nucleus - I’m assuming that buying the box from Roon would simplify installation, updates, functionality etc. But I’ve read several threads on Nucleus failures during or shortly after the warranty period, and even the possibility of a new unit being DOA. I’ve searched the forum but have not found any info on the overall reliability of the Nucleus. Are there any stats on expected life and percent rate of failure?

If I decide to build my own server, any suggestions for hardware? My primary desktop is a 12 year old Ubuntu machine that I built from $350 in parts and and it still runs fine.

I’ve moved your post to the #roon category rather than the #roon-community-site category since you are asking (in effect) what would be best to run the Roon software…

A couple of thoughts, @danny claims that Roon Labs have sold thousands of Nucleus units since their introduction, so failure rates are low. Secondly, if you don’t want to buy a Nucleus, why not build your own, using an Intel NUC and ROCK?

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I’d have to recommend building a NUC/ROCK. I’ve had mine since Aug 2019, no hardware or software issues. Only shutdown for maintenance or upgrades.

Pick a NUC from the recommended list, add ram, M.2 ssd for Roon OS/Database and a SATA SSD for internal library storage. Plan on a USB attached SSD/HDD for backups.

You get to pick the components of your choosing.


fair question, I’ve had my Nucleus + for about 18 months now, and has worked flawlessly ( please no jinx) without a hitch.

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I’m another huge Rock / NUC fan - it’s so effortless to maintain.

I’m sure a Nucleus is just the same.

The Nucleus has no moving parts (as does a ROCK if you use a fanless case) - which should help reliability too.

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BTW, I’ve been running a ROCK/NUC system in a fanless Akasa case 24/7 since June 2017 - no hardware failures as yet.


Just moved my 2yr old NUC/ROCK into an Akasa fanless case, and couldn’t be happier.

If you are computer build savey, it’s nice to have your own parts and ability to do upgrades/maintenance if the need arrives in the future.

If there were to be a failure, odds are (methinks) it will be the SSD, which is the same likely component to fail on a NUC. SSDs are (fairly) easily replaced, assuming proper backups are made.

I went with a NUC/ROCK with a bit of common sense and practically no technical expertise. I saved several hundred dollars and it’s worked for four years now.

Good “investment”.

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Thanks for all the comments and suggestions. Mike - is there a link to the recommended list here on the forum? Another Edit: I think this is the correct list

So I’m looking at the NUC11TNHi3 for a small library, but should I go with the 8GB RAM and the 256GB M.2 SSD that they recomend for the large library? Memory is cheap so trying to save a few dollars might not be smart.

My Library is 150k tracks

I went 10i7 , 256 M.2 SSD (probably the smallest you can buy these days), 4Tb internal SSD and 32 Gb RAM , (maybe a bit OTT on RAM , 16 would have been fine ). RAM is relatively cheap so don’t skimp

Build and install is a piece of cake with full instructions in the Roon KB

Runs like a dream, you can pretty much forget its there !!

This was a move from a i7 7700 Desktop 16 Gb RAM

Go For It

In my NUC testing I found having two memory cards makes quite a difference to performance (allows you to take advantage of the dual channel memory).

In reality your NUC will mostly be idle - but it’s nice to have the performance when you need it.

Yes, that link would be the recommended list.

I went with the NUC8I7BEH as that was the most powerful NUC Roon had tested at that time. Many newer models to choose from now.

It has been stated that Roon works best with the fastest single core speed over the total number of cores, so a 4 core CPU with 2.7 single core speed would be better than 4, 6 or 8 core CPU with 1.5 single core speed. That could have changed by now but something to keep in mind.

Started out with 16gb (2x8gb) ram and a 1TB SATA internal drive for my library.

After I started purchasing/downloading Multi-channel DSD music files I knew more space would be needed on my internal drive so I upgraded the 1TB to 4TB SSD. And while I had the NUC open to add the 4TB SSD I upgraded the RAM from 16GB to 32GB (2x16gb). Call it overkill, future proofing or whatever but that is where I’m at.

Build for the future if possible vs minimum requirements for now. It’s your choice, whatever is best for you.

Not to sway your opinion, but I’ve got a Nucleus Gen A that’s been running 24/7 for about 5 years. Having said that, if/when I need to replace it I’ll probably build a Rock or go with a third party like a SonicTransporter.

NUC 7i5 short case with library on a cheap USB enclosure SSD. Just keeps ticking. Other than Roon general issues that everyone on every platform has faced or things related to my network, I’ve never had a hiccough. Less expensive. Will take you an hour in 90% of cases, a few hours if you hit a snag no matter how tech phobic you are. People here will help if you ask nicely, and likely will help even if you ask not-that-nicely because we’re understanding about being frustrated. I’m an unabashed booster.

Yeah, I’m also looking at the SonicTransporter, it’s only a few hundred $ more than a NUC, depending on what upgrades you add, and then only a few hundred $ more for the basic Nucleus compared to the SonicTransporter.

I’m looking at a used Boulder Amps 866, and they recommend connecting by ethernet. Do I just connect the SonicTransporter (or the Nucleus) to the same ethernet switch? Or does the amp connect directly to the SonicTransporter (or to the Nucleus).

Connect both to an ethernet port connected to your router, directly or via a swtch.

Of course they don’t need to be anywhere near each other, unless you want them to be.

It’s just about possible to connect them directly - but without DHCP and an easy internet connection - it’s hard work to configure.

I concur with GregD. The core and the amp should be connected to either the router directly or through a switch. That Boulder is an awesome bit of kit. Congrats.

Sounds like a decent alternative to a Nucleus alright. I was pricing the Mac Mini with RAM and a 2 G Static Hard Drive and found it to be pretty expensive ($1,899.00) before I went with the Nucleus. So far no issues, and it seems fast, zero maintenance, no heat (easy placement and silent), updates itself, immediately just works, and a bit less cash than the Mac Mini I looked at. Having said this, I am sure there must be lessor NUCs available, notwithstanding the ease of ownership of the dedicated Nucleus. Cheers!