ROCK Core Upgrade to Nucleus+

I built a fanless ROCK core with NUC 7i5BNH with 8GB RAM and 250GB SSD inside Akasa Newton S7 case. This machine served well for nearly 5 years now, although I find its performance a bit slower than I’d like. So I am contemplating upgrading to the current version of Nucleus+.

  • In an objective hardware/software assessment, will this bring a noticeable performance improvement? I have about 5000 albums in my library but these days I rely primarily on streaming so the library grows very slowly.
  • Is this a good time to invest into Nucleus+, considering e.g. that NUC is being discontinued etc. Will there be a next hardware upgrade for Nucleus coming out soon? (I realize this is a company secret, but any sneak news would be welcome).

Isn’t the Nucleus+ a 7i7 or 8i7 NUC? That’s not a lot of difference. I’m surprised that you find yours too slow with just 5000 albums. People run Nucleuses and comparable NUCs with much larger libraries. Are you counting streaming albums? For library performance they count just as much as local ones.

Wondering if the NUC is really your bottleneck, I dunno. Is your network good?

For official statements about future Nucleus hardware platforms I suppose you might need to wait a bit longer than the first day of Intel’s announcement :slight_smile:
(It’s not even clear what the announcement really means. It looks more like Intel will just stop selling finished NUC computers with a case but will continue to supply third-parties with NUC boards - which is what the Nucleus always was, anyway)


Thanks. I am still scratching my head to find the source of the problem. I brought up this issue in a different posting. I live in a campus and my house is wired under a dedicated switch (in the house) controlled by a central router (which manages a cluster of houses). The LAN connection inside the house is rock solid, if not lightening fast (speedtest gives about 1-200 Mbps upload & download). Streaming Neflix 4k movies with absolutely no issues. And of course all audio-related devices are connected to the wall, no wifi, not even going through the mesh router which is only used as an access point.

I have also added 5000 additional streaming albums to the library. I subscribe to both Tidal and Qobuz.

The frustrating part is each search or play click takes a few to ten seconds to respond, frequently if not always. When things get worse, rebooting the core helps a little but over time the problem gets worse. The problem got better or worse over the different Roon software releases, so I still suspect that there is room to improve from Roon’s end. I also had an occasion to suspect that it could be the searching in Qobuz library that slows down, but it’s not clearly confirmed.

Where is your library located and how is it connected to ROCK?

They are stored in a Seagate 5TB external HD (exFAT formatted) directly connected (USB) to the ROCK core.

I wonder if this could be the source of some issues?

Really? Direct USB connection of 2TB library slows things down? How do I make it faster?

Need to look at all devices connected to your system. You mention that you feel the NUC is causing some issues - but there is a clue in the fact it is taking a while on a search or to start playing. An external device is just another point of concern. There could be power save features that spin down the drive in the external chassis? Is there a USB power save setting on the NUC BIOS causing an issue?

I believe I set low noise mode in the BIOS, but I don’t recall USB power save. It’s an interesting diagnosis that I’ve never heard before. I will look into it.

And yes, it is mostly on searching for the library display or for a song to play.

All of these make me wonder if Nucleus+ will solve the problem with the optimized software.

This doesn’t sound like a core performance problem to me at all. Or to be precise, it might be something related to the Roon software on your core, but I doubt it’s a hardware performance problem.

I don’t think that’s an issue either. The performance for reading audio files is easily sufficient for any reasonable HDD (even spinning), and the HD is not involved in Roon interactions like searching

Are you speaking about the LAN connection or an internet speed test? 1-200 mbps would be very poor for a LAN, where 1 gigabit speed on wired ethernet should be the norm nowadays.

For the internet connection, however, 1-200 mbps is easily fine. All that happens there with Roon is the fetching of audio files, which are like 5-10 mbps.

This is different, though. There is a lot of buffering with Netflix, so intermittent bandwidth changes are not a big issue. There’s also no complicated UI and database interactions going back and forth from remote to Core, like there are with Roon.

Generally, searching and other Roon UI interaction speed (other than playing) is not typically bandwidth-limited, and the whole thing doesn’t seem like an issue of continued throughput (i.e., bandwidth) to me, but more like an issue of responsiveness / latency. How are your ping times?

  • From a PC on the LAN to the Roon core
  • From a PC to the central router?
  • From a PC to an internet host like Google?

Normally I’d suggest trying to change the DNS server on the router to a fast one like Cloudflare, but as the router is central, I suppose you don’t have the option. My gut feeling, however, is that the central router or something else on that network may be the most likely culprit.

Ping results:
From Mac to the Roon core: about 0.5-0.7 ms
From Mac to the central router: 0.5-0.7 ms with intermittent cases of 12-19 ms.
From Mac to the campus DNS servers: 1.3-1.6 ms
From Mac to and 60-70 ms.
From Mac to ( 71 ms.

Hm. The first three are very good, it’s much faster than I get (3-10 ms) from the PC via (good) wifi to the wired ROCK.

The ping time to Google is not great, I get about a third of that from the same PC, i.e. 19-21 ms, but I suppose it’s probably not bad enough to cause these issues.

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So I suppose it’s not the latency issue? What would be the next suspect? Any chance that Tidal or Qobuz latency might be the cause?

A bit out of ideas. Difficult to say in a network like yours without detailed performance analysis, where there might be some management going on. You mentioned that you brought up the issue in another post, but I can’t find it. (Except this - which seems different but did hint at an intermittent network problem).

Maybe your best bet is for Roon support to take a look at detailed logs from your core / remote. I’d suggest opening a topic in #support. (You will need some patience …). Maybe this gives you something you can discuss with your campus network admins.

I probably didn’t bring up detailed analysis of this issue, but I posted my experience about a sudden performance enhancement with the release of Build 988. Roon 1.8 (Build 988) - Finally!

Since then, the situation has been up and down with each release. I still have a sneaking suspicion that this is a software (Roon) issue, but perhaps the way Roon manages the searching may differ for different setups.

My hope is that Nucleus+ may solve this issue, not because of its hardware performance, but rather it is supposed to be properly optimized software-wise.

I very much doubt that Roon changes basic infrastructure network code so much from build to build that it affects your performance wildly. It’s just not what you do in software development, it would be insane. It may happen once in a while maybe, but then one would expect that the improvements with build 988 had persisted. As was suggested in the old thread, this feels more like random correlation to my gut.

Thanks for the helpful comments. I learned a few new things today. I’ll keep experimenting and try to find a way.

One interesting observation. Just now I clicked Home and it instantly shows the first items, and the new release section showing up in a few seconds. Other items like Genres, Artists, Albums, Tidal and Qobuz take a couple seconds to refresh the display. Tracks, however, takes over ten seconds of searching until the page shows up properly. Playlists and Tags respond nearly instantly. So it appears that the delay is related to searching of data either in my library or the servers.

I’m glad that it was at least a little helpful. The long loading of Tracks is surely interesting, and I think Roon support should be able to see in diagnostic logs what is happening during that time