Rock H/W Requirements

I have been running ROCK successfully on an ASUS i7 mobo and its working great so far. Sounds incredible too! It has a JCAT USB card connected directly to the DAC.

I would like to change the mobo to a different one but I can’t use a NUC because of the requirement of audio USB card on a PCIe slot. I am looking for a mobo this time with possibly less complexity, low power and can work with a linear power supply. However, before I dive into the project I am interested in clarifying few things

  1. I am not interested in up-sampling or DSP room correction. What is CPU spec needed for streaming DSD128/256 over Dop/Native without hiccups ? Would a Intel Pentium Processor N3710, Quad Core, 2M Cache, 1.6GHz suffice ?

  2. What is the typical memory requirement for the above ? Will 4Gb work ? Does 8Gb work better ?

  3. What all Intel NIC drivers are included with ROCK ? Are all the e1000(e) and igb drivers part of it ? I am interested to know if the following Intel Ethernet controllers can be supported - I210AT, I211AT, I219LM

  4. Have a large library around 4k albums, mix of various sample rates - both pcm and dsd.

  5. Any other specific info that would help me decide the h/w ?

Thanks in advance.

Roon’s minimum is an i3, I would start there, but probably go with an i5, 8 GB of RAM.

i3-6100U, Dual Core, 3M Cache, 2.3GHz should work then ?

Sure, it will work. But will it provide the same experience as your current rig? You are used to the speed and peppiness from an i7. Besides upsampling and DSP, you need to consider library size and number of endpoints getting music at the same time (grouped or not grouped).

I don’t know if it will provide the same experience as my current i7 3.4Ghz. My question was especially to know how much real compute is needed. I should also add that my library is quiet large around 4k albums. I have tried running my system under-volted/clocked to 1/4th the speed around for both CPU and memory and it seems to work fine. I had 2x16Gb ram and also cut it down to 2x4Gb. I can easily see that it does boots and loads slow (obvious) and searching is also a bit meh but the sound quality has been improved quiet some - high speed noise is certainly detrimental to sound. All these experiments show that there is much to be had with my current server with the right parts and thus my search for the new direction - I only need to make sure ROCK can run as smoothly as it can :slight_smile:

Btw, this is a dedicated 2-channel setup and thus just a single endpoint.

A follow up question - Does Roon benefit from more CPU cores ? Will a quad core benefit than a dual core m/c ?

Yes, as you add simultaneous music streams to different end points, Roon uses a different core for each if available. Higher DSP functions can have a CPU cost. Music Analysis can take substantially longer if you have less cores to throw at it.

You could also build a machine and go ethernet to your DAC instead of the JCAT card you could use a MicroRendu. Removing the PC from the room with music playback and not being directly attached to the DAC itself seems to give a better sound and presentation.

Thanks for the info. Good to know this.

Yes, I have had microRendu, SoTm and all USB gadgets, like Regen, W4S RUR, Intona USB isolator since they came out. I don’t use it in my current system (and I sold all of them) and find a carefully crafted PC can take it beyond what these streamers can provide. Also, it cuts down the complexities of the system drastically. My current PC does have mobo clocks replaced and a very low latency & errors DIMM modules. The streamers are especially helpful when you are up-sampling in the PC. If Roon consumes very less CPU cycles to do the actual audio streaming, without up-sampling or dsp correction, then a single PC should serve the purpose.

any opinions from other experts ?

I have couple of DSD256 files (and its slowly growing). My current DAC can only support DSD128 Dop - so a DSD256 needs to be down sampled and then encapsulate in Dop. Doable with a dual core i3 @ 2.3Ghz ?