ROCK - NUC Specification Questions

I plan to get an intel NUC and build a Rock.

I plan to stream usually at 2x endpoints but with a max of 5x endpoints simultaneously. I do not have any local content at all. Everything will be streamed via Tidal and Qobuz only. (no ripped CDs, etc). I am not sure yet if i will use any DSP because im all new to this. My NUC will be connected via wired lan. (gigabit)


  1. Do i need to get an i5 or i7 NUC?
  2. is 8GB ram enough or should i go 16gb?
  3. what ram speed should i get?

Well, I’d say i5, 8 GB, get RAM which is verified to work with the NUC. I’d go with an 8th Gen NUC.

This might help to verify product choices:®%20NUC#


With no local library & only streamed content, an i3 with 4GB would serve.
The NUC will just be idling for most of the time, even during playback.
Anything more than 8GB is only required for libraries greater than 250k tracks.

I run a NUC5i3 (from 2015) with 8GB RAM & 240GB m.SATA SSD with 90k tracks, serving 5 endpoints, without issue. I also benchmarked this NUC against i5, i7 NUC6 & NUC7 and is does everything they do, including Room EQ DSP, and DSD upsampling.


Thanks. Did you try playing the 5 endpoints all at the same time? The 5i3 NUC was able to handle it without any problems?

Yes, all documented on a thread on this forum, with all the results & details of EQ DSP, upsampling/downsampling benchmarked.

Following some suggested limitations of a NUC5i3 for running ROCK with DSP, have been running some measurements, list here - List Your NUC Capabilities Here and here List Your NUC Capabilities Here

And the outcome is that

  1. Up sampling of redbook files to 24/192 - :heavy_check_mark:
  2. Up sampling of redbook files to 24/176.4 (power of 2) - :heavy_check_mark:
  3. Up sampling of redbook files to DSD64 - :heavy_check_mark:
  4. Up sampling of redbook files to DSD128 - :heavy_check_mark:
  5. Upsampling of HiRes files to DSD64 - :heavy_check_mark:
  6. Upsampling of HiRes files to DSD128 - :heavy_check_mark:
  7. Downconverting DSD128 to DSD64 - :heavy_check_mark:
  8. Downconverting DSD256 to DSD64 - :heavy_check_mark:
  9. Downconverting 24/382.8 to 24/192 - :heavy_check_mark:
  10. Processing MQA 352.8 to PCM 24/96 - :heavy_check_mark:
  11. Processing and upsampling MQA 352.8 to PCM 24/192 - :heavy_check_mark:
  12. Regular playback of redbook, 24/44.1, 24/48, 24/88/2, 24/96, 24/172.4, 24/192, MQA 44.1, MQA 48, MQA 88.2, MQA 96, MQA 174.6 (unfold limited to 24/88.2) MQA 192 (unfold limited to 24/96), MQA 352.8 (unfold limited to 24/88.2), DSD64 and DXD files - :heavy_check_mark:
  13. Searching, indexing library, including Tidal and Qobuz - :heavy_check_mark:
  14. Use of Room EQ DSP filters on all endpoints with additional DSP processing detailed above :heavy_check_mark:
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Please remember ROCK is an embedded Linux based application, running headless with Ethernet only.
So all comparisons or considerations for hardware requirements for Windows do not apply. There is no GUI performance required, no WiFi, no Bluetooth, no general purpose computing, no drivers for displays, printers etc.

Same I have NuC6i3 with 4 gig’s running only 2 streams. I getting an other 4 gig’s of ram just cause I can. No need for it. But got it for 10 buck’s… couldn’t resist. Not sure if an i3 would hold up vs 5 streams at once. I guess it will be okay. Time will show.
Have fun with installing Rock

See the documented benchmarks for the NUC5i3.

You rather than giving an opinion and advice to buy i5 & i7 based NUCs with 16GB RAM and NVMe based SSDs, as some do, I undertook trials, tests and benchmarks to support the claim that for absolute majority of ROCK users, a i3 based NUC will suffice.

I have been using ROCK still it was released and Roon since it was in Beta.

  1. As long as you are not going to be using DSP to do heavy upsampling and converting and i5 is all you need. You will be able to do all but the most extreme upsampling in Roon and run a modest size library should you choose to start buying/downloading and keeping files in the future.
  2. 8gb of Ram is plenty for what you intend to use the NUC for. you can always upgrade to 16gb if you decide you want a massive library of local content in the future.
  3. you should get whatever RAM speed is specific for the model NUC you are running. Most 8th get NUCs use 2400 MHz, while the 10th gen NUCs use 2666 MHz. While it won’t damage a 10th gen NUC to use 2400 MHz RAM, the price difference is like $5.00 so I would get the fastest it can handle

Im getting an 815 NUC but i cant find a 2400 ram (in our country). Can i buy a faster ram like 2666 or 3000 or 3200? Its easier to find those.

I am not 100% sure on that but I think it will be fine as long as it the same type of RAM. What country are you in?

I am also considering a NUC and my research leads me to the following points:

  1. to use ROCK as it is 30% more efficient as a Windows 10 Installation according to some comments here in the forum.

  2. To use 10th generation Intel Chips because they need way less power and are only a bit slower which should tame the fan.

  3. After seeing what my Synology NAS (DS 916+) is able to do with roon core I even think that an NUC10i3 is able to run the core quite fine but this is a guess I have to validate

I was about the buy a NUC (in the basket) when I had another idea. I ended up replacing my desktop (light office use, general streaming and limited video confering - definitely no gaming!) with a fanless mini PC running Windows 10 (Intel 10th Gen i7-10510U with 16 GB RAM). This allowed me to repurpose my exisiting PC for one of my children (lockdown schooling) and gave me the much sought after silent solution.

It works a treat. I don’t use DSD, so the most CPU demand it gets is Qobuz source - DSP - RAAT - End Point. It’s a great solution.

The relevant part (as well as offering another option) is that the thing runs at a really cool temperature when using Roon only (plus usual Windows background stuff). This would suggest low fan speeds for fan based cooling set ups.

You can’t really compare.
ROCK is an embedded headless ‘stripped down’ ethernet-only Linux based application, effectively making the NUC an appliance. The CPU, RAM and Disc requirements will be very different to a General Purpose Computing platform with a full GUI Desktop capable of supporting multi-head environments, running graphical-based applications, browsers, supporting video codecs, WiFi/Bluetooth stacks etc.

I run ROCK on a NUC5i3 with 8GB and a 240GB m.SATA SSD, all from 2015. It runs my 90k track/6.5k album library to multiple endpoints in different zones without issue. New library additions on my NAS, are quickly imported and identified. There 91% free on the SSD. I have also benchmarked this NUC, with Room EQ DSP while also upconverting to DSD128 (my endpoints don’t go any higher) and downconverting all file formats to those my endpoints do support (24/192 and DSD64) - i.e. real world testing. And simultaneous playback on multiple zones was maintained, and gave results on-par with i5 & i7 based NUC6 and NUC7 units.

The NUC10 do seem to offer a lower TPW than the NUC8 and NUC11, but also offer TurboBoost, giving an improved single thread performance over the previous generations. However TurboBoost comes from the temporary raising of the Clock speeds and while used will generate additional heat from the CPU, which will have to be actively cooled. You can disable the TurboBoost, but then you are probably back at the same single-thread performance as the Gen5, Gen6, Gen7 and Gen8 processors (Intel didn’t really change much in the core CPU architecture for these Generations, it was more about Desktop CPU improvement through high Clock speeds (NUC use mobile chips), on-board WiFi and Bluetooth, higher GPU performance (which aren’t relevant to a ROCK deployment), so is there any benefit of having the NUC10 unit?

Yes, an i3 is more than enough processing power for 98% of ROCK users.
However, many people mis-compare ROCK to Windows and believe they need as much power and RAM as they can possibly get, and look to the latest and greatest (plus the most expensive) and not consider the OS or headless embedded nature of the application.

Um, don’t forget that streamed content is accounted for in the library as well. It’s a fallacy to think think that only local files will impact library performance. Accounting for 10,000 streamed albums added to the Library will have the same impact as adding 10,000 local albums to your Library.

No, haven’t forgotten.
My 90,000 track library, is both local and streamed content, and works fine on a NUC5i3 with 8GB RAM, and 19% of a 240GB m.SATA SSD.

So without any local content, are you really going to add 10,000’s of tracks from Tidal or Qobuz to your Roon environment?

You might not have forgotten this aspect, but not everyone is aware of it… And as the OP said, he intends to use Roon solely with streamed content.

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thanks for all the help.

I got a NUC 8i5 as the price was not that different from the i3. I also got an Adata 8GB ram (1stick only, cant find 2x4GB) and the speed is 2666mhz (cant find 2400mhz). For my SSD, i got a samsung 970 evo m.2 250GB.

I think this will be more than good enough for my needs for the next few years given that i will use this only for Roon and streaming of Tidal/Qobuz only (no local content).

Is there a good upated link or youtube video that can run me step by step on how to install ROCK including the bios setup and optimization?

All on the updated KB pages at

The other aspect to consider is will this NUC/PC run just Roon.

For example I have a need to stream local video content so I would go Win 10, Rock limits to Roon only

There is a lot of bad press re Win10, I personally have run Roon and JRiver together on Win 10 for 5 years without an issue. Not on a NUC I may add

Just my thoughts