ROCK on dedicated NUC8i5 vs Roon on NUC8i5 running Win 10

I have just ordered the NUC8i5BEH with 128GB SSD and 16G RAM with the idea of using it as my media server. I have used Roon on my PC and the Trinnov Altitude 32 as a Roon endpoint. As far as I can understand, if I set the NUC as purely a Roon ROCK server it will be difficult to use the NUC for other activities such as Plex etc.
I am keen to use HDMI from the NUC to the Trinnov which I know ROCK can do.
Is there any disadvantage to running Win 10 on the NUC and using it for Roon, Plex etc? Will i still be able to output audio from Roon via HDMI to the Trinnov?
All opinions and suggestions would be most welcome

Hello Jose, and welcome.

It will not be difficult - it will be impossible! ROCK is for ROON only; anything else needs either Windows or a Linux installation.

That said, for the price of a NUC, I suggest to go with ROCK, and keep things simple - you could always get another one for your other requirements.

Good luck, and enjoy.

thanks for the advice, appreciated

While you could install WIN 10 on the NUC and run all of the apps you mention, a disadvantage (for me, at least) would be the need to keep a keyboard and monitor attached to the NUC to facilitate opening/closing apps, maintenance, etc. ROCK streamlines everything because it is dedicated to running Roon so you can keep the NUC running “headless” and never worry about whether the Roon app is running when you want music.

Thanks, that makes a lot of sense.

Can you please clarify something re Roon in general. Can it output multichannel audio via the HDMI connector of a Windows 10 (or Mac I presume) PC or laptop connected to an AV receiver?

I have 2 little USB wireless connectors that allow me to use my mouse and keyboard 10 feet away

What do you use as a monitor to visualise what you are doing? A TV or projector perhaps?

If it were me I’d have two machines. Keep everything else on your existing PC and dedicate the NUC to Roon, preferably based on ROCK. I have a Windows licence for the NUC I use but would never contemplate it for use with Roon because it simply gets in the way. If you can lock Windows down so it doesn’t play hunt the update that would obviously help. But it can’t be healthy having Windows machines on your network that are not fully patched.


If you are only running services on the NUC, remote desktop will work fine for most of what you have to do. For example, if you wanted to run Plex and RoonServer, you could set up the NUC with windows to boot with auto-login and automatic start of Plex and RoonServer.
Windows, Plex, and Roon do their updates fine. You can use Remote Desktop to check in on it from any Windows computer.
A lot of us prefer to run Roon under ROCK on a dedicated machine. But there are a number of very knowledgeable Roon users who run Roon under Windows. It works just fine.
What I can’t answer is your direct question about HDMI as I don’t use it. I’m pretty sure it would work fine, but I just don’t know for sure.
I’ve set up Roon on a NUC with Windows using an HDMI cable and my TV. It worked OK, but it was a little fidgety. I’d buy the cheapest monitor you can with adequate resolution for the NUC BIOS. You will need it at some time, but you would with ROCK too.

65" TV

/10 char

thank you all for your help

if the backing storage is fast enough you can enable hyperV in windows 10 and run ROCK in a VM in the background, if you don’t plan to power off the NUC often you won’t even need to configure the autostart, which I think is tricky in windows 10.

You only need the keyboard and monitor to set up the NUC with Windows. After that you can connect via RDP over the network