Here is a low cost NUC alternative that runs unmodififed ROCK. I couldn’t find a 8th gen i5 NUC for similar money. Specs are a little overkill but this configuration is on sale for $399 through Lenovo.
8th gen i5
500 GB SSD
built in wifi and bluetooth
Win 10 Pro - Which I will replace with ROCK
To make this work, all you need to do is modify the BOIS settings. However, if you are like me and want the ability to possibly switch back to Win10 in the future, you need to create some install media as the unit ships with Win10 Pro preinstalled and no media. If you don’t care about that, skip that section (steps 4-8). ROCK installs quickly, less than 5 min. For me start to finish, including creating Windows media, and Roon backup and restore took less than 1 hour. That included reading documentation, figuring out the BIOS settings and taking notes. If you follow this guide, it should go much faster. Of course the backup and restore times will vary based upon your Roon library. Excluding backup and restore, this should take no more than 15 minutes.
- Go to your current Roon Core and do a backup. This can take a while so start it now. Unless you have a huge library it should be complete by the time you need it.
- Download ROCK image
- Flash image to USB
Create Windows 10 media
- Boot Lenovo
- Go through Windows 10 setup
- Download Windows install and create media (USB or ISO)
- Take a screenshot of the Windows Product ID (key). Be sure to save it somewhere not on the Lenovo m90.
Install ROCK image on Lenovo
- Start the computer. Press F1 immediately when you see the Lenovo logo
- Change BIOS settings. IMPORTANT, you must change them in this order.
10a. Advanced, Window Modern Stand By - Disable
10b. Startup, CSM - Enable
10c. Boot Priority - Legacy First
- Insert USB created in step 3
- F10 - Save and Exit
- Start and press F12 immediately when you see the Lenovo logo. Choose the USB drive for boot.
- Answer questions and it ROCK will be installed. Once complete you will have the ip address for the ROCK. NOTE, you must have an ethernet connection. No wi-fi.
Post Install Config
- Go to ROCK web interface and check CODEC. They are probabaly missing.
- Connect to ROCK via SMB and save ffmpeg file to CODEC directory. See the following for more info. https://kb.roonlabs.com/Roon_OS_Missing_Codecs
- Reboot ROCK from web interface.
- Go to you old Core and verify the Backup from step 1 is complete. Once it is complete. Shutdown the old Core.
- Using a Mac, Windows PC, iPad or Android tablet (no phones) start Roon connect to ROCK. Since this is your first time launching ROCK, you will be asked to log-in when you connect. Instead of logging in, click “Restore A Backup” in the lower-left hand corner.
- Restore your Roon backup from step 1. My music and backups are stored on a NAS so I entered the network locations at this time. At this point your new ROCK will have the same name as your old core. Don’t worry about that, just proceed. We’ll fix that once we are in Roon. I had to log into Roon after restoring the database. It said my license was already in use so I simply told it to deauthorize to old Core. It continued and then everything was there in ROCK. I chose to go into Setting, Setup and change the name of the Core to ROCK so I would know I was connecting to the new server. Remember because I restored from a backup it originally had the name of the old Core. All my Audio sources where configured. My backup was configured. But I suggest you verify that yourself.
Enjoy listening to your new Lenovo ROCK.
Note: this little device is near silent but not fanless. I can’t hear the fan when I am 1 ft away. When running my centeral HVAC is louder. So is the slight hum from my plasma display. This ROCK will not be in my listening room anyway. It will be mounted in a closet with my networking gear.