ROCK or Windows on NUC, or SonicTransporter, or?

Hey there,

I am a new convert to Roon (from MediaMonkey), and I have issues trying to cast to 5 Chromecasts at once in my home via the core installed on my 5 yr old AMD FX7130 with 8GB of ram win10 machine.

So I am considering my options, whether to upgrade to a multipurpose 8th gen windows machine (i7?) with, say 16GB Ram, or get a 7Gen i3 NUC specifically to run ROCK, or spend more money on a SonicTransporter (which runs a 6th gen i5).

I do not do DSP (other than volume limiting/headroom management), but just want to be able to cast to my 5 Chromecasts, sometimes MQA format via tidal (MQA I currently do only via the Tidal due to Chromecast dropouts in Roon, but not in the Tidal app).

In short, would a general purpose installation suffice, or do I need a bespoke server? Should I drop $1200 Canadian on a SonicTransporter even though it is still using the 6th Gen i5, which was retired this past March (or perhaps the processor is not the key issue?)

Thanks in advance for any advice! Loving Roon other than the resources it consumes on my old AMD rig…

The differences in the generations of CPU don’t matter as much as you might imagine for Roon (at least at these iterations). The SonicTransporter is excellent, as is their support, despite the core they have now.
But if you are even halfway handy at plugging in a couple of components and following computer instructions, the Nuc/ROCK is a no brainer. If I were you, I’d get the Nuc7i5. It seems a sweet spot between cost/capabilities. But the i3 will work fine.
I got a Nuc8i7 as I do DSP, etc. It took 30 minutes to get it all going start to finish.

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Thanks! So you wouldn’t advise a more modern, but multipurpose computer, then? Definitely ROCK vs a Win10 install (I was thinking of not using it except for very occasional web browsing etc.)?

I suggest you get a quad core CPU, i.e. NUC8i5BEH quad core, not NUC7i5 dual core.


Thanks, wklie, going to call my local computer guy for a quote, is there a reason to get the tall BEK over the slim BEH? Looks like they use different sized SSD drives…

The tall BEH supports a M.2 SSD for ROCK OS and database and a 2.5" drive for music. This is necessary because in ROCK database and music cannot reside in the same drive.

The short BEK supports only a M.2 SSD, no room to fit a 2.5" drive.

Well, if you get a NUC8i5BEH you can run it a couple ways. You can make it a ROCK, which is ONLY Roon. Don’t have to buy Windows 10, the OS is free. Or you could put Windows 10 on it and run it with more functionality. It will still work great for Roon. In fact some here say it works better in some dimensions.
The only thing about Nucs is there will be occasional fan noise. It’s best if you can put it out of the way hooked up to your ethernet LAN. For ROCK, this is fine. You don’t have to see much, and you can do that easily via browser. If you are using it for Windows you could use Remote Desktop to connect to it.

Thanks, guys! So if I opt to run Win10, I can get the shorter one and have roon and the storage on the same (m.2) drive? I also see these fanless cases for the Nuc by a company called Akasa…

If you want the Nuc in the room, silent, you can buy the case. There is more involved in setting it up, and it costs more. I think the Akasa case looks hideous.
These Nucs are really tiny. Unless you need to hide it, there isn’t much advantage to the short one. I got the tall case and put in a 1TB SSD drive. The m.2 drives cost more (I think), but I’m not aware of any other advantage for music storage.
BTW, welcome to the Community.

Yes but m.2 SSD is limited in capacity, and for large capacity it can get much more expensive than 2.5" HDD. You can search Akasa here, there are some members using this brand of fanless cases.

I will price one out with the taller i5 case with the fan, and a 1TB 2.5" SSD then! I don’t think the fan noise will bother me. But then I just have to weigh my options regarding the SonicTransporter, whether the extra few hundred $ is worth the turn-key appliance-like, self-updating nature of the beast!

My residence in Canada adds a spin to the issue: Nuc8s are in tight supply here, it seems (not much on NewEgg, nothing on Amazon or BestBuy), and SonicTransporters need to go through Customs from the USA, though there is one for sale on, new in box :smile:

Um, but this applies to a NUC/ROCK just as much - it’s also designed to be an appliance…

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For completeness, Nuc/ROCK is also built to automatically update. Windows, of course, no. But SonicTransporter is great, and as easy as it gets.

“Um, but this applies to a NUC/ROCK just as much - it’s also designed to be an appliance…”

True! Though I think I may be tempted to install Win10 on the Nuc, especially if as is whispered, that Roon may run as good or even better on windows!

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That’s why the decision is so hard!

I think this belief can be traced back to a comment from Brian that if you’ve got a humongous library (say 550,000 tracks), then indeed Windows is your best bet. But for us ordinary mortals it will make not the slightest bit of difference.

There are reasons to use Windows if you want. Which provides better SQ, well, that is always in the ears of the listener. But, there are some reasons like DSD and drivers where a windows endpoint makes more sense. I personally use Windows.

To me, the Amplifier, the speakers, and a well setup room, all matter more than Roon Core’s OS choice. Even DAC is more important. Although, how you connect to the DAC can make some differences.

Is is warrantied by @agillis who gives lifetime support and 1 year on hardware?
Andrew has helped me more times than I’d like to say.

The sonicTransporter has a lot of other features built in not just Roon. Things like auto backup etc. Also it’s fanless unlike an NUC.


Yes, of course, Andrew, thank you! The advantages of your system are many. Just trying to decide if I want a windows machine or not. I am wavering between the two!