Considering their own hardware runs on gen8 there is no fear of it being unsupported for a long time yet if ever. I can’t see the demands for Roon getting heavier more so lighter with them looking at using the cloud more for stuff. ROCk still works on Gen7 hardware and I get it to run on a gen3 nuc as an endpoint only.
Started with the 1st version of ROCK running on a D34010WYKH NUC, a 4th Gen i3 from ‘13 which had 8GB RAM & a 240GB SATA SSD. This wasn’t on the supported list, but ran ROCK fine. I lent it out and it is still being used.
I moved to a NUC5i3MYHE, a 5th Gen i3 from ‘15 which also had 8GB and a 240GB SATA SSD, which was and is still on the supported list, 5 years later. This also ran ROCK just fine from ‘17 though to ‘22. I have this NUC as a backup and another as a Spare. But I have built 2 more, sold one and gave another to a mate.
My library is circa 97k tracks.
These older NUCs were development machines used in the office, running Linux with dual head monitors, building software to be deployed to servers and now AWS. As we moved to Docker build environments, they have been refreshed for later NUC models with more RAM and much bigger SDDs, so have become ‘available’. They make perfect ROCK servers for smaller (less than 100k track libraries). Given that ROCK runs as an embedded headless server running a stripped down Linux derived OS.
I tested the NUC5i3 with simultaneous multi-zone playback, with convolution DSP filters applied, and format conversion DSP, and there was no break in the playback stream.
I have now moved to a NUC7i7DNK (same CPU as a Nucleus+), but with 16GB and a fast NVMe PCI Gen3 SSD, as one came available for a sensible price,
So you on a NUC10 should be provided for, for the next 10-years, unless you expand your library into the 500,000 tracks level, of course.
If you look carefully you’ll see the 5i7 isn’t supported. Neither is the 6i7. They ran too hot and there was never an official silent case for them. They work fine, but I’d seriously question the notion they were amongst the best for the reasons mentioned above. Even the 7i7 equivalent to the MkI Nucleus didn’t have a silent Akasa case assigned but there was a simple work around that preserved most of its performance while preventing overheating under load.
Akasa was super conservative about thermal dissipation capabilities of their cases.
True, if you were to run some video editing / rendering software that would load the CPU up 100% for many hours, at some point you probably could reach the limit of those cases. However, this is not how Roon ROCK works.
You can run DSD512 upsampling on NUC5i7RYH or NUC7i7BNH in Akasa Plato case for 24h and they will peak @ 35-37’C, which translates to just 13-15’C over ambient. Playing music with no DSD or at idle, they reach just 3’C over ambient.
Fun fact: when you run a Cinebench benchmark, the NUC5i7RYH and NUC7i7BNH can easily go up to 90’C (with CPU Tj max beeing 100 or 105’C) in the original Intel NUC cases with a fan. If your thermal paste is old, they can even reach 100’C and start throttling the CPU. On the very same benchmark NUC5i7RYH and NUC7i7BNH in Akasa plato case will not go past 60’C, even with maxed power settings in the BIOS.
I don’t agree fully with that (due to the fact the Nucleus+ needed additional management) but none of that changes the fact the the 5i7 and 6i7 aren’t supported as ROCK candidates. From memory a complaint of the 6i7 was it was noisy in the standard case.
NUC5i5RYH and NUC5i7RYH are the exact same boards, just higher clock speed on the later.
It all comes down to heat management. I can only guess Roon has based their “support” list also with heat management in mind. In the original Intel NUC case the NUC5i7RYH is pretty much usless - too much heat at full blast (TDP 28W), so it gets too noisy. But put it in the Akasa plato case and it is a different story.
PS. Another solution for the NUC5i7RYH is to transplant the internal radiator / fan block from the NUC7i7 - although identical in size, the 7i7 radiator is much more substantial design, all copper, which results in much greater cooling capablilites. Intel obviously has learned sth from 5th and 6th gen designs.
Just for fun, I have recently retrofited the 7i7 radiator / fan block into a NUC5i3 and the results are pretty amazing - the 5i3 maxes at 50’C under 100% load in Cinechench 15 test. I’m actually importing my 16TB library into the NUC5i3 right now just to see what happens and with all 4 cores active and 5h into the scan, the NUC case reads just 35’C, with the fan almost inaudible (probably running at ~30%).
Roon has finished importing my 16TB library. That is 170.000 songs, over 12.000 albums (6000 of which in high resolution PCM and DSD). It took the NUC5i3 4h to import those 170k albums and around 25h to scan all of the tracks for loudness leveling etc (with all 4-cores active).
Since 5i3 CPU only consumes 7W of power at full load, the amount of heat it generates is minimal. With the 7i7 heatsink / fan block transplanted, the case never went past 35’C and the fan duty cycle was very low at around 30%. That means that even at full load it was very quiet.
Stuffed with 8GB of RAM and super fast Samsung SSD (I can’t stress highly enough how important this is) the NUC5i3 didn’t feel much different in responsivnes, search times, album art load times etc. to what I’m used to with my Roon Core running on a my desktop PC under Win 10, equipped with i7-10700 CPU (note: the desktop 10i7 CPU is faster than mobile 10i7 equivalent, used in the NUC).
It just confirms what I have been telling ppl for years - unless you are a heavy DSP user or your library is exceptionally large (can’t imagine having anything more than 200.000 tracks, as my 170k already takes 16TB) - the NUC5i3 with a fast SSD is still all that is needed for 99% of users.