Roon Core Options?

Hi all,

I currently run my Roon Core on a Surface Pro 7 which I use constantly for work, play, etc.

  • Intel i7
  • Windows 10 home
  • Memory 16 GB Ram
  • Wireless, obviously Roon only works when machine is on.

Am I better served keeping Roon on the Surface Pro or moving to a dedicated (but older) laptop which would ONLY be used for Roon and constantly left on?

  • Intel i3
  • Windows 8
  • Memory 4 GB Ram
  • Would be wired and left on so Roon could always be accessed.

Thoughts would be appreciated. Wondering if laptop is simply too old to handle but with heavy use on the Surface Pro (which impacts playing Roon at times) I am thinking something dedicated would serve me better Thanks in advance,


Dan, just my thoughts here, and have used both MacBookPros and W10/11 laptops for my Core the past three years. One on level, the Core really should be thought of as an appliance, always-on and available to serve music throughout your home. Practically speaking, a Nucleus or ROCK serves that purpose well, but at a price (though still reasonable).

For any number of reasons, I have kept my MBPro as my Core and it serves me well. I have only local tracks, close to 18K now, and my 2019 MBPro is a 32GB, 8-core/16-thread that remains very useful for this and other tasks on the laptop. Occassionally I will move my core to a dedicated W11 i5 16GB laptop from 2018 that also serves its purpose, and can remain on 100% of the time except the fan is dirty and out-of-balance, so buzzes.

Looking at your current Core, this is a fine machine, but you don’t list how many tracks you have, need DSP, or want to run DSD at higher rates. Just given the age, using W8, and the memory limitation, the proposed laptop may not have enough power. One other aspect is security. W8 is not supported by Microsoft anymore, and security updates will cease in January 2023; this is personal but I don’t like to run an OS that does not receive active security updates.

As the Surface Pro 7 works, my recommendation would be to keep the Core on that, but I don’t know all of the other uses of your laptop.


Don’t use the laptop. However, setting up a dedicated machine for RoonServer is a good thing.

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An intel i3 will handle most normal stuff quite easily but it depends on if you want to use multi zones and DSP, if that = No, then an i3 is fine

Memory will be a problem though, 4GB is very low, the OS will eat 2GB and that doesn’t leave much much for Roon. Roon pretty much runs all its software from memory so if possible max it out.

How many songs/albums in your library?

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If you are willing to switch to Apple, a 16GB Mac Mini M1 would be a really nice core. M1 Macs are the best performance/price deal now, which was never the case for Apple before they rolled their own silicon.


Thabks for the responses. Agree i’d like to have aomething always on / dedicated…especially wjen sometimes theres issues connecting with dofferent speakers. I have three blusound speakers in various room and also commect a DragonFly Red to the surface pro to play music. Library has about 120k songs, half sit on an external wired external Seagte Harddrive (mainly FLAC, some mp3s). Ohter half is Qobuz and Tidal. I get the Qobuz “media loading slowly error” that others receive so going forward may just use Tidal and the external HD.

Yes the low memory concerns me. About 120k songs

I’d never recommend starting a “new” server in such an old OS. The memory is too low for such a big library too.
If you could upgrade the memory and install a new version of Windows then it would work but then it would be grandfather’s axe :relaxed:


If you are thinking of spending money on this then go the NUC route . I just went to a NUC 10i7 with ROCK installed . I used 32 Gb RAM but 16 Gb would be OK for that library size. Previously I used my normal domestic i7 Desktop

if you wanted to stay windows then you could install windows on the NUC but ROCK is custom built for Roon

This would be a 24/7 solution simply wired to the network and forgot about

Just my 2p. That laptop sounds underpowered , under RAM’ed and a recipe for frustration


Agree with you both. Think i’ll either stand pat for moment or ultimately spend a few bucks for something dedicated that i wont have to worry abour (sometimtes now when firing up Roon not all speakers nor external would always connect for example). Thanks for feedback

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Whilst it’s not the answer you want nor the feedback you asked for, another vote for a NUC running ROCK. I procrastinated forever before taking the leap - in my case trying to decide between NAS or NUC. I bought mine at the link below a while back (for the avoidance of doubt I have no association) and it’s been faultless. I’ve never once regretted my decision. It just sits there doing its thing silently with no intervention from me ever (save for it politely asking if it should update itself on occasion). Just perfect. Good luck with whichever path you choose :slightly_smiling_face:

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