Roon Core options

Good catch!

You can ONLY install ROCK on the M.2 SSD. No tunes.
The SATA drive is an easy plug in in the BEH case. Takes 1 minute to plug it in. It will automatically format, then you move your music to it. That may take days.
Two separate drives.

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Scott’s right the main internal disc is for Roon OS only and cannot be used for music so you don’t need anything bigger than 64gb for it. You can then add another 2.5" SSD to host the music or add a usb drive with it on.

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From the ROCK Getting Started article:

  • Make sure you are installing to an SSD and not a spinning disk. The NUCs we recommend have an M.2 SSD slot for just this purpose. ROCK’s installer will use a tiny bit of it for the operating system, and the rest for the Roon Database.
  • The SSD can not be used for music content . If you want music content in this device, use another disk (see below about “internal storage”)
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Sounds like you’re all sorted, but chiming in as an Atom (wifi) user to confirm that almost any path you choose will work out fine.

I started with Roon Core on a general purpose Mac mini (late 2012 i7, 16GB, 500GB SSD system disk and 1 TB spinning SATA data disk), migrated it to a Synology NAS (there is a super easy package due to forum user Criek that is the way to go; I have the 918+ with 8 GB but never installed in an SSD just to see how it would work), then just a few weeks ago I ordered and built built a NUC 8i3 with 8GB, 128GB m.2 for OS and an internal 500GB SSD for local storage (“just because” and as an extra copy on a different box). I followed the online guide and installed ROCK (pay attention as you update the bios and set boot order).

My ROON user experience was fine on all three platform iterations, no sound quality issues at any time, no revolutionary user experience changes… but I have a plan to add and remove more Tidal content via Favourites and I thought the extra processing power of the i3 would be nice (and it certainly imports and rebuilds faster than the Synology).

I’ve always had the Core on a wired Ethernet connection; some of my Roon End Points are wifi (a Sonos 1, the Naim Atom and sometimes Naim Qb) and some are wired (a Naim Nova and sometimes the Qb) but that is determined by location in my house. I stuck the NUC downstairs out of the way after I had it working and treat it as an auto-update appliance that just works away in the background, but whenever I’ve gone down to listen or touch it is sitting quietly and very cool… maybe if I turn on more fancy features (like room correction) that would change…but so far zero hassles.

So keep going, stay relaxed, don’t be afraid to start with what you have then migrate to your planned NUC i7 build for ROCK. Good luck and have fun.

Regards alan

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A USB drive will also work great. There may be instances where the internal SATA SSD drive is a little snappier, but they will be pretty close. I just preferred the internal SATA SSD to keep everything compact and sleek. The USB drive has it’s advantages too. You can always add the internal drive later. Keeps costs down now.

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I just wanted to add one other thing to this thread for you when you set things up. As Slim said, the whole thing is pretty easy (especially the hardware part). Some people report issues with getting BIOS set up right. I’d read through the Roon KB articles first. You may also want to refer to this thread, starting around Post 26. @ScreenMachine found the instructions in the KB did not mesh with his installation experience, so he wrote down notes from his install.
The Community is really helpful and there to help if questions arise.

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As an aside -

The ROCK instructions say to update the BIOS. I don’t believe updating (not to be confused with any BIOS setup you may have to do) the BIOS is necessary any longer, especially with a GEN8 NUC.

Updating BIOS can be fraught with peril. I never do it unless I absolutely have to.

Try it without the update, first. It’ll probably be OK.

Have fun. :sunglasses:

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@grossmsj thanks a lot for the clarification. So I will buy a 16 GB RAM, 128 GB M.2 hard drive and possibly a 1 TB SATA SSD. I will install ROCK on the 128 GB hard drive and copy my music to thr SATA 1TB.

I will look into that thread that you linked here. Thanks again. This group has been truly helpful.


Get a server like antipodes audio, all the Linux code written, apps installed, plug n play. No fuss no muss fantastic sound.

I have a Mac Mini as Core, am happy with it but it won’t last forever. The new ones are very expensive. If I replaced it with a NUC and run it headless in a remote location, is it possible to access it via Mac screen sharing? I don’t own any Intel or Windows devices, so have no way to test. If not via Mac screen sharing, there must be some way to access the NUC remotely from a web browser, or something, for routine maintenance. What do people use?

Regarding an optional power supply, at one point Roon was considering making one available but ran into problems alluded to in the below quote from a Roon principal in Feb. 2018. That suggests that Roon felt there was an advantage to be had in a different type of power supply.

If you install ROCK on the NUC, there is no need to access it at all once setup. I am not even sure if SSH is enabled on it and I have never felt the need to poke under the hood as it just works and works well. This does of course mean that it cant host extensions either, however I find a NAS or raspberry pi to be good for that.

There is a basic web UI for setup and in case you need to re-install anything.

As for routine maintenance - it takes care of itself. Think of it as an appliance once setup rather than a computer.

My Mac Mini’s main purpose is to run the Roon core. However, occasionally I have used it for other (mostly music-related) applications (such as HQplayer, BitPerfect, HDtracks music downloads, iTunes, Pandora, REW). So all that is out the window with a NUC? I thought these things were sold to most people for general purpose Windows computing, in which case I could run Roon core on it the same way I do on my Mac Mini. Is it ROCK, not the Roon Core per se, that turns it into a single purpose machine?

No problems here.
There is a browser-based GUI to view the NUC/ROCK.
You can mount the ROCK like any other network drive and move files to it by drag and drop.

A NUC can run any compatible OS - Windows, whatever flavour of Linux, etc, probably even OSX though prohibited by Apple’s license. In the end it is just a well known tiny PC. There are editions of NUCs that include Windows.

ROCK however is a Linux (I believe) based OS optimized to specifically run Roon - hence the name - Roon Optimized Core Kit - ROCK.

If you want to run applications and services other than Roon, then ROCK will not be suitable. OTOH if you want to be able to treat Roon server as a hands off appliance like any other hardware streamer, then IMHO ROCK is the ideal solution. Maybe with Roon removed from the Mac Mini onto its own hardware and left in effect as an appliance, the mac mini will better serve for your other uses.

There are probably many audio optimized Linux distributions that you may find suitable if you want to get off OSX. I am sure there are folks here who could advise on a suitable distribution. These days many such Linux distributions are quite hands off once setup to the extent that I probably consider them my favoured OS (whether x64 or Arm variants) for appliance like devices.

It’s not that I want to get off OSX. I love OSX.
But if my Mini breaks down tomorrow, I want options for Roon Core (plus other stuff), besides buying another Mini at roughly double the $759 I paid for this one. Preferably a single box, low clutter, relatively low cost solution with SQ at least as good as what I have now (which is quite good, to my ears). I mean, I don’t buy a single-purpose automobile (with no heat or AC, no entertainment system, no passenger seats) just to optimize the driving experience. I expect a modern computer to be able to serve up good audio SQ while also performing a few other functions (assuming it’s appropriately configured, with adequate RAM, reasonably fast CPU, etc.)

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You have no need to worry. The hardware is every bit as capable as Mac hardware (seeing as it is the same!) so you just pick the flavour of software you can live with easiest.

I’ve just purchased a refurb HP desktop and fitted it with an SSD for less than £100 - it runs ROCK fine so far

I was of a mind to add a graphics card to turn it into a Hackintosh which would have been another £50 or so

If you buy a NUC (a NUC not Nucleus) and run WIN10 or a Linux fork (but not ROCK), then you can use a Remote Desktop app to log into the machine.

I use Jump Desktop.

I remote into a Mini from a NUC, but you can go in the opposite direction also.