Roon Core requirements: which generation of i3 processor is enough?

The official requirement specs on are super vague on this detail, just stating “Intel Core i3” as a requirements – but surely there’s MASSIVE difference in performance between various generations of Intel i3 chips!

So, what generation of i3 would be sufficient for a Core that’s mostly used for Qobuz & Tidal streaming plus some EQ’ing in the DSP department? (More probably a Linux/Win machine than a ROCK, if that makes a difference)

I’m considering moving my Core from my multi-purpose iMac to a dedicated fanless server, but don’t want to spend a fortune so don’t want to get the latest & greatest “just in case” if it’s not really needed.

I believe the Nucleus is an 8th gen i3 so anything after that will do it.

Side note:

Roon should really list what’s in that product.

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Thanks! I can sort of understand why they’d not want to be 100% open on what’s “in the box” when it comes to Nucleus, but at least the requirements for the Core SW really should be actionable and not on the specificity of “yeah get a CPU, those are great” :sweat_smile:

It’s my understanding the single core base processing frequency is more important for Roon performance than the total number of cores/threads. For instance my NUC base processing speed is 2.7. I’ve seen other NUC’s with the base at 1.1… Keep that in mind while you shop.

Without any heavy DSP and only streaming, then even a Celeron NUC would work.

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In fairness to roon, on this page you can find the exact model they recommend:

That’s a different page than the Core requirements. And one that’s specific to ROCK. If I’m searching for requirements for Core in general (not ROCK specifically) as a simpleton user, I’d expect that information to be on a page that’s titled as such, instead of just in case going through the whole support site to see if there’s some additional bits of detail somewhere else.

Is that statement verified with experience or just guestimating…?

Ah my bad, I thought you were moving from using your iMac to creating a dedicated roon machine.

I am, but there are also other options for that than the ROCK OS for that. Core can be run on Win, Linux, Mac…

True but it runs best on ROCK. If you aren’t using it for anything else then I’m not sure it would make sense to put windows on it.

There are people who run Core on Celerons or even on Pentiums.

Your use case, is the lightest of any Roon usage, so I would think my advice would hold. Windows will be the neediest user, not Roon.

OTOH, there’s probably a $100 difference between a Celeron and an i3. I made my comment to illustrate that, for you, any i3 should have enough juice.

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Just way more options available if you don’t need to comply with the very specific requirements of ROCK. Certainly not after having a Windows computer at home specifically, but in general e.g a generic Linux setup would be about as lightweight as ROCK (which I believe is a Linux variant in itself…)

Thanks, exactly the kind of info I was looking for! Again, very difficult to find this kind of practical details on the official Roon docs…


FWIW, doesn’t significantly change my answer, but after checking I see that Innuos uses a Celeron.

That’s true, but they only extend support to those machines they specify as supported for ROCK. Anything else is MOCK or “you get what you get”. Lots of folks bring subspec machines and/or networks, submit support requests, and are told “well, the spec of your [machine/network] is probably the root of your issue”. I think that’s fair. To the extent that you’re trying to plumb the edges, my suggestion would be to try if you have hardware lying around. And if you’re buying, spend the extra dosh to get a machine that’s well within spec.

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Yeah, and what I’m doing here is trying to establish what exactly that spec is :sweat_smile:

Totally fair. For me the words “well within” are doing a lot of work. If it were me buying a new / used NUC, I’d get a 7i5. But for you, I’d just get a machine that were lying around / free and try and see how it goes. No one is going to tell you what that absolute minimum is, I think.

Modern, general-purpose Linux distros run a lot of background infrastructure stuff. ROCK uses a Linux kernel and tools, but it is not based on a distro (not even a stripped-down one) and instead is built specifically to run only the minimum that it needs.

I run Roon Server (not Rock) on a MeLE Quieter3C, so on a Celeron. Not on the preinstalled Windows 11 OS though, but on a Samsung 980 SSD with a very slim/tweaked version of Debian. Could not be happier.

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