Roon Core Server OS Recommendations?

I have been using Windows Server 2019 as my Roon server. I run it headless in the no-desktop mode. I also use Audiophile Optimizer to tweak the OS. This has worked well for me but I have been using a trial version which will run out of renewals soon.

I do tend toward “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” but I also I do like trying new things that may bring improvement. So I am open to suggestions for other OS implementations that are working well for you. I would like to keep my custom/DIY built fanless Intel PC so I guess that I need either some version of Windows or else Linux. Previously I have tried Windows Server 2016, Rock, Audiolinux and Windows 10. So far Windows 2019 was the best. I have not tried Windows 11 or Windows Server 2022.

Any input based on your own experience?


I use Linux Mint, but I might be moving to Ubuntu Server to have an even more stripped down OS.

I was almost a complete novice before starting with Linux, I previously flirted with Pear OS before it was cancelled.

I’ve been using Ubuntu Server for the past couple of years with no problems.

Recently updated to a new installation of Ubuntu Server 22.04.1 in preparation for Roon 2.0.

Took about an hour to install (minimal server with SSH for remote access), set up Roon and move the database/settings to the new core.

All this is done on a 32gb USB drive - so you could try installing on a USB drive and see how you go.

I run their server software.

I purchased a 2018 Optiplex 3050, i5 6500, 16GB ram, and chucked in 128GB nvme. I run this headless. Paid £49 for the unit, purchased the nvme. It has a 2TB HDD connected to it for my music. This was previously connected to my NAS, but some recommended having the drive connected directly to the unit.

For well under £100/$100 you have a very capable machine. No need to screen share or login. It’s a tiny Linux distro. The unit sits out the way, and it’s on 24/7, even more so now due to the new ARC app.

I do tend to bang on about this setup a lot, but it’s a great way to tinker and learn. One can always upgrade, but seeing as I don’t do any intensive tasks, it runs flawlessly.

What is the motivation to do this rather than installing ROCK on a NUC? Just wondering. Is it the prospect of a more powerful CPU than the ROCK NUCs currently support? Or just for kicks? Curious

For me, I have a number of ageing Mac mini’s that have become redundant (I had them replaced every two years by my company) and would just gather dust if I did not re-purpose them.

They are still capable machines, especially when rejuvenated with the swap to Linux distro’s.


Since my free ride on Windows Server 2019 ends in a few months I need a new OS one way or the other so I am just trying to find out what others are happy with. I could try Rock on it. My server is not an officially sanctioned NUC but I did try ROCK as a MOCK on a similar motherboard previously.

I might give Audiolinux another try as a server. On my endpoint I run it from a USB drive as ramroot (loaded in memory). It is working well in that spot.

Thanks for all of the replies!

1 Like