Roon Hardware Platform Suggestions

My core is currently running on a NAS, which is hardwire connected to the WiFi router. All my endpoints are WiFi connected, through multiple (drywall) walls. No issues at all. I’d try it first with your Orbi setup, then if you need to you can run wires through your walls.

I would highly recommend storing your core server somewhere other than your living room if you can - then you don’t need to worry about fanless etc. I run a refurbished i5-3470 pc with 8gb of memory and a 240gb SSD running windows 10 professional, I have around 80000 tracks in my database but do not currently use qobuz or tidal. The music itself is stored on a separate NAS. My music is a combination of ripped CDs, SACDs and high resolution downloads. I have played with the DSP settings etc. and even transcoding from PCM to DSD 256 there is still some processing capacity left on the PC (although not much). I think a bit more processing power would give me a bit more growth so I am looking at a newer PC at some point soon and will probably go down the route of a i5 8th or 9th generation with DDR4 memory (double the speed). Having looked out there at used/refurbished options - that looks to be around £500. The current PC I am using cost me about £200, I just wanted to get something cheap to see if roon was worth the investment…

Rock is highly recommended indeed. but a Fanless chassis is desirable too, even if its a windows box. Keeping it in another room is of course better from a noise and visual perspective if you have an endpoint that is networkable.

NUC10 isn’t officially supported yet. Should be, might work, just not officially supported today.

Depending on the case, it definitely will handle the heat, even in a warm environment. Where your son is right is that a passive case generally won’t handle a desktop i7 at full tilt, but the NUCs use laptop processors, so lower power usage (and heat).

The way I’d go at it is first buy one of RoonLabs’ recommended configurations, build that and see if that works for you noise-wise, and if it doesn’t, get a passive case.

Akasa’s offerings should do the trick, but if you want more peace of mind as far as cooling is concerned, HDPlex also has an option. It’s physically bigger, because it’s designed for processors that dissipate more than double what a NUC8 does (65w vs 28w), so cooling a NUC processor will most definitely not be a problem. It’s also a couple of hundred, so more expensive, but more hifi-like in its finish.

What I don’t know is if there’s a NUC case that’s simultaneously cheap and can take a big, silent, fan.

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I started a thread here on basically building a beast (ideally silent) but others have chimed in with valid points as its goes along. the HQP comments from Jussi are important considerations too if upsampling is in your plans

Before you spend any money on either i5 or i7 NUC or the later Generations - see List Your NUC Capabilities Here for actual benchmark comparison of an NUC5i3 vs NUC8i7 involving upconverting, downsampling, Room EQ in mutli-zones.

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I’ve done that when I had the Core running (either from a Mac or sTi9) in my living room, hard-wired to the Orbi satellite. I have a Bluesound Node 2i patched via ethernet cable to the Orbi base station in a separate room. For the Node 2i operations, it does not seem to make much difference whether the music server (running Roon Core) is connected several feet away to the Orbi base station or across the house to the Orbi satellite. Your Mileage May Vary (with the brick walls or other variations).

Thank you for this, I’ll take a look at the HDPlex.

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I know very little about this so I very much appreciate being able to follow your progress.

That’s very interesting. I have no problem with streaming video etc via wifi in the room in which I’d like to locate the Core using my MacBook Pro currently. I might try to put the core on my laptop and see how that works as a free trial of wireless capability. If it does, I could put In another satellite for a hard wired connection and then back haul via wifi to the Orbi base station in the living room to my streamer. Thanks so much for sharing your situation as it has similarities to mine.

@Roy_Gaggino Roy I sent you a private message.

Also bear in mind if Roon is to be the only app running on your core PC

Mine runs a DLNA server for my video library , hence I use Windows to allow both servers

I have an I7 in a Streacom FC8 and I use it as my main desktop as well as a Roon remote. Heat is not an issue. It has been very reliable. I didn’t build it myself, but you can get a Streacom FC8 for less than $200. When you consider you no longer need a cooling solution which would cost you more than $100 if you don’t use the stock fan, it becomes much more affordable.

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I run an. I7-7700 in an FC8 too…chugs away 24x7 does DSD512 upsampling no issues. Handles a 275k track library and is headless. Windows 10 is tolerated for this unit. Running for 2+ years nonstop

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You didn’t say how big your library is, how many endpoints you want to play to simultaneously (it seems like just the one), how much upsampling you want to do, etc.

You don’t necessarily need an i7. Here’s one of my old setups.

I’ve upsampled to DSD256 and run three endpoints without any problems.
My library is about 20,000 tracks. Mostly Qobuz.
I’ve used both Roon under WIN10 and ROCK. As far as SQ, they are equivalent.
Nucleus is just a Roon branded NUC, albeit fanless and in a nice case…
If you run ROCK, then you can only use the machine to run Roon.
If you run Roon under WIN10, then (with additional software) you can also use the machine as a general purpose media device, i.e. movies, photos, streams other than Tidal or Qobuz.

My i5 sits on my desk. I’ve never heard any fan noise.

BTW - for some reason Amazon is not letting me show graphics of my links. I guess Amazon thinks I’m a Bot. There are 3 links there. Click on them to go to the site and my product picks.

Yes this will be a sole function unit.


My info probably got lost in the verbiage:smile: It’s really interesting to learn that you’ve never heard any fan noise. It might well be what my son said and that is that I’ve got a cheap fan cooler and I just need a quiet fan to solve the problem. I might have got a little side tracked with people talking about background processes in Windows machines degrading ROON sound performance and so started thinking about a purpose built unit. I see the links and will look. Thank you for your time mate, much appreciated!


I pointed to an old NUC Gen because that’s what I have.

If you go the NUC route, you’ll want to buy the latest Gen, obviously. It won’t be priced any higher.

Have fun.

You could also consider, if sticking with windows for a dedicated use, something like Fidelizer to reduce windows processes. I will be looking at this for my dedicated w10 system too.

I bought a used NUC i3. I have it next to my router. I run Windows 10 and it works just fine and cost peanuts. I am considering moving to Linux though.