Roon Hardware Platform Suggestions

@Jacques_Distler that Orbi is the router. I have satellites in other rooms.

@Henry_McLeod Are you thinking that the NUC10 series will run at lower thermal requirements and thus be able to do upscaling and room correction with less heat output and thus suit a fanless NUC design?

@Jim_F there is a question whether a fanless NUC can cope with the heat dissipation demands of upscaling & room correction from what I read.

So, how about running a 20 feet ethernet cable from your router through the wall to the next room? Put as many fans in the NUC as you want.

@Roony that link looks interesting. I will look into that as a possible solution as I understand the vendor is very active in his service backup.

Yes it’s a last resort approach which will certainly work and which I will keep in mind if no better novel ideas appear.

1 Like

The “sonicTransporter” music servers from Small Green Computer are similar to the Nucleus, but a bit less expensive. They are fan-less. I have an sT i9. I like it, but have not been able to make it upsample to DSD256 using all the DSP filters and modulators I’d like to try. A Windows box (appropriately configured with the right drivers), may be less limited in that respect (and less expensive than the sT i9). It also would give you the capabilities of a full-function computer (if you want them.)

My set-up currently has the sT i9 connected via ethernet jumper to an Orbi modem/router located away from the music room.The stream is sent via WiFi backhaul to an Orbi satellite attached to an A/V cabinet across from my main listening chair. This seems to work fine. The main reason I locate the sTi9 in a separate room is to reduce the number of boxes, cord clutter, and heat in the small cabinet. In the same cabinet, there is a Mac Mini (i5) used to generate Roon displays to a 24" TV, and also for music-related files and software. It can run Roon Core and also HQ Player concurrently (almost as well and almost as quietly as the sT i9, in a smaller form factor). It was much less expensive (in 2016) than the sTi9, so the latter was really an indulgence. I’m not sure that electrical noise or fan noise is such a problem with a co-located Mini (or some other full-function computers). YMMV. Perhaps some reported issues with electrical noise result from ground loops, which are more likely to occur as you add more devices and cables (and aren’t careful to interconnect them correctly).

In your situation, I’d probably be inclined to go with a small Windows machine connected to an Orbi base station (or something similar) away from the listening room. This may be the least expensive of several good alternatives, and possibly the most powerful if you want to get into heavy-duty upsampling (or other digital signal processing). Later, you might want to consider adding an ethernet (copper or fiber optic) line connecting the two rooms, in case you aren’t completely happy with the high-speed WiFi backhaul.

Pretty much yes.

I’m thinking that should be your first resort.

I am wondering whether it is possible to have a pc or NUC in another room hard wire connected to an Orbi satellite then via backhaul wifi to the Orbi base station router to which a streamer is hard wire connected. Sort of the reverse of your setup. I’m a novice at networking so don’t know whether that makes any sense. I’m trying to avoid running surface wires through my living room where the router is located (see photo in my first post) into the adjacent room. I have solid concrete and brick walls so it’s hard to do this and keep things looking good in the living room. Thank you very much for having taken the time to give such a detailed description of your setup. Very much appreciated mate.

What Roon recommends is a wired connection between your Roon Core machine and the internet.

If your wifi network is good (and an Orbi system should be), a wireless connection between your Roon Core machine and your Roon endpoint(s) is supposed to be fine.

Concrete and brick walls sound intimidating. But how is your router connected to the internet? There must already be a cable drawn.

Yes, my router is the Orbi white object on the left in the photo on my 1st post. It is sitting 1m from the internet access point in my living room where I listen. It is also wire connected to the black case pc on the left which is my general purpose pc. My wired conection is quite quick (1Gbps fibre) but of course the wifi via the orbi satellites will be slower.

And the internet Access Point is located on an exterior wall, I presume?

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.

1 Like

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.

1 Like

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).