Roon NUC Recommendations Confusion

I’m trying to decide between Roon’s two recommenced NUCs i.e. the i3 or i7 as a dedicated machine.

My collection is maybe 2000 albums in size and I would use Roon installed on Windows 10. I would like to use maximum sample rate conversion up to 192 perhaps more in the future. Does this conversion requirement mean the i7 would be more appropriate or is the i3 sufficient?

I understand these two NUCs are recommenced for ROCK but I’d prefer to use Windows and they seem appropriate for that two.

why not the i5?

I’ve used both an i3 and an i5 NUC. I’ve used Windows and ROCK. I’ve used DSP with two simultaneous endpoints. I’ve upsampled to DSD256.

With the size of the library you contemplate either machine will do.

The only thing I could never get to play was upsampled DSD512. Not enough horsepower.

BTW - Roon’s base Nucleus is only an i3. Read that spec page to see what it can do.

Although i3 is probably sufficient, check out NUC8i5BEH. Reason is it’s quad core.

If one is just using device to only run Roon then quad core is unnecessary.

My understanding is that Roon only uses at most two cores.

On the other hand, the price difference between an i3 and an i5 is not worth the calculation.

At most two cores for DSP to one zone, but there are other tasks as well.

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Thanks for the replies and feedback.

Given that it seems Roon uses two cores and my library is small, I’m swinging towards the i3.

Could I be completely confident that the i3 would be sufficient for any up sampling demands other than DSD512? I want PCM upsampling capability, I’m not so interested in DSD so DSD limitations wouldn’t be a showstopper.

I’m thinking the i3 with a Crucial 1TB M.2 SSD and 16GB RAM. I could then store all of the music on the NUC with great performance. Does anyone have any comments on the merits or otherwise of this configuration?

Don’t believe you need 16 GB Ram. Per Roon, 8GB is sufficient.

Agree but given the price difference, I may as well get 16GB in case the machine is ever used for anything else.

Don’t confuse the storage devices. You need something like an 128 GB M.2 SSD that will boot ROCK. That cannot be used for music storage! If you get something like a Nuc8i5BEH there is an additional slot for another high capacity storage device. I got this: Samsung SSD 860 QVO 1TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76Q1T0B/AM), Gray

I think you meant “I’m not so interested in DSP” (not DSD). You might not be now, but you might in two years. I really think you should spend the extra $100 and get a bit more capabilities. You won’t regret it.

I was going to use Windows rather than ROCK. I could use a 1TB M.2 for storage in that case couldn’t I?

I meant DSD. I was talking about up scaling. I’m not interested in upscaling to DSD.

Ooops, didn’t recognize that! Yes, I believe that is a ROCK requirement, not a Windows restriction.

Regarding signal processing, I find the Room Correction through DSP is an incredible improvement. Our standard listening environments almost always mess up room response. I’m not going out on a limb by saying this can make a huge difference in how good music sounds. It is a bit of a pain to get it setup, but Roon handles DSP really well. It then comes at a cost of higher processing requirements. Hence an i5 vs an i3. I’m done evangelizing…

I have no doubt room correction can offer benefits. I’ve experienced it with my AVR and I know some people swear by DIRAC.

However, I’m happy with the sound of my system and I don’t want the learning curve or effort with my 2 channel system.

I just want a NUC that will play and upsample glitch free music. I think the the i3 could fit this brief. I’m just looking for reassurance that it can handle Roons Max sample rate conversion feature without an issue.

Are you in agreement that a 1TB M.2 SSD would do the full job on Windows 10?

Yes. I set up a similar system for a friend. Nuc7i5, this drive: SAMSUNG 860 EVO Series M.2 2280 500GB SATA III V-NAND 3-bit MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) MZ-N6E500BW , 8GB memory and Windows 10. He loves it and the whole family uses Roon.

Why did you decide to go for two drives?

Crucial’s 1TB M.2 SSD is under £100 and offers 2000MB/s read speeds rather than the 500MB/s offered by the best SATA SSDs. I think this could offer sufficient storage for me along with great performance and value.

I hope I’m not confusing you now.
For the Windows setup (for my friend), one M.2 drive. The Samsung 860 EVO ($89). It sounds like you are going down this path, but with a different brand and more capacity. That will work fine. As you say, for music I/O, this is all overkill.

I installed ROCK on my Nuc. That required one M.2 drive for booting ROCK, can’t be used for music storage. So I got another 2.5" SSD for music storage.

Different installations, different requirements.


Can I ask why you decided to go with the i5 rather than i3? From what I’ve read, Roon appears to only use 2 cores.

Honestly, I bought it because ‘it had more processing power’. Beyond that, I can’t give an intelligent answer. :wink:


Great reply!

I know what you mean. The i3 seems sufficient for me. I have nagging doubts however about whether it will have enough power. I only have these doubts because it is the entry level machine and higher performing options are available. There is no rational or intelligent reason for those reservations when it appears to offer everything I need and the dearer option would give me nothing extra. I still have them!

One can’t go wrong with more processing power.

Even if one doesn’t need it, it’s better than thinking about what might have been.:expressionless:

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