Roon Nucleus RAM Upgrade?

I ordered an identical 4GB ram module to what’s installed in my Nucleus.

I don’t want to burst your bubble, but I just installed 2 8gb modules, and the system is considerably faster with loading album artwork, and processing. I have the standard Nucleus. Kind of surprised that it only comes with 4GB to begin with. The cost of the 4GB and the 8GB modules were the same. FYI.


Not bursting my bubble…I agree with you 100% that it seems to perform much much better in all the areas you described! I am very glad I did it! I think anyone with a nucleus plus and a large library or those that don’t feel it isn’t as snappy as they thought it would be should definitely consider this cheap and easy upgrade! I would still like slightly faster load times of the Overview and Discover pages (they are still faster than before the RAM upgrade)…they still seem a tad sluggish compared with the near instant results/returns of everything else!

If 4GB is enough. Then, 8GB is more than enough.

sorry, just an expression. Didn’t mean any harm by it. I actually agree with you. 4gb plus another 4gb will probably show just as much improvement than I saw with 8+8. I just figured if I was buying a 4gb for the same price as an 8, then I may as well buy the 8, and another 8 for $35 while im at it. Again, 8 and16 will most likely show identical performance.

We do not throttle RAM usage. If you got a performance increase from replacing the RAM, it’s because the RAM got faster, or you are experiencing a placebo effect.

If you have too little RAM, Roon does not use slower storage to keep working, it just runs out and crashes.

Some systems (windows, macos, many linux distributions, etc…), depending on the install, will swap out the contents of less commonly used physical RAM to SSD/HDD. On those systems, you would feel a massive performance drop if you run out of physical RAM, and increasing RAM would prevent that drop. However, Roon OS does not do this. If you run out, you will crash.


Are you saying that you have virtual memory disabled on the kernel you guys use with the Nucleus OS? That is the main way you would turn off low use or unused memory pages getting swapped on to SSD/HDD.

Why? Generally, even systems with way too much RAM still benefit from virtual memory being used.

Thank you! So in a nutshell your system should not perform any differently once the minimum RAM is reached, and anything past that up to the max of 32gb is essentially wasted memory?

The OS will use unallocated memory as I/O block cache. You can’t really turn this off in Linux (though I suppose you could use the tunables to try making it to use as little as possible – but I don’t see what is to be gained from that).

Roon keeps whatever it keeps in-memory, but I imagine it doesn’t try to load all artwork and such from the database into memory. It probably has a small cache in-memory. So the extra RAM can cache additional filesystem blocks that Roon isn’t keeping in-memory itself. But assuming you are using an SSD, this likely won’t translate into any material performance gain. It would help if you were using a mechanical drive, though.

FWIW, I run my Roon Core on a (repurposed) Dell PowerEdge R230 that has 32GB of RAM. I’ve never seen total memory (both application + I/O cache) exceed about 4GB, with allocated RAM averaging around 1.5GB (my library is pretty small in comparison to yours, however). So the rest of the RAM really is just sitting there unused by anything.

You keep using the term “virtual memory”, which can mean 2 things. I’m going to break that up into 2 terms that are more specific:

  • swap or swapping, which is the act of transferring the contents of RAM to less expensive storage like disk
  • virtual addressing, which is a virtual layer for memory addressing that then can be mapped to physical memory as desired.

We do not tell the kernel to use swap. Virtual addressing is still used, but no swapping is done to disk.

We ship with no HDD, and while it may not be as bad with modern SSDs, flash cell wearing is still a thing.

Besides system admin benefits (which do not apply here since users don’t have access to admin the operating system), the argument for swap is that VFS cache can be increased as less commonly used programs are swapped out. This does not apply to a single purpose appliance which limits itself to a small section of the filesystem for reads/writes (the Roon database). The benefits for VFS cache are moot for audio files. See @cwichura’s comment above for a good analysis of the situation.

Additionally, having parts of Roon swap out would be a disaster in performance, especially if the only goal is to have VFS cache increased.

As your library increases, or as our system requirements grow, you can benefit from more RAM. However, more RAM will prevent crashes (if you are having them) and not increase performance.

On Roon OS, 4GB is more than enough for about 90% of Roon subscriber’s libraries. Another 9.9% could use 8GB. The remainder will need more but are going to have a bad experience anyway due to the experience not being optimized for that much music.

I don’t need 8GB, but the fact that I found the identical chip to what’s in my Nucleus, I grabbed it.

Good to know. Thank you!

I found this interesting. It suggests running in dual channel might bring some benefits, but not for the reasons I thought.

FYI only, not implying it is relevant for Nucleus or ROCK:

A quick summary. My link suggest the only real benefit is marginally lower CPU use in dual channel. Both articles show no real world benefit bestowed by dual (or quad) channel in performance bench marking.

My Nucleus has 2 identical 4GB memory sticks. If I wanted to upgrade to 2 identical 8GB memory sticks (just for the heck of it), what would be a good pair to order from Amazon US? Thanks.

I upgraded mine for the same reason. Just make sure you match your specs on your current sticks to the 8gb stick. If buying from amazon just look for a bunch of good reviews. If I’m not mistaken, they’re mostly all fairly comparable. Hope that helps.

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I could almost hear your sigh from here as you posted this Danny :wink: