Roon Rock on NUC8i3BEH - General Guidance and Comments

Hi Roon Community (Wanted to say Roon -O-hemians or Roon-da-mentalists but “meh”).

Just wanted to ask if the Roon Optimized Core Kit is still current. Especially with regard to hardware. I’m about to take the plunge and splurge on a NUC8i3BEH.

How quiet is he NUC8i3BEH? Do I need to add a cooling component to ensure that I have a noiseless device?

Thank you. Roon is awesome. I had thought I needed to wait a while after my Roon trial before diving in. But I can’t get it out of my mind!

I believe so, it was updated not that long ago…

How quiet is he NUC8i3BEH?

Depends how “sensitive” to fan noise you are. Some people report its very quiet, some say they need a fanless case, some say it’s not problem as its located outside of the listening room.

One thing to note is that when Roon is initially populating its database, the fan will run up, and it will get warm… this should only take a day or so - depending on your library size, and thereafter the NUC will be much quieter/cooler. If you restore from a previous backup, you’ll bypass much of this process.

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I bought the NUC8i3BEK and built a NUC from it a few weeks ago. Overkill for ROCK, but I went with a WD Blue 500GB NVMe drive and 16 GB of RAM. It’s not Roon’s fault, but it’s disappointing that that the NUC8ixBEx kits are becoming somewhat scarce. Not sure if Intel is still manufacturing them.

Performance is great…although it’s only an i3, faster as a Roon server than my older i5 NUC7i5BNK.

Regarding fan noise, if you’re asking about this, you may be thinking about Roon’s optimized core kit in a sub-optimal way. Noise should not matter much since you won’t directly attach a DAC, and you won’t be putting this server in or near your listening room. Ideally, you’ll shove this thing in a closet or under a desk far from the listening room, connect power and Ethernet, and forget about it.

That said, fan noise is not bad. You’ll hear it when it’s a few feet away but probably not if it’s on the other side of the room.

See Roon’s knowledge base article on Sound Quality for rationale behind this recommendation.

Intel is in the middle of a worldwide shortage of 7th and 8th generation NUCs :frowning:

Not every model, but for example BN and DN line have not been shipping for 4 months now! BE stock is the backup, and I’m sure they are feeling the pain there now.

We hear it gets better in October.


Thanks for your replies everyone. Glad to hear the Roon ROCK knowledge base is up to date.

I am sensitive to noise. It’s one of the reasons I went to Mac from PC. My PC sounded like a rock tumbler for 5 years before I went insane and made the change.

Glad to hear that the NUC runs quiet for the most part after analysing files.

OK. I’ll check that out. Thanks for sharing your experience with your NUC. I’ll consider that a +1 vote.

There’s a BEH in my neck of the woods that I have my eye on.

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So I have another question(s).

What about the NUC going to sleep? Can you stop it from going to sleep or easily wake it from sleep?

What about drivers for USB, Bluetooth, Wireless, Sound and Video, etc, that usually come with the Windows Installation? If you go straight to a Roon ROCK install, how are those items sorted?

Can the NUC be easily accessed from other devices on the network? What about from outside the network?

ROCK does not support sleep or wake on LAN, the reasoning being, it should always be accessible, and it maintains/updates the database in the background.

What about drivers for USB, Bluetooth, Wireless, Sound and Video, etc, that usually come with the Windows Installation? If you go straight to a Roon ROCK install, how are those items sorted?

ROCK is a highly optimized, single purpose, and completely closed OS. A keyboard/monitor is required for installation only, thereafter web/app based admin. External USB storage is supported. USB wifi dongles, limited.

Can the NUC be easily accessed from other devices on the network? What about from outside the network?

Locally yes, thats its whole raison d’etre. Externally, currently you’d need to use a private VPN solution.

ROCK/Roon OS supports WoL just fine. It is Roon that does not.

The BIOS can be configured to wake up on a WoL packet. Nucleus is configured this way.

Roon OS provides a simple HTTP url that can be accessed to shutdown.

Thanks MJB and Danny for your replies. It’s reassuring to know that all on board devices on the NUC are supported by ROCK.

And what about storage and OS space? As I mentioned I’m looking at the NUC8i3BEH and the recommended 128gb M.2 SSD. Is that for Roon/ROCK AND audio files? Should they be on the same drive or is it advisable to have the 128gb M.2 SSD for Rock/Roon and add a 2.5 SSD for files?

You need an M2 SSD for the OS and database, and either a network share or an internal 2.5" SSD for your music files. Most questions are covered in the ROCK: Getting Started knowledge base articles.

Have fun building it :grinning:

Cool. :grinning:

Thank you!

I have a NUC8i3BEH and works very well with ROCK. Regarding fan noise, during summer season it’s perceivable, even at 4-5 meters. I recommend to keep the core in a different room.

Mine’s a NUC8i5BEH3 and it runs cool and quiet as a mouse in the same rack as all the other AV hardware.

I’ve noticed no fan noise, though the fan must be running. I suppose an i3 will run hotter than an i5 with the same workload, but I’ve no idea of the difference.

All in all i can recommend the NUC8i5BEH3.

I’m not so sure your assumption is correct, they both have the same TDP so it most likely will depend on the workload. If it’s a multithreaded task, can it be spliced into many subprocesses, will it gain from single core speed rather than multithreaded etc.

As you probably are aware, the 8th Gen i3 has a base clock of 3.0Ghz for its 2C/4T CPU. The i5 is base clocked at 2.3Ghz for it’s 4C/8T.
Roon likes higher clock rates better than many threads as it has been said.

Anyone of them will do just fine though, they can take a pounding if one would want to try some oversampling but if i was aiming for DSD512/DSD1024 ans convolution DSP i would look elsewhere than NUC territory and definently forget having the Roon Core in my listening room.

Could be, I’m just assuming based on and old rule of thumb from my PC building days: slower clock speed = lower temperature.

Since performance with the i5 is fine and the few times I’ve bothered to actually look at the NUC’s stats the processor stays way beneath 50% usage, I thought maybe the i3 would be stepping up faster than the i5 because Linux treats threads as processes. I assumed - perhaps wrongly - that since ROCK is based on some form of Linux distro, process allocation would have been left to Linux.

But I’m far from being a Linux expert, so I take your info on board as is. We live and learn.

Or an external USB 3.0 drive. Works great and is cheap.

My intent was not to dismiss your theory, rather expand it! :slight_smile:
I’d like to try one of the i5/i7 NUCs of Gen8 to see what they can do, in comparison with the i3 when running ROCK.

Do you have a power meter? If so, i’d love it if you could add your NUC to the spreadsheet on Core Perfomance:

Atb /Mike

I disagree that it is suboptimal to have your ROCK in the same room as your sound system. I listen a lot to multichannel music, and so use the HDMI output connected to an AV processor.

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That works, obviously, but you can get better sound from a dedicated output device. This is what I mean by, “not optimal.”

I know that’s a popular notion, but it just isn’t my experience. I’ve tried both dedicated devices and direct connections to my Rock. And to me the benefits of multichannel music swamp any claimed superiority of those two-channel devices. Some multichannel solutions use USB or Ethernet, and those I’ve heard sound good. They may even sound better than HDMI, though I’ve never been able to make a direct comparison. But almost always multichannel classical recordings simply sound better than the same recordings in stereo. They much more closely approximate my experiences hearing the music live.

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