Running AIR & ROON on an Intel NUC

I am currently running ROON, and AIR (3.0.4), on the family PC (Windows 10). Music is held on a freestanding WD Hard Drive connected to the PC via USB 3.0. All is currently working fine (touching wood as I type) with fantastic (to my aged ears) sound quality.

I would, however, very much like to run my music on a separate system, away from the family PC, to avoid any possible conflicts of use, and to ensure that it is running in a more controlled environment!! I had thought about utilising an Intel NUC, with Windows 10 (need this for AIR) and ROON, but wonder whether others out there are doing the same, and can offer any advice especially whether AIR and ROON run well together on a NUC. I know that ROON are in process of developing their ROCK system but, as I understand it, this precludes using AIR as it will be LINUX based and as Devialet Expert is not currently ROON compliant I would still need AIR, on Windows 10, to run ROON. I do not, at this moment in time, want to invest more money into a ROON compliant interface (dCS bridge, Mrendu, etc) so thought that the NUC route would be most cost effective.

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A NUC is a PC in all respects. If you get a sufficiently powerful one and add Windows 10 it will be able to do anything your present PC can do as long as you don’t need ancillaries such as graphics cards etc.

I use a NUC with Win10 for Roon, and have been exclusively using AIR since the release candidate of summer 2016. I recently upgraded to the official release of AIR and I can confidently recommend this combination to anyone who is willing to have a Windows PC in their HiFi system. If we get to the point where Roon/Linux supports AIR then I would probably switch, but I have been very happy with the NUC.

Many thanks @Henry_McLeod and @zappyroon for these responses. I think that, certainly in my case, I can see the benefit in running on a separate, dedicated, NUC, using Win10 and AIR. I can see even more benefit from a NUC running ROON/Linux ROCK system, supporting AIR, or AIR derivative, direct to a Devialet Expert, as an endpoint.

I think that the main thing stopping me is a nervousness about how to proceed!:cold_sweat:. I don’t think that I would have much of an issue with putting the Hardware together - I was thinking NUC6i5SYH with Samsung 250GB 850 EVO M.2 SATA SSD, and a HyperX Impact 8 GB 2133 MHz DDR4 SODIMM Memory Module. I would then add, probably, a Seagate BarraCuda 2 TB 2.5 inch Internal Hard Drive to hold my music files. What scares me pantyless is loading the software :scream:. I have not long been a convert to ROON, and I must admit that on reading through many of the posts here, I am in complete awe of the technical knowledge of many of the Posters here, and my lack of knowledge in the software field makes me feel quite humble. I honestly wouldn’t know where to start when it comes to updating the BIOS (whatever that is) as is recommended as a first step, and then loading Windows 10 (my PC was already “loaded and ready to run”) so I have a very steep learning curve but am nervous of screwing it up :worried: I am sure that I could learn from watching YouTube and seeking help from the more knowledgeable, here on ROON Community, and embarking on such a project would give me terrific satisfaction :grinning:

Are you worrying about loading Windows? or loading RoonServer?

I’m just about to move to a dedicated NUC - NUC7I7BNH - and have updated the BIOS / installed Windows10Pro64bit etc…

Just go to the Intel site, go to the support page for your NUC, preferably select ‘download driver bundle’, follow the instructions and keep rebooting until there are no more updates !
It is genuinely as easy as that - but make sure you do install or the updates - or you may run into problems later.

Hi @Rugby and @rolski . I think that what concerns me most is updating the BIOS and loading Windows. I appreciate your reassurance @rolski but I am a complete novice at this so must apologise if it all seems a little strange to me. I assume that I will need to connect the NUC, complete with the SATA SSD and DDR4 SODIMM, to a keyboard, mouse and Screen and the web to then access the Intel site - see it has to be that basic for me :blush:? Again, loading Windows 10 should again involve visiting the Microsoft site and downloading the programme?

As far as loading RoonServer is concerned, I will need to “transfer” that from my existing PC to the new NUC - I believe that there are instructions for this on ROON FAQs?

This all very new to me, so very daunting, and I do not want to make a mess of it, but I have to start somewhere :slight_smile:. The intention will be to run the NUC “headless” with just ROON and AIR, and a HDD with my music files, via Ethernet to my Devialet.

The NUC will be on the same network as my main PC, so is there a way that I will be able to “see” it as a network attached device, and be able to “drag and drop” future music files to the HDD holding my Music files?

You’ll need to install an Operating System - e.g. Windows - on your NUC first.

Then you can - with a browser - go to the Intel site & get all the NUC (BIOS) drivers updated.
And yes, even if you use the machine later without screen / keyboard / mouse (which is termed ‘headless’), you’ll need them to set the machine up initially.

But do a little reading / research first - it’s genuinely straightforward - but it can seem daunting & confusing !

@rolski many thanks, yes I am now busy reading up and researching on the Intel website. Some very useful information there that makes it less daunting - I think/hope! Will now need to decide whether to take the plunge and make the purchase!

Given today’s release, you no longer need Windows for AIR support. Try out ROCK on that NUC!

I have all the “bits” ready for the ROCK installation and will have a go next week :grin:.

I got a NUC7i7BNH and just setup the box with ROCK.
After indexing and library building, the experience on it so far is nothing less than GREAT with my Expert 200.
Going to sell my Auralic Aries and all, and IMO I won’t worry about their so called “Streaming Board” upgrade for now. :slight_smile:

I received my NUC7I5BNH this morning (replacing my Win10 pc). It took only 1.5 hour to get the machine running and playing music again on my Devialet. Great “Getting Started” manuals on the Roon site.
First impresion on SQ is better, especially on the lower frequencies.
Great product, well done!

"Well the bullet has well and truly been bitten and ROON is now up and running on ROCK. All went relatively smoothly with the aid of reference to the various Knowledge Base “leaflets”, and the Computer Audiophile Guide. Music now playing to my Devialet Amps and sounding good.

If I could make a plea on behalf of anyone else like me (a complete novice in this field) that all the helpful guidelines be brought together into one ROCK Installation Guidance note (a la the Computer Audiophile offering) to avoid having to cross reference to the many separate documents. Thanks once again to the ROON Team."

I posted the above on another thread, but repeat it here for completeness, as I started this particular thread.

I am certainly glad that I went ahead and installed ROCK on my NUC, as it has been running well (using ROON/AIR, “hard wire” via Ethernet to my Devialet), and without any hitches, for a couple of days now. I am not the best at trying to describe differences in SQ but, to my ears, there does seem to be an improvement - more “presence” and, echoing @Sven_Schuling findings, better, deeper bass. There might be a bit of expectation bias here, but I like to think not :grin:.