Running Roon Core on main desktop PC

Most people seem to either start out or move towards running their Roon Core on a dedicated server but, for reasons a bit to long to go into in an opening post (although I am happy to outline them if anyone asks), I think there are compelling reasons why it makes more sense to run my Roon Core on my main PC rather than a dedicated server.

Despite all the reasons why I think running the Core on my main PC is best I am still left with nagging doubts - will it impact performance and the slightly more emotional one simply being a matter of elegance and preferring the concept of a dedicated server.

My main desktop PC is an Intel 8th gen i7 (NUC8i7BEH kit) with 32GB RAM and a 1TB Samsung 860 EVO M.2 SSD running Windows 10 Pro for Workstation. That’s a pretty powerful system so I’m thinking that my nagging doubt about performance might be being falsely amplified by the reasonably frequent posts on this forum emphasising the power needed typically when someone comes along wanting to run on very low power hardware but that in reality, apart maybe from some intense initial building of the database, I won’t even notice the Roon Core running in the background.

I would be very interested to hear from people who are happily running their Roon Core on their main PC and what sort of spec they are using.

I suppose I should also say that my main PC never does much that is demanding in terms of compute power. I’m not doing the CGI for the latest Star Wars on it or anything like that, it’s all web browsing and some admittedly reasonably complicated spreadsheets but really my i7 is total overkill for what I actually currently use it for.

I’ve run Roon on a dedicated machine and on my desktop machine.

I’ve run Roon using ROCK and under Windows.

I could never detect a difference.

I’ve never used anything more powerful than an i5 NUC, but that depends on your library size and what DSP you want.

The main thing is to move your compute platform out of the room where your music is playing, if you can.

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If you are asking whether you’ll see Roon performance slow-downs on this system while using it as a PC, I don’t think so. I use DSP (Nuc8i7BEH) all the time, and even with upsampling to DSD (which I almost never do) there is tons of overhead. If you were doing video editing while running Roon under those conditions, yeah, you’d probably run out of steam. But you have a warhorse of a Nuc there.

Well, as someone who has done what you are asking for years, the answer is “it depends”. If Rooncore is running and you are doing other intensive things on the PC, then yes, it can cause issues with playback. Are others accessing and using Roon while you are playing a game? That can cause issues.

If your listening habits and computer using habits are separate then, things won’t usually interfere with each other.

Also, there have been over the years, some interactions between other softwares and Roon which can lead to you making a choice on which to use as they won’t both run well together.

When your run your Roon Core on a machine that is used for other things, then you are opening up a potential issues that a dedicated system will not have. But, it can easily be done, especially if you are very computer literate.

And specs, i7, 16 GB Ram, All drives used with Roon are SSDs, including music. Evga 1070ti and Nu Audio Card.

I think any gen 8 i3, i5 or i7 has the gas to run Roon at pretty much full capacity and do anything else you need it to do at the same time, databases considerations excepted. We do obsess a little in this hobby, and introducing PC’s and MACs into our world just gives us the opportunity to obsess about something else too.
Gen 8 i7, 8gb RAM, 128gb NVMe.

I run everything Roon related on my desktop computer. More work on computer (more CPU) causes more electrical noise which travels along the USB to the DAC. For example, if I play games and listen to music at the same time over USB, I get very audible tick-sound.

So what I do instead is I run over toslink. Gaming or other CPU-intensive tasks does not matter at all now.

The other option is to separate your Roon endpoint to a streamer/transport, which can be a cheap Raspberry with a HAT, or something more “HiFi” like Pro-Ject Ultra Stream Box S2 or something from SoTM. I might try a RPi4 with HiFiBerry Digi+ Pro for my toslink later on, but not sure it will improve SQ, but atleast its cheap.

Thanks all. It sounds as if I’m good to go. Decision made. I’m not a gamer or video editor. In fact I tend not to listen to music much when I’m working at my PC so there’s pretty much no overlap between my “normal” PC use and asking Roon to play music. Maybe one of my backup programs might kick in from time to time but those are both designed to be lightweight enough to not interfere with a user sitting at the PC so I can’t see them getting in Roon’s way. If it does I’ll find out soon enough during the trial period. Now all I need to do is chase my retailer and find out when my shiny new Roon endpoint (KEF LS50 wireless) is going to be delivered because that’s what’s blocking further progress in my Roon journey at the moment.

@xxx When I was doing the pros and cons of various approaches I even forgot to list moving the Core machine out of the listening room as one of the advantages of hosting Roon Core on my desktop PC. That makes the case for going this way even more compelling.

@Magnus My setup using my desktop PC will naturally separate my endpoints. One is going to be a pair of KEF LS50 Wireless that will be networked anyway, either by WiFi via my router if the signal is strong enough to avoid dropouts otherwise cabled in to my home network. (I don’t need grouping hence the lack of that capability in KEF’s current implementation of the Roon endpoint won’t be an issue for me.) My other endpoints will be either all my Google Home Mini devices which, since all of them are on my WiFi network, will presumably be auto detected by Roon but which I’ll probably never use since I believe there isn’t any Roon voice control integration such as exists between Google Home and Spotify, and there will be one last endpoint going via an existing Raspberry Pi 3B+ running Raspbian and already hard-wired into my home network and feeding its audio out through Toslink (this one is running Logitech Media Server and the LMS software player at the moment so that gets a Roon bridge installed instead of the squeezelite soft player I assume and LMS server obviously no longer needed).

I run my core on single desktop PC setup. i5 8600, 16gb RAM, 1070ti. I live in a studio apartment and computer is ~4 meters away from my hifi setup so there’s no reason to buy another computer just to run Roon. My PC is running anyway when I’m home. I use it for gaming and movies also.

Biggest problem this far has been with the storage HDD. I use WD Blue 4TB SATA hdd as storage and Kingston A400 SSD as system drive (Win10 Home) and for Roon files. If there’s some heavy I/O activity (like microsoft antivirus starting its monthly scan) on the HDD while I play music through Roon, I might get stutter or complete stops on playback. Roon seems to do poor job with buffering. I don’t experience this kind of problems with JRMC or foobar2000, only Roon. Roon is also quite sensitive for correct network settings when streaming and I’ve had to tinker little bit too much with my D-Link 868L wifi-router to make things work all the time.

But 99% of time things work fine and I haven’t stressed too much about the occasional and rare dropouts.

I also run roon on my main PC which is running 24/7.

Specs are
2950x (16 core)
64gb ram
2tb ssd (main disk)

The machine runs fine and is also used a plex server. I notice no issues or slowdowns whatsoever.