Small yet powerful Roon server for those with large library

When I started out using Roon on Windows on a NUC10i5 with 16GB of memory, it was a pretty painful experience. My library is 500K+ tracks and it took over 2 weeks for the initial library scan. Even after scan completion, search function was slow. After communication with Roon support, it becomes apparent that I would need a more powerful machine. Also note that the database is basically running on RAM. If you want to have fast database operation such as search, you need to have faster memory.

I was about to go with a NUC11i7 + ROCK but I don’t see that it will have a significant performance gain over the NUC10i5, since core count is not the main issue. So I took the leap and order a Minisforum UM690, which is an SFF PC in NUC-like form factor, but runs on AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX with 32GB DDR5 RAM. I loaded Ubuntu server 22.04.01 LTS minimal install and Roon core on it and operate it as a headless server. The resulting performance was much better than expected. I finished the same library scan from scratch in less than 2 days (which previously took over 2 weeks). It was almost an order of magnitude increase in performance. Search function now is snappy (usually less than 1 second).
It shows that it is a very viable option for those with large library or is looking for extra performance. I have no affiliation with Minisforum. Just here to share my experience.


Thanks for sharing!

… and wow

some 4 yrs of music :scream:

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I wonder if using Ubuntu server on your original NUC would have made a difference in speed.

Yes I would expect using 32gb of RAM and ROCK on the NUC would be pretty fast as well.

Speed doesn’t just come from size of RAM unless your usage exceed the RAM size and need to swap. When the library scan function first started, it is well below the RAM size and it is still much much slower on the NUC, observing the rate of albums added.
ROCK is essentially a barebone linux installation with only the essential functions to support Roon. You could achieve similar results with a minimal Linux install and only add components that you need, such that there are no useless process consuming memory or CPU power. It is nice of Roon to make it into a nice little package such that the average person and install and use it without “tinkering”.

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The main reason I go to a non-NUC machine is that I want to have higher memory bandwidth. All current NUCs are DDR4. I want to use faster memory (DDR5) to increase database performance.


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Cute smal and powerfull… have not tried it my self… wish i could… will go for a less powerfull HP Z2 Mini G4 Workstation that i get tomorrow and replace cpu with a Intel Xeon E-2278G

Remarkable performance improvement, looks to be ~80% faster memory.

Did you try using Ubuntu on the NUC first? Because I think Ubuntu/Linux might perform better than Windows on the database tasks.

performance gain from memory and CPU as well. I’m sure dumping Windows help as well.

I didn’t try that since I still need to keep a Windows machine around for other software. I’m sure a minimal Ubuntu have a lot less overhead than Windows.

Did you try loading ROCK on the Minisforum UM690? I think you will be surpised.

No I did not try loading ROCK. There are things that I would like to do that will not be supported by ROCK, like UPS integration, hardware monitoring etc. I think ROCK is more for convenience and for those who have limited linux understanding and capabilities.

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Wondering if you are still happy with the Minisforum UM690 after using it for several months. I have a large library, though not as big as yours, and have outgrown my NUC setup and am looking for a replacement.

Any problems with noise or overheating? One reviewer I read had problems with heating that was attributed to the DDR5. Is the performance still what you hoped? I see that it comes with Windows installed, is it worth replacing Windows with the Ubuntu server?

Still happy with the UM690. Have not run into issue so far. Search function have been pretty snappy. The only time it slow down is when it is running library scan (my library is on a NAS). I work around by scheduling the scan to be done at midnight. (I know, there is no scheduling function in the UI. I have put in a request but no response so far.)
I bought mine as a barebone and added Crucial 32GB DDR5 memory and a Kingston Fury NVMe SSD. No Thermal issue. Mine didn’t come with Windows since it is a barebone. Using it as a server, I would recommend linux over Windows any day. Don’t even bother with Windows.

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I have to disagree, ROCK is significantly faster than any other installation I have used as either a bare metal installation or as a VM. That includes minimal versions of various different Linux offerings.

Currently I’m running it as a VM on Proxmox, the host has a Ryzen 7950x and I am using DDR5 RAM. Performance is blistering fast and so far has been absolutely stable. I have allocated 4 vCPUs and 12gb of RAM, I have about 150k local FLAC files.

ROCK is based on linux kernel. If you stripped enough off of a barebone linux install, it should be the same. Otherwise, care to explain why would ROCK be “significantly” faster?

I’ve followed your lead and loaded a Roon core onto an Ubuntu server 22.04 on a Minisforum UM690, which was recently on sale. My library is 250K+ tracks.

Navigating Roon software on the new headless system works well. Roon searches, additions to library, library edits are all much faster from MacBook Air, IPAD, windows 10 and android. The AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX with 32GB DDR5 RAM handles the large database quite well and outperforms the NUC8i7BEH 8GB RAM that I was using till the motherboard died recently.

My only problems have stemmed from being a complete Linux newbie and struggling (still) with the setup.

Thanks for the original post.

Glad that it worked out for you. I’m still happy with mine.

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