Suggestions for Replacing Windows Surface for Core/Display?

I need to replace my MS Surface 3 on which I was running Roon Core software as well as using it for primary album display. I have about 5K albums in ALAC format on a Buffalo TS1400D NAS drive, and not using streaming services but considering adding. I access music through directly connected Meridian Explorer2 DAC (to stereo), and through several SONOS devices (several connected to outboard stereos) wired and wirelessly. I am intermediately computer literate - Raspberry PI machines look interesting but I’m not sure I could configure and maintain - I don’t speak UNIX.

  1. Should I get another Windows device on which to run Core and use for display? Surface was easy and did both functions well.
  2. Should I put Core on Buffalo NAS?
  3. Are there easy to set up/maintain alternatives to Surface to host Core and use as primary album display?

Thanks in advance for advice shared.


The core and album display do not have to be the same machine. You can put the core on a different machine and then use the Surface to just run the Graphical Client.

In this case, any other computer which meets the minimum reqs would work to run the Core, or, you might try putting together a ROCK NUC. Your buffalo nAS cannot run the core.

Given that a Surface 3 has an Intel Atom processor, I’m not surprised that you need to run the Roon Core on another machine. You mention Raspberry Pi machines - but these cannot run a Roon Core either.

I agree with Daniel’s suggestion of getting an Intel NUC and installing ROCK on it. While you need to put a NUC together (add RAM and an SSD to it), and need a keyboard and monitor to install ROCK from a USB stick; once that has been done, you will have a Roon appliance, that needs no more maintenance than a microwave oven - no UNIX/Linux knowledge required. Connect the NUC via ethernet to your home network, and you’re all set to use the music on your NAS.

Your Surface 3 will happily connect to the Core in the ROCK/NUC and run the Roon UI perfectly well. I have an old Lenovo ThinkPad 10 with an even older Intel Atom than the Surface 3, and it works fine as a Roon Control device.

A Surface Pro can be had second hand or refurbished for relatively little with a processor as recent as gen7. So plenty to run Roon. The next biggest concern would be connecting reliably to the network and it may be that your issues could have as much to do with that as an underpowered processor.