Decent depends on your library, endpoint volume, and DSP usage. However, I would not use ROCK on it. ROCK was built to be run on the Intel NUC, that is why there is a list of supported hardware.
ROCK used on non-supported hardware are known as MOCKs and not officially supported. Why, because as a stripped down software, ROCK only contains the minimum drivers necessary for the supported hardware list. You might find, for example, that your Ethernet ports, etc will not work. And since ROCK is locked down, you can’t load your own drivers.
Imho, If you want to use that, I’d keep the Windows which comes with it, or, load Linux.
Ok thank you very much for the quick and informative advice - much appreciated!
The processor is old. 5 years in compue terms us ancient. Certain less powerful than a current V10 i3.
I guess it would be fine for a cure as long as you weren’t expecting too much out if it
I did look at the supported hardware page actually - but I was hoping for a fanless machine, as I really don’t want to hear it in operation.
Should I not be worrying about this? i.e. in practice, is Roon running on a Rock server likely to be fairly silent (i.e. processor usage is not enough to cause the need for audible cooling?)
Well, getting the right NUC is a good start. One way to have a loud NUC is getting one that is under powered for the job. Keep in mind though, that at the beginning, the initial audio analysis, which is a one time deal, will probably make the NUC’s fans run until it is done.
The first question is… library size? How many total tracks do you have now and how many do you envision in 5 years? A streaming track added to your library costs the same in database storage as does a local music file. CPU and Memory recommendation would be affected by library size.
The second (and just as important)… is DSP usage. How much and what kind of DSP are you planning on using? Any kind of DSD upsampling or manipulation will increase usage; same goes for convolution, for example.
A great point of having a server is to keep the thing in a closet somewhere just attached by ethernet. That way “fan noise” will never be an issue. I have my server in the basement.
Or, Build a fanless PC, NOT a NUC based PC. Get a Mini-itx board, a great fanless case and other high end silent parts. However, I understand not everyone like building PCs.
Yes, this. There is also the option to use a supported NUC board in a fanless case, like those by Akasa. But, if you must keep your Roon Core server in the listening room and therefore want to keep it fanless and silent, my advice is to build a system using a mini-ITX board, a good fanless case and high-quality parts.
Thanks guys - your input is really helpful. I’m not averse to building a PC actually, I have build a fully water-cooled gaming PC in that past, so I would think what’s required here is relatively straightforward. Having the available time to do it these days is the bigger challenge.
In terms of library size, it’s around 22,000 tracks today. Probably add around 500 per year or so? I use Tidal integration but I don’t tend to specifically add titles to the my library.
In terms of DSP I don’t use anything additional - I just steam directly to my Naim UnitiStar.
I forgot to add - I won’t keep the server in my listening room. It’ll likely be in the backless media sideboard/cupboard in my living room (primary TV room). I just don’t particularly want to be aware of its presence there either ! :).
Looks reasonable to me. I’m using a Celeron G1840 2.8GHz in a fanless computer I built for Roon. I’m able to use convolution and flac files up to 352kHz. It gets close to its limits with DSD128 probably because of the conversion to PCM. As I type this I’m listening to 24/96kHz streaming from Qobuz through Roon and Roon’s processing speed indicator says its running at 26x.
If it is in the cupboard, then you shouldn’t do anything at all. A bog standard NUC will work and probably wouldn’t make enough noise to be heard, ever.
An i3 or i5, if you want to future proof, would work. 8 GB RAM would work great too.
Consider a NUC i5. It’s a good sweet spot in-between for power usage, performance and price. Not sure why it’s so often i3 or i7 on here. Akasa fanless case dead easy and inexpensive if you know how to use a screwdriver and squeeze a tube of thermal paste and follow directions. For ROCK you shouldn’t be using wifi anyway, so just leave all that out. I just use our TV via HDMI for set up if you don’t have a monitor with the right connections (will need a USB keyboard) I have 45,000 tracks and growing with my 7i5 in an Akasa case and it runs just fine. Get an NVME and/or Optane for the M.2 OS drive - even used away from the hifi you might notice a difference in sound quality (note how I hedge my words). Two sticks of RAM better than just one (8gb total probably plenty is what I have).
My experience is that for single endpoint use an antique Core i5 2500 was plenty when upsampling PCM to DSD512. Porcessing speed was about 1.4x
Now with i5 9600K it’s over 2.0x
You can consider a small mATX/mITX build with very quiet Noctua fans, it’s much more interesting if you want to add 2.5/3.5 inch storage or even upgrade your CPU, another option would be to get a dirt cheap OEM office desktop with an i5 or i7, tuck it somewhere on the attic or basement and just use a simple endpoint like Roopiee.
Last time I used an i7 8000 series Intel NUC I found it to have an irritating fan noise when loaded with processing.
I bought my nuc fully configured 2nd hand off eBay. Year 2 and still working fine.
They can be very cheap (UK)
Get the most powerful NUC you can afford. Before I had the NUC running ROCK, I had Roon Server running on a Windows 10 machine in my basement. I do NOT miss dealing with updates, etc. on that Windows machine. Performance is more than acceptable with an 80k track library. I do upsampling to DSD256 and don’t hear the NUC running 8-feet in front of me.
The only time my fan is audible is when it’s analyzing newly added music, and I never add new files while listening to my stereo. Even if I did that, I don’t think I’d hear the fan over my normal listening level.
I’m not convinced i need to enable any additional DSP as I’m streaming to a Naim Uniti Star which has its own powerful DAC, as I understand it. The other devices are all Sonos and used for more casual listening so I don’t see the benefit of it there either.
Or am I missing a trick here?
If not, I don’t think I’m going to require huge horsepower, so yes, I was thinking an i5 based setup would suffice?
Thanks again for all the input!
Mine goes to an Atom, Pi, Sonos and my i5 is very capable.
I know others on this forum suggest the i5, but I take the buy once/cry once approach on this topic. The overall price difference between an i5 and i7 “typically” isn’t “significant” (when compared to what you’ve probably already invested in this hobby), so why box yourself into a corner down the road?
DSP is useful if you want to implement room correction: A guide how to do room correction and use it in Roon.