Two questions in setting up a NUC I couldn't find answers to

Hi all,

My current system set-up is that my Roon Core is on my iMac, which is connected to the router via a power line, and I mostly play music on the iMac itself (with a Project DAC and Ruark speakers) or on my Cambridge 851N downstairs. However I’d like to have the option for having a central core server meaning I don’t need to keep my iMac on, and also to make things easier when I change my computer for something else (keeping my music separate). At present I have 1000 albums and c9500 tracks in Roon (I still have some more CDs to rip).

I’d previously looked at getting an Innuos as my core, but after feedback from this forum to start exploring a NUC server. I’ve read a number of articles, but have some specific questions that I couldn’t find answers to - so it’d be great if anyone could answer them for me (or direct me to places on the forum!)

  1. Internal storage on the NUC
    I plan to get a SSD M.2 for the ROCK operating system, but know that some NUCs also have the capacity to have another hard drive, whether SSD or HDD for music. Is it better to have my music files on the extra internal NUC hard drive, or would it be better to attach a separate drive by USB? And in either case, is there a huge difference between SSD or HDD in terms of speed? There’s an extra question re how I get my music/metadata from the iMac to the NUC if using an internal drive…

  2. Connecting the NUC to my network
    If I connected the NUC to a power line anywhere in the house, would this be suitable for then streaming to any of my audio devices (SONOS, Cambridge 851N, iMac etc.)? I know some people connect straight to their HIFI, but I’d like to keep the NUC somewhere else.

My thinking is, based on the size of my music, to get an i5 with 16gb of RAM, and a 500GB drive (depending on internal/external question!)

Thanks all!

Here is my setup, hope this helps a little.
i5 NUC located in my main music room fed with a cat 8 cable from a network switch I have installed there which is fed by a cat7 cable from my main router which is upstairs in the PC room.
This was just for my convenience, I could have located the NUC running ROCK upstairs as well but as all my “clean power” is downstairs this is why I did this.
I use an external 4tb HDD which I then just move to my main PC to update with any new CD music I may have ripped on my main Win10 PC.
I see no loss in SQ and certainly no time delay or issues doing it this way and its very flexible and convenient to my eyes.
I can access anything from this NUC anywhere in the house instantly with zero issues, I have three Google Chromecast Audio “pucks” on three other minor systems spread around the house which I do use depending where I am and what I am doing.

It all just works flawlessly.

I was using an old Dell Win10 laptop as my core but moved to the NUC a few months back and a very worthwhile move as no windows updates or stuff to worry about any longer.

Good luck

Regarding internal storage, NUC’s are limited in this respect I think:

  1. Form factor is m.2 or maybe 2.5" SSD? Either way if you need a large capacity (6, 8TB) these are very expensive compared to HD

  2. If you require a HD form factor I think you would need to move to a different chassis (e.g. Akasa)

I was in a similar spot and after all the adjustments to fit a large capacity HD (into a NUC) the total cost was way over the top, so I found/went with a small form factor ( i7-9700, m.2 for OS) and has been working great. Also, my requirement does not call for the server to be in my listening room and did not want an ext USB drive.

1 Like

Right, all good addtl info.

I mentioned my brief backstory since I recently went down a similar road and:

  • high capacity (6+TB) m.2 or SSD are very expensive (depending on ones goals + budget)
  • the third party type of chassis are an option but are either DIY or going to increase costs and are “usually” selected for fan-less cooling.

I was sort of framing it around buying a stock NUC form factor, anything beyond that, the skies the limit.

However, to your points, the OP referenced a 500GB internal storage which is well within the 2TB non SSD limit, so my ramblings here I guess are pointless :slight_smile:

1 Like

Fantastic, thanks all, this is really useful feedback. As this is my first go at doing something like this (and having watched the Darko video on installing ROCK on a NUC), I’m thinking that the following with a separate USB hard drive for the music will be the way to go - although @Xekomi you mentioned that I’d need to be careful how I formatted the external hard drive?

1 Like

ExFat is the format for most compatbility.


I have three back up HDD full of my ripped music files…just in case, great advice!

1 Like

Brilliant advice :smile:

And thanks again for responding, it’s great to learn from others who have already done it.

On the specific components, any views on the difference between a NUC10i3 versus a NUC08i5 - is the generation of the processor more important than an i3 or i5? I’m asking as they’re pretty much the same price.

I’m taking 8GB of RAM to be standard, but on the SSD m.2, seeing as it’s focused on the operating side of ROCK, the Samsung had greater reading speed so I assumed that was good, but I can get a cheaper 128GB version with a slower read speed (just defining where to prioritise).

hello, have nucleus+ with samsung ssd 2tb internal (30% occupied, about 1200 cd) via usb directly connected to amplifier/dac internally, via cat7 connected to router, sonos in other room via wifi without problems, see screenshots, running parallel, whether streamed or from ssd

The former is dual core. The latter is quad core and is therefore better.

Get a quality brand that manufactures its own NAND chips only. Poor quality SSD is the number one hardware failure for ROCK, from my observation. I did not want to recommend a particular brand but with so many failures I started just telling people to get the cheapest Samsung 970 they can find.

Powerline network is not recommended.

Great, I went with the NUC08i5 and the Samsung 970. Alongside the separate 8GB Ram and external HDD, that should give me a great foundation for a while as I build my library (using the original iMac to rip my CDs).

If a power line network is not recommended, I assume the ideal is plug straight into the router?

1 Like

There are people who swear the power line network approach works just fine.
I have never tried it but just the thought leaves me cold tbh.
Yes IMHO preferred method would be to plug direct into your router if possible.