I recently had my PC tower which had Roon Core installed go into self destruct mode. This was used only for music streaming. I also used this to download music files and rip new cds. So I’m looking for a new permanent home for the Core. I’ve transferred the Core over to another PC but that’s an all purpose machine that I’d rather not use for the Core, at least not long term.
I’ve looked at all sorts of options including Mac mini, NAS w/Core installed, Boutique units made by Roon Partners, NUC ect.
It has a few small tasks besides running Roon Server (mainly backup and sharing) – otherwise it would run ROCK.
Running Roon Server on a dedicated Core is a blessing. Running it on Linux (ROCK or any distro of choice) gives you a carefree, low-maintenance appliance that makes the ‘computer’ part of digital audio disappear.
I was running Roon Server on an ageing HP G7 N54L ProLiant Micro Server until recently. It’s an Ubuntu Server 16.04-based NAS and has a low-spec Turion processor. It’s due for an upgrade soon, so I’ve temporarily moved Core to an old PC with the Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition processor.
The Roon interface was slow on the N54L and DSP was a non-starter, but it was good enough to get me hooked on Roon! However, it has an SSD for the OS and Roon, 16GB ECC and a couple of NICs.
My next project is to migrate the NAS to a new Dell PowerEdge T30 Xeon E3-1225V5 and run Roon Core from this. At £360 it’s a steal! I run ZFS mirrors and backup to CrashPlan for Small Business. In due course I’ll update my detailed build instructions for anyone who’s interested.
I use a MacBook Pro, iPad or iPhone to control zones.
Out of curiosity I’ve listed processor benchmarks for comparison (I have ~1,600 albums, of which 50% are Tidal, i.e. a small to medium library):
@RonCH’s docker image running off a whitebox Xeon-D SuperMicro UnRaid server with loads of RAM and an nvme SSD. The “music” folder is on a single drive of that (but still gets the niceties like dual parity), so as to avoid having everything spun up all the time. The server does other stuff as well is why I did things that way, otherwise, I would’ve gone ROCK. It’s kitted out with silent fans, and in another room in a NetShelter CX modded with silent exhaust fans controlled by a PWM header on the server’s motherboard, so it’s totally inaudible (and appropriately cooled).
I’m running the Core on an old Mac Mini 2009 Core 2 Duo with 8GB of RAM and a 120GB SSD. Music is stored on a 4TB external drive attached via USB. The Mini is dedicated to Roon and is used headless. It is plenty fast enough.
I had an old I5 NUC acting as a web and shell server, so I just installed Roon there. I guess it’s worth mentioning that it is running Linux and that the music on a separate NAS (QNAP) in the same network.
I did make some unorthodox choices with the installation and have been toying with the idea of moving it to a docker container on the same machine.
I am running my Core on a QNAP TS-653A NAS. It’s been quite stable. My only complaint is a little slowness when connecting and occasionally a tiny bit of lag when browsing. Overall, impressive performance for just a Celeron CPU. I’m not doing any DSP, my library is pretty much all FLAC and WMA lossless files, and my library is only 9,000 tracks.
I went the other way, replacing a sonicTransporter i5 with a 7th gen i7 NUC running ROCK. No difference in SQ or function that I can tell. I think the sonicTransporter is a great solution for someone who wants a plug and play dedicated Roon Core without building their own or messing with a computer. I’m keeping my sonicTransporter as a backup. My music is all on a NAS, so pretty easy to switch back and forth.
My roonserver is
Intel kaby lake g4560 on an Asus prime b250m-k motherboard. Just added a Silverstone CPU cooling fan as I was never happy with how the stock cooler attached to the motherboard. I wanted something with screws to attach. WD green 120gb m2 ssd stick for the os. Music files on a 3tb WD red hard drive, and backup to a 1tb Samsung spin point, both internal. 8gb of Corsair ram.
Runs lubuntu 17.10 desktop os. It’s my backup machine, samba file server, cups printer server, do it all 24/7 pc.
Attached to my hi-fi is an Intel fanless n3150 based machine, running same lubuntu and roonbridge and nothing else, usb to my Naim DAC v1.