What device do you use for Roon Core

Dedicated music server MacMini: 3.0GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7
1TB Flash Storage.

When using “full fat” DSD sample rate conversion, I get to processing speeds as low as 1x. So, I’d say you need a lot of power if you want to play with the exteme files.

Roon Core on NAS QNAP TS-251+ 8G RAM working seamlessly (9k songs all hi-res,flac, alac. No one single MP3)
Laptop via USB to CHORD QTEST dac (wired net from NAS to LAPTOP)
Laptop via USB to Project Pre Box S2 Digital dac (wired net from NAS to LAPTOP)
Iphone / ipad as remote controllers.

Best regards and enjoy the music

4th gen NUC i5 in a fanless tranquil case running W10.

Sorry for bringing this old thread to life:

@Bob_Fairbairn1 : I am using a similar aged Mac (i7, upgraded to 16 GB RAM, 256Gb SSD, USB reclocker/galvanic isolator). Using it for Roon Core, Spotify Connect, Tidal + NAS for “local” storage). It’s anyhow a tad slow these days.


  • Are you running OSx? Any mods you’d recommend to enhance CPU-cycle utilization?
  • Did you try install a pure Linux distro (Ubuntu, Mint, something else)?

I’m trying to read up on Roon core running on Max / Linux - and since the Mac Os hogs a lot of resources for things I don’t utilize I’d rather free up CPU power for Roon Core and a Roon Bridge.

Any input appreciated :slight_smile:

(Edited: Updated RAM size…)


It has been almost a year since I decided that I did not want to “manage” different operating systems in my stereo. I was actually trying to keep the OS up to date. I am in information security guy and I am not happy with computing devices that are not kept up to date in my network.

From the audio side I had been trying to run the Mac Mini using USB out to the DAC directly and found that was not optimal. I had even replaced the Power Supply in the Mac Mini as a test. So I threw a lot of money at the problem! I have moved to a different system for my Roon Core. I am now using a Small Green Computer Sonic Transporter as my core and an UltraRendu for my NAA.

There are a couple of good threads on Mac Mini over on Computer Audiophile. @superdad the owner of Uptone Audio has done a lot of work in the Mac space. There is also some work being done over there with Audio Linux using the Intel NUC computers. Which is very very preliminary and rather promising at this point.

7th gen NUC i3 with ROCK, music on Synology 716+ with Tidal thrown in.

Cheap and more than enough. Fan noise not audible. Using WIN10.

New Mac Mini I5. The Music is on a LaCie 2Big T3 RAID 1. Runs exceedingly well. My iPad may as well be the system display. Music playing on a wired ID41 (Meridian 861). So far, I’ve noticed no issues while using the Mac for anything else simultaneously but it’s only been running a couple of days. Totally quiet. I haven’t tried holding my ear to the LaCie.

Bob, really appreciate you taking the time to elaborate - thx!

I’m also looking for another solution now, reading up on the the NUCs and the Sonic Transporters, I even have a PC part supplier shopping cart with a DIY, MiniATX Light form factor i7 Intel, it goes on and on. One argument to go the Intel route is not to be locked in to a certain SW platform - at the cost of time and devotion to keep things running.

Hans Beekhuyzen have reviewed several alternatives on YouTube, if you find the time his channel is actually worth exploring (he’s an engineer of sorts and use very few superlatives).

Long reply, sorry about that, again thx and “enjoy the music” :slight_smile:


I watch the videos that Hans does; they can be very informative. Almost anything will work as a server. There are a lot of variables.

I do not think I would build a PC for this today. I would fuss over the design too much.
The Roon Nucleus servers are very interesting and have additional features for home automation and more.

The Intel NUC is running Roon ROCK is next. Simple to use and not bad at all to set up.

I “feel” that a dedicated OS for running a music system is exciting.

There is also Audio Linux, but that might be a bridge too far as it needs some care and feeding to get up and to run.

Intel NUC7I7BNH, 8 GB RAM DDR4, Samsung 970 EVO 250 GB M.2 SSD as primary drive and Samsung 850 EVO 500 GB as secondary drive for holding the library, although at this time the library is still on NAS.

The hardware is managed by Debian Stretch. Roon Core and HQPlayer Embedded are running together in the same box.

Intel NUC stays inside a rack.

Intel NUC 7th Gen i7 (7i7BNH) with 8GB RAM and 250GB Samsung Evo 960 PCIe M.2 drive.
Initially used ROCK (free Linux from Roon) OS.
Added 4TB Samsung Evo 860 SATA SSD to store music locally.
Added Keces P8 Linear PSU to power NUC (19v / 3.43A).
Transplanted NUC into Akasa Plato X7 fanless case.
Bought Euphony OS (another Linux distro focussed on the Hi-Fi sector) to replace ROCK.

Although I’ve always found good quality linear PSUs to provide a significant upgrade in my Hi-Fi life (Squeezebox, Chord 2Qute, Aurender X100L) the real “key to the door” here was the UpTone Audio ISO REGEN. I connect my DAC (PS Audio DirectStream Senior) direct to my NUC, I don’t use RAAT over Ethernet. I think because ultimately the NUC is a generic mini PC device the USB output is noisy even when the whole system is fed with a Linear PSU. Adding the ISO REGEN was a real night and day “wow” moment. Output then goes into a Matrix Audio X-SPDIF 2 which converts USB to I2S over HDMI. Using the I2S input of the DirectStream DAC makes a big difference in overall quality.

You would think that the protocol conversion done by the Matrix inherently reclocks and galvanically isolates the USB input but the whole chain still sounds better with the REGEN in it. In fact NUC USB -> ISO REGEN -> DirectStream USB input sounds better than NUC USB -> Matrix -> DirectStream I2S input. However NUC USB -> ISO REGEN -> Matrix -> DirectStream I2S input is best overall albeit a bit of a box and cable fest.

I have found direct attaching my DAC via USB much better than using Ethernet although I do have a Bridge II card inside the PS Audio DirectStream DAC. Although many advocate the transformer based isolation that Ethernet uses there (to me) doesn’t seem to be the same level of detail or dynamics.

Nucleus with Innuos to Hegel

I have an old fanless NUC i3, running Win 10. Not doing much more than running a headless Roon install, but it’s often running hot and even skips here and there when under a little stress. Will running ROCK on it instead be easier for it, and maybe last me another year or two?

W10 is faster than ROCK, for roon.

Please elaborate?

Actually I’m wrong :frowning:

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My own build:
16gb 2666mhz RAM
120gb SSD for OS and software
2tb for storage
8tb NAS

I use it for ripping CDs and BluRay and Roon Core and Plex Media Server.