What NUC Kit for setup with NAS?

I keep my music on a Synology NAS, but am using a MacBook Pro as my Roon Core (and for other things). Seems I might want to put an Intel NUC Kit with ROCK on my network as my dedicated Roon Core while keeping my music on the NAS.

Does this make sense? If so, what NUC Kit should I get, and how configured? Thanks, everyone!

You might try to put the core on the nas.

Check the spec of the NAS first many do not reach Roon’s minimum

Also there are many posts where a NAS based core causes issues !

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If you’re going to add a ROCK device, go for the full thing, get a hard drive directly connected to it (internal if your library is smaller 2Tb, external if it’s more), and back it up to your NAS instead. They’re cheap.

This will give you three things:

  • More reliable update checks when you add tracks.
  • No spinning up all the drives on your NAS when you want to listen to music.
  • Redundancy: if either one of your NAS or your NUC fail catastrophically, you don’t loose music.

Go for a 10th generation fan less i3 or i5 NUC with at least 8 GB ram. If you plan to store most of your music on your NAS you won’t need much storage on your NUC either. There’s lot of guides for installing ROC OS on a NUC.
After you have installed ROCK Os, install the Roon app and make your settings and let Roon point at your music library at your NAS.

My NUC config is a 10h gen i5, 16GB ram and a 256 GB ssd pointing to av synology NAS where i have most of my music files, but most of the time I stream the music via Qobuz or Tidal.

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How big is your library, how big will it get ?

If very very big go i7 16gb RAM

This is the key question.

If you’d like to save a buck or two, get a 2nd hand 7th or 8th gen NUC.

8th has recently been discontinued, so vendors are getting rid of the stock, and anything earlier than 7th gen often has unrealistically high asking prices compared to 7th and 8th.

Regarding passive cases, that I know of, the one passive case that’ll take spinny drives bigger than 2Tb is the HDPlex one. It’s expensive, so you need to factor in whether the silence is worth it, or if you shouldn’t just go for an expensive SSD in a regular NUC case.

I’ve never understood the reasoning behind going with passive cases for ROCK…except just for something fun to do. Unlike for Nucleus/Nucleus+, the DIY build of Roon OS is not optimized to run in a passively cooled case, so it’s usually better to stick with the standard NUC case. And, since Core won’t be next to your router and far from your listening room, a little fan noise is not much of a concern.

Yes and no - the HDPlex cools just fine, including without the optimisations, because it’s designed to cool processors at double the TDP of mobile parts, even an i7 (the worst offender here is NUC8i7, and that’s 28w… the case is specced for 65…). Don’t know about the non-CPU parts though, maybe there’s something going on there, but hey… I’d also assume Cirrus7 know what the hell they’re doing, and that the same applies to Prime Computer.
I personally loathe Akasa’s design language, and the cases I’ve seen looked like they were built and finished with all the care of a Soviet era Russian tractor, all of which is why I’m partial to HDPlex in the DiY space. They’re horribly expensive though, and physically bigger than the alternatives. Upside is that you can fit a spinny 3,5" and a PSU in there, so if you want like 14Tb of music in a one-box solution that doesn’t look like crap sitting next to the other toys in an audio rack, you don’t really have another solution.

And I tend to agree with you on the point of passive. But you do have to remember that not everyone lives in a house, and not everyone can have a server and their system in separate rooms.

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Thanks, Nickpi. Roon recommends that the NAS have SSD, not just SATA. My NAS data disks are SATA. I have an M2 SSD cache, but that won’t cut it.

Yes, Xexomi, thanks. I understand the logic, but I back up the NAS in the cloud already. My music library is approaching 3 TB (even in FLAC), so I want to explore using the NUC only for Roon Core function, not for storage.


Thanks, Johan. This seems exactly how I want to go.

That’s what I’ve been doing for years…music on the Synology and Core on the NUC. I’ve never had a problem with this setup. Some folks complain that discovering new tracks takes too long, but I just kick off a forced re-scan after ripping new CDs. Just a few extra clicks once or twice a month. No big deal.

Thanks, Mike. I assume your recommendation is based on the assumption that the music files are local to the NUC. But if the data itself is on my NAS, and I only run the Roon Core on the NUC, am I okay with smaller (i5, 8 GB RAM) despite 3 TB of music on the NAS?

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Thanks, David!

Where the data sits is irrelevant to the sizing requirements. How many tracks / albums do you have, how fast are you adding to this (including from streaming services), how many zones do you play to, and do you use DSP ?

Ah, I see. So the bigger the better, especially to future-proof.

Not necessarily: it all depends on the price difference. They’re all very capable machines, and unless you’re streaming to like 5 or 10 DSP’d zones at once, both the i5 and i7 should easily handle your library. This said, the official guidelines are i3 (or “Nucleus”) => 100’000 tracks or so, i7 (or “Nucleus Plus”) for libraries above that (which yours probably already is).

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Perhaps…but NUCs change pretty fast. I tend to replace/upgrade mine once every three or so years. No need to massively overbuy. Biggest CPU usage seems to be applying DSP to DSD and upsampling to DSD. If you don’t plan to do that, an 8th or 10th gen Core i3 will be great, but you could go with the i5 if you want extra headroom. If you want to combine DSP and DSD, then yeah, the i7 is going to be a smart move.

No, I do all the processing I need on my endpoints (PS Audio Directstream for one zone and iFi Pro iDSD for the other). So I guess i5 it is, for the extra headroom. Thanks to one and all!

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