Which HW for a minimal Roon Core (server)?

Just started with Roon. Currently installed Roon app on my window laptop. I do not want my laptop to run all the time, so I am looking for a fanless NUC to host Roon.

I need a minimalistic Roon configuration (mostly for streaming Tidal, currently no local library).
I want to start with a cheapest budget, preferably buy a used setup.
I do not know what to choose.
Please advice or offer.


Any of these supported devices.
You will need to source your own fanless case.

  1. NUC5i3xxx

  2. NUC5i5xxx

  3. NUC6i3SYx

  4. NUC6i5SYx

  5. NUC7i3BNx

  6. NUC7i5BNx

  7. NUC7i7BNx

  8. NUC7i3DNx

  9. NUC7i5DNx

  10. NUC7i7DNx

  11. NUC8i3BEx

  12. NUC8i5BEx

  13. NUC8i5BEx

  14. NUC8i7BEx

  15. NUC10i3FNx

  16. NUC10i5FNx

  17. NUC10i7FNx


Will look where to get the SBC along with required minimal memories and fanless case (ebay, aliexpress, etc.)
Will be glad to get suggedtions where to look.

Thanks again.

A lot of people buy used off ebay often comes with memory and storage

The Intel NUC’s in the standard case are very quiet, so you may not need actually need a fanless case. Will also likely be easier to source a complete unit on eBay,

One of the NUC 7 & 8 models listed above will be fine. If you’re only using Roon for streaming then even the older 5 and 6 generation models will likely suffice.

If you then find it too noisy in the default case it’s easy enough to move the components into a fanless one. Although personally I’d just put the NUC (in it’s standard case) out of sight in another Room alongside your router/switch. Then use a cheap/small/silent Raspberry Pi running Ropieee connected to your HiFi kit as your actual endpoint.

Thanks for the support

Checked ebay (slightly confusing for me).

The chosen configuration must suffice for:

  • mostly Tidal hifi (mqa) streaming
  • small library
  • basic (minimal) DSP (haven’t even tried that yet)


  • intel nuc i3 or i5?
  • gen 5 or 6 or 7?
  • 8gb or 16 gb ram
  • 128gb or 256gb or 512gb ssd?
  • windows 10/11 or Rock OS? (not many Rock options)

Looking for a lowest BUDGET option, but with sufficient performance for at least, the above functionality.

Please assist

Go for the highest of each question as future proofing probably not much in it financially

GEN 7 definitely, the others are old …Current is Gen 11 !
I5 definitely, maybe even i7 , can’t have too much UMPH especially if you plan to use DSP
8gb ok , 16 better
SSD 256 should be ok, you won’t be able to use the rest if you go ROCK
Windows a good idea if you plan multi use, if Roon dedicated then go ROCK it’s included in license fee, Windows will cost

Also your local library is irrelevant, any Streaming tracks included in your library consume the same resources as local.

Not sure where you are based but these NUC 7 and 8 (i3 and i5 models) on eBay should all suffice.

  • NUC7i3BNx (where x = H or K see below)
  • NUC7i5BNx
  • NUC7i3DNx
  • NUC7i5DNx
  • NUC8i3BEx
  • NUC8i5BEx

The above models will either end in H or K per below:

  • H = double height / includes a slot for a 2.5" hard drive if you want to include an additional 2.5" mechanical HDD for your music files alongside the SDD used for Roon itself.
  • K = single height / no-hard-drive slot, you’ll need to use a external USB drive or have your music files stored elsewhere on your network.

In terms of RAM / SSD see Roon’s notes on this:

  • It is extremely rare you will need more than 128GB of storage on this SSD. ROCK will not use it.
  • 4gb RAM minimum, 8gb should be more than you will ever need.

Lastly in terms of OS, installing ROCK will remove the need/cost of a Windows licence, make your life simple, ensure that everything works as expected, be easier for Roon to fault find should you hit issues (as it’s a known OS with minimal user configuration to be messed up), be low-maintenance (it self updates) and also offers some additional features only available in ROCK like CD ripping and web based management of the ROCK OS. Unless you have very good reason I’d stick to installing ROCK on your NUC and get a NUC that allow you to install ROCK.

Thanks for the prompt support

A NUC8i5BEH Core i5-8259U Intel Iris Plus is advertised on eBay for $789. That’s $90 more than a new Mac Mini M1 (base model). Apple currently lists refurbished Minis for as low as $589. Just another option for you (or someone else) to consider. Both NUCs and Mac Minis are popular HW for hosting Roon Core.

Purchased the following:

Intel NUC NUC7I5BNK *SHORT i5-7260 U 2.2 GHz Box PC 8GB DDR4 Win10 PRO 120gb m.2

265$ on ebay

Thanks for the support

1 Like

Someone might be listing it at that price, but not sure anyone would pay that. Sold listings for that model seems be going for $300-$450 on average.

I did intend to install ROCK OS when my NUC arrives.
The NUC arrives installed with win10 pro.
In your opinion, should I install the windows ROON app (with server) or should I go with a full ROCK installation?


Intel NUC NUC7I5BNK *SHORT i5-7260 U 2.2 GHz Box PC 8GB DDR4 Win10 PRO 120gb m.2

I have run my core on Windows since 2015. Has and does work perfectly. I prefer Windows so I can monitor the health of my hardware. ROCK has no way to monitor temp, ram or do disk drive checks.

Thanks for sharing