Which Intel NUC to choose?

I would have a chance to get a second hand mini-PC with these specs, would this work as ROCK?


  • CPU Intel Core i5-4250U

  • Motherboard Intel D54250WYB

  • RAM 8GB 1,600MHz DDR3

Here’s a link: Tranquil PC Abel H2-5 NUC PC Review | bit-tech.net
Only to be used for streaming Tidal.

With a SSD (probably a m.SATA given the age of motherboard).

I initially built a D34010WYKH NUC as ROCK server, which has a i3-4010U Haswell processor, with 8GB RAM and 240GB m.SATA SSD. It ran my Library of 4k albums at the time, with the earlier versions of ROCK and Roon Core.

I have replaced it, about 3-years ago, with a NUC5i3, a Broadwell-U generation also with 8GB RAM and 240GB m.SATA, and the library size is now 6k albums (90k tracks) and have benchmarked this against NUC6 and NUC7 units and got similar results on DSP processing, upsampling, downconverting, Room EQ processing, on simultaneous Endpoints etc.

The D34010WYKH NUC is out on permanent loan, for the last 2-years, to someone who just uses it with Tidal, and I believe it works fine.

We use these i3 NUCs at work for developer workstations. They run dual-head displays, docker environments on Mint or Ubuntu versions of Linux. Yes, we are sweating 2015 assets, but they do the job.

So as ROCK - headless, embedded dedicated server, ethernet only, running a stripped down OS just serving Roon Core - there is plenty of resources available.

I have install roon on a Intel NUC8v5pnh and it work perfectly in the system. I have no problems by the installation. The system is not on the roon nuc list, but it works.

The Nuc 8v5pnh is the industry Version of the Nuc with another pro Motherboard. It also have USB 3 and USB 2, some people think that USB sounds a little big better.

My system works fanless with an passiv akasa plato px case and roon 1.8.

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I use NUC8i5 with 16G Optane memory, 16G ram with fanless case
I don’t know about NUC9, 10

but, for me, NUC8i5 series works enough well.
I use DSD 512 upscaling also. (DSD 1024 was failed)

So. I think i5 is enough good. but If you want more.
you can buy i7 model.

I think a nuc10i7 is to expensieve. I only need a nuc to play my NAS and Tidal, and than connect the dac to the nuc.
Should be a nuci3 not be enough for that task? I think you do not need high specs when you do not use the data base internly? I am looking for the NUC10i3FNH, it is arround €250 and a nuc10i7 is more than €450.
I think the most network streamers are to expensive. That is why I am looking for the Nuc10i3FNH. Oh and I want to run Rock on it, not windows10.

Hi Reinier,
I just bought a Lenovo M90n with I3-8145, 8GB ram and 500GB SSD for 299€ at amazon.de (Germany)
The installation is described here. There is a slot for a 2nd M.2 SSD so that you can use it also with internal storage for music files.

I am very pleased with the form factor and the price snd so far also the performance is good for my needs.

regards Chris


That Tranquil PC NUC seems to work fine :+1:

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I just set up an 8i3 and its grand. I have a tiny library and mostly stream. Ive not heard or read of anyone that’s struggled with an i3. The Nucleus has an i3.


Could you please help me understand what library size means - is there a difference if I have 10.000 titles in Tidal vs.10.000 titles in files in local storage? Do these equal to the same library size?
Thank you

My understanding is the metadata requirements would be the same but the analysis information isn’t there for items in your library from streaming sources so the database is smaller for streamed content. However Roon doesn’t make any distinction in their knowledge base (that I’m aware of). But remember a lot of the hard work Roon does is creating links in your music and in discovery. In this respect I think there is no difference between the two.

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Having 10.000 titles in Tidal and in local storage is not exactly the same. If they are in local storage, they are in the library. However, when in Tidal, they are not: they can explicitly be added to the library.
However, the library and storage are not the same: they even should be kept separate, according to the advice of Roon when you install a NUCs.
So the difference between storage and a streaming service is if they are automatically added to the library or not.

I use a 7i3 and use Roon dsp to upsample to dsd256( highest the ultrarendu can do) with zero problems.
Processor running at approximately 1.8 to 2.1% on most albums.
Extremely fast response and rock solid stable.
Cannot ask for much more.
My library is about 3500 of my own ripped albums plus Qobuz of another 2000 or so.

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So my Mac mini “Core i7” 2014 woke me up at 2am from the cabinet in the hall … doing a regular death whirrr … and sure enough it’s dead this morning. Seems like Roon managing 45K albums on a full Synology 1515+ NAS with 5x 6TB SSD was too much for the old machine. :sob:

Trouble is I’m struggling to decipher from this thread what NUC spec is required to avoid the same issues.

Anyone have specific experience with a 40K+ library?

From experience the processing is relentless.

Some details. I’d been worried about it last week, with a couple of crashes, but discovered the 130% CPU usage was ‘normal’ for Roon. Roon player UI performance has alway been painfully slow with just 8GB of RAM on the Core Mini, and I wonder if this was stressing it too (or was the 2GB RAM in the NAS to blame). I expect to run ROCK and won’t bother with DSP. I have several Roon instances on mac OS about the house all on ethernet.

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I by the way went for this NUC5i7RYH, but it appears to be too weak … it makes a lot of noise while running Roon Server, so I’m back to having it installed on my NAS (which also makes noise, but of a less distracting sort).

How long did you use it before you gave up on it? You probably know that Roon will work hard when it is importing music, analyzing the music and setting up the database. But once that is done the background activity level should be pretty low.

you might be right, I just reactivated it, and have it on now for 20 mins and the analysis is still running:

Thanks for the hint!

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Most of the processing is the audio analysis. This gives you features like the waveform and volume leveling information. You don’t need this to just listen to music. So you can turn it off now, and let it run when you are not listening.
Go to Settings>Library>Background audio analysis speed. You can turn it off, throttle it, or limit the number of cores it is using. You could test the noise level by setting background audio analysis to OFF, wait a few minutes and see if that helps.

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I thought the same thing about the Akasa. I bought it anyway. I’ve got to say it’s actually much, much cooler looking in person. I really like the build.

I actually have my Nuc which is in an Akasa fanless case in my audio rack as it looks so neat.
And this way it benefits from the extreme power conditioning lengths I have gone to for my main rig.
If you hold any faith in that of course, I have no beef with those who not so please respect my decision to believe in good clean power.

you were actually right, having some patience did the trick … the analysis took about an hour, but Roon is now really fast (at least in comparison to having it installed on a NAS without SSD), and the NUC is not making any loud noise, since the importing/analyzing is all done.

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