Why does ROON ROCK need to be on an M.2 SSD drive

Hi there,

New to the roon ecosystem and still need to do a lot of learning. I’m building mu i3 NUC and I understand the ROCK OS needs to live on the M.2 SSD (one I have is a 128GB M2). Why is this? I also have a 1TB 2.5" Samsung SSD for the music but just wondering why ROCK needs to sit on M.2? Maybe a performance reason?


Consistency of performance would be my guess, although you also have an ssd fitted for your music it could be replaced with a disk which is not as quick for access as an ssd, an M.2 ssd is what it is and although I am sure some are faster than others they are all fast and that is what is preferred for Roon db access.

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Thanks for the info. Yes, maybe the M2 has better access to the CPU when compared to a SATA drive. Maybe I’ll WikI the answer.

Found this info on M2 drives.

It’s the fact that Roon needs an SSD for its database for performance reasons, and since the M.2 SSD is the default drive in an NUC, that’s what is used for the ROCK OS and Roon.

More info about the software design of Roon and why SSD performance is required is in Brian’s post here:

You also can’t have the ROCK OS and Roon held on the same drive as your music, hence if you’ve got an internal drive in your NUC holding your music, you will also need a separate M.2 SSD for ROCK and Roon.

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Thanks Geoff.

M2 is waaaaaay faster then SSD based on the SATA-protocol. And for the roon database it can’t be fast enough :wink:

ROCK will function perfectly well on. 2.5” SSD instead of M2 if that’s what you prefer. I had it that way round with my music storage on 1TB M2 SSD.


good to know.

M.2 is meaningless. It is essentially just a form factor. If you are using an M.2 SATA drive, it will work at the same speed as a conventional SATA SSD. An M.2 NVMe is not SATA. It will only work on an NVMe enabled board and is keyed differently to a SATA M.2 so shouldn’t fit a board not designed to use it. These are faster and speak more directly to the processor, but not so much that it would have a noticeable effect in Roon. ROCK isn’t fussy about where you put it. If you had a big M.2 and small SSD hard drive knocking about, you can put Roon on the SSD and your music on the M.2 with no ill effect. ROCK should ask you where you want to put it if it sees 2 drives.


Thanks Heny. The NVMe is the smallest I could buy which is a 125GB from Amazon, the SSD Sata3 is a 1TB from Sansung. Got the i3 NUC now and plan to install it all in the next few days.

No particular reason, really. You could run roon off of a 2,5 inch internal ssd on the nuc, but that would mean wasting a lot of space that could have been used for music storage, since the rock/roon installation needs to run off a dedicated drive. So while you could do it, it makes more sense to add a small .m2 ssd for the os and roon and use the extra 2.5’’ hard drive slot for music storage.

I have a ‘slim’ nuc with only space for a single .m2 drive, so I can either use an external usb drive for music or connect it to a network share to access music over SMB

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it actually does make a diff, but it scales with library size. bigger library == more of a performance bump

I didn’t know this, but I just looked it up. it seems that all NVMe M.2 drives and slots are keyed “M”, but SATA M.2 drives are slotted B + M, so SATA will always work in an NVMe slot, but NVMe drives will not fit in a SATA slot.


thanks for the info, appreciated.

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When purchasing my gen 7 i3 nuc I learned that the intel nucs’ M2 slot is «universal», so it will work with SATA as well as NVMe.

Will Optane also work ? Anybody tested ?

There’s a number of discussions in the forum about Optane. Including this:

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