First off, go easy on me. I’m pretty new to this hobby!
I have 2 Windows 10 PCs - one is an old PC with a 4770k that I’ve repurposed to be a media server by filling it with HDDs for movies and music. The second is my desktop PC that I use for work, gaming, and now, listening to music via my RME ADI-2 DAC.
Today, I made the decision to buy a PCIe USB card for my Desktop PC. After reading the manual and slowly familiaring myself with the awesome capabilities of the DAC, I discovered the recommendation to connect the DAC to its own USB controller - my motherboard bizarrely only has one.
Now that I sit here and think of my setup, I am now wondering if this is not going to make the biggest difference - perhaps the Media Server / Roon core that is busy handling all the TIDAL Streaming, local FLAC playing, and DSD Upsampling has its own audio quality bottleneck that I had not considered? It is connected to the network via the ethernet port on the motherboard, and fed directly into my home router.
Would love some thoughts here - is the PCIe card I just purchased from amazon worth it? Are there other big gaping holes in my Roon setup?
Hmm, well first, try the USB card with the DAC and switch it around with the motherboard USB. If you hear a difference and its worth the cost, then sure keep the card. If not, send the card back.
That DAC is also an ADC and I’d guess for recording is why it probably want’s its own USB controller. For playback, are you using the USB for much else at the same time? Probably not. So don’t worry about it, unless the listening test shows you one sounds better than the other.
4770k with 8 gb of ram is more than enough to run Roon without any bottlenecks.
And using a machine for my core that isn’t built from the ground up for audiophile Roon streaming - is that an issue? Should I consider migrating my core to its own device one day? Or the setup I have is more than fine already?
As long as the machine being used is up to minimum spec for what you are running, you should be fine. For Roon, the minumum spec is an i3 and 8 GB or RAM, OS on an SSD. That spec goes up depending on the DSP you are applying and the size of your library.
Now, given that you are running other things on it, you need to account for those as well. Additionally, sometimes software on the same machine can interfere with each other, so, there might be additional troubleshooting in that environment.
Think about it this way, plenty of users around here use under spec’d NAS to run a RoonServer, a NAS which is also running plex and backups, etc etc.
Your system should be fine.
Here is my RoonServer and yes it does other things at the same time: