Would switching to a NUC improve my Roon experience?

I am running Tidal and Qobuz with Roon on a Windows 10 laptop with AMD Ryzen3 processor and 16gb of Ram.
! use this setup to stream (and only stream) to Kef LSX active speakers. I don’t have any stored music files and I’m not using any process heavy software, only surfing and email. I have an ethernet cable
running out of a PoE (Power over ethernet) slave into the rear port of the kefs.
I also use the same laptop for my headphone setup…USB out of laptop into a Project Pre-Box S2 MQA dac into Xduoo MT602 hybrid tube amp. My internet connection is CenturyLink Fibre with very high speeds.
My cpu use never goes over 15% and memory never goes over 44%. It all sounds great for a midfi setup. I’ve probably spent $1300 to $1500 total.
My question is, would getting a nuc make any difference in SQ or streaming stability?
Occasionally I get some dropouts with the kefs which a laptop reset usually clears up.
To improve my SQ significantly would the next step up be separate amp dac streamer speakers?
Please forgive me for just dreaming…too much Covid time on my hands.

A nuc is not going to improve your streaming stability one iota unfortunately.
Money might be better spent trying to run a true internet hard line to the Kefs rather than a PoE arrangement.
It does not sound like you need any better processing power at this stage with your fairly modest requirements.

Now if you suddenly acquired a huge music file collection or aggressively started using DSP and Upsampling it might be a different story.

I think your laptop is fine for now.


Sounds about right. I can’t run an ethernet cable from a room away. The wife would lose it.
Thanks for the advice.

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The problem with laptop is not the cpu or memory, it is the wifi (maybe the problem sorts itself out with wifi 6).

Wi-fi is half duplex and Ethernet is full duplex, and this makes a big difference, and this is why there is no dropouts using wired Ethernet cable, and that explains you get occasional dropouts.


A NUC running Rock is an appliance, optimized for the sole purpose of serving Roon endpoints, which you’d control from your laptop. If you’re currently experiencing occasional dropouts, the present server (laptop) is possibly being distracted for more important tasks (in windows opinion). A NUC would very likely improve the overall experience, but not necessarily effect SQ. It would certainly be an upgrade.


The primary concern here is wether the core is connected via WiFi or not. That would be the main thing to look at regarding stability. Then of course there is the issue of loss of portability if Ethernet connection fixes or significantly improves the problem. Having begun my journey with a laptop you can still use it as the hub of your system so that to all intents and purposes you’d still have the laptop for control and as your headphone station. You would just be unloading the donkey work to a dedicated device optimised for the task. Finally, it doesn’t need to be a NUC. There are plenty of devices that will get the job done and can be tucked away in a cupboard requiring nothing more than power and Ethernet to your switch. Lenovo make some small and cheap possible alternatives that have been documented as working with RoonOS. The number of devices you can do this with will increase once RoonOS becomes UEFI compatible which is apparently on the road map.

Used to get dropouts from time to time when I first used Roon on an old pc. Changing to Nuc with SSD gave a completely stable set up.

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Note the next version of RoonOS (2.0) is likely to be limited to specific NUC models with other options still a roll of the dice.

How do you mean limited? ROCK support has always been confined to a very limited range of NUC devices but at the same time Roon has never discouraged putting ROCK on other machines (known as MOCKs) and even have thread about it here. Is there a suggestion Roon might prevent loading on to unsupported hardware?

No, no suggestion like that. Simply that Roon Labs do not guarantee support for NUCs that are not on the supported list. They also do not guarantee that ROCK on an unsupported NUC will continue working with a future Build of Roon.

From the ROCK Help page:

Any hardware configurations other than the above are unsupported .
Although they may work now, they may also stop working at any time due to updates.

As mentioned by others here, you should not expect any difference in the SQ by moving to a Nuc or similar device to run Roon. The SQ difference would most likely be in the capability of the endpoint/interface with Roon and stability based on connections (WiFI/Ethernet) and your environment. You could expect a stability improvement using Rock if you experience problems related to Windows updates. That does happen from time to time but apparently not to everyone.

The biggest difference for me was having the music sever always available and not tethered to my PC/Laptop. From any room in my house with an endpoint, I can grab the phone from from my belt or any roon remote device, and start the music playing with no more though or preparation than that.

I pretty much take that as a given. It came across to me as ROCK 2.0 only working with specified devices.

I’m a little confused. Are you using ethernet over power to get an ethernet signal to your kEF’s?

I am pretty sure this is what the arrangement is which is why I suggested a change to a real hard internet connection might yield better stability results.
However it appears this will not pass spousal approval and that I know all about…lol

Yes, ethernet cable out of PoE wallwart into ethernet port in Kefs.

Let me go back to your question…would the NUC be an improvement. Yes. Would it be a significant improvement…I don’t know. I’ve never heard the LSX so I can’t say. Here’s some things I can tell you.
Its been my experience that anytime you can remove “noise” from your digital signal chain you will end up with better sound. I don’t mean the noise that you can hear, but the noise that induces jitter.
Theoretically a NUC turns off everything that is not needed for Roon. It is a streamlined Linux version that can only do what Roon needs. Btw, I built mine for under $200.
But will you notice the sound difference? Kind of double it.
Instead…try to clean up your ethernet. Maybe convert it to fiber and back before your KEF’s “see” it? Anything you can do to reduce noise will be a benefit…and the best thing is you can do it for around $100. The great thing about streaming is that you can do it cheaply for the time being and then upgrade if you want.
Have fun and yell if you need help.

I’m working on it… Thanks for the advice!

That would be worse than wifi, I would never ever do it over any circumstances.

PoE ​≠ Power line Ethernet


PoE wallwart ! Yes, misuse of the term !!!

PoE (Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) standard, IEEE-802.3af): Ethernet cable can be used to power devices that normally use wall warts—such as IP phones, HVAC thermostats, wireless access points, PDA docking stations, and anything else that consumes less than 12.95 W.