I used a less powerful NUC (a recent 7i3, I forget the exact model) since I am still deciding if I want to stick with Roon or not. I decided to go with Win10–it’s working smoothly, and I uninstalled and pared down everything that I wouldn’t be using. I also run a few other processes that I offloaded from my NAS, and everything’s running smoother now since resources on the NAS are no longer taxed. The video server I use only runs on Windows, so that kind of decided it for me. The i3 is running well, but my library is only 55,000+ songs and 4,600+ albums, which isn’t all that taxing–I am only running Roon Core on the NUC, not the player or renderer.
I created a user account that will log in by itself after a reboot, so it can run and restart unattended. That way, the NUC can be located anywhere on the network. I have it in my TV rack at the moment, as I used the 4K TV as the “monitor” for it (and bought a really cheap wireless Logitech keyboard/mouse set to go with it). But using Remote Desktop from my other computers, I can get into the NUC just like I’m sitting in front of it with keyboard/video/mouse and don’t even need to use an attached monitor anymore. I probably will move it to my networking shelf in the basement soon, once I do some reorganizing.
I get Win10 Pro licenses cheap on eBay (it involves selling scrapped hardware attached to valid and current Windows licenses–several years in, I’ve never had a problem with any of these licenses being deactivated or flagged). I considered Windows Server, but didn’t see any advantage in doing so (although I am familiar with using Server).
I used the standard Intel case the NUC came in–it’s across the room so I never hear a fan running in it (if it even has one). As I mentioned, this doesn’t even need to be near the audio rack, at least in my system, so the fan can make all the noise it wants.