I'm working on a system for visualization of sound signals. I want to use a mini-pc like the intel nuc, which will constantly receive the audio data via wifi or bluetooth. The Nuc should process the signal and visualize it in real-time. Has anybody an idea if I will need to run a RTOS on the Nuc or would a normal Linux OS be fast enough?

While the signal is visualized no other tasks have to be performed, so most resources could be allocated to that task.

EDIT: Sorry, I should have given more information. After the data has been visualized, the received audio signal needs to be stored in a .wav or similar file format, along with some more information about the file in a database like MySQL. The NUC also needs to be able to send those files from time to time to a server and receive software updates from this server. So overall, the nuc needs to provide much more functionality, which is in my opinion much easier to implement with a linux or similar OS than with an RTOS or without any OS. My question was mainly, if you think a normal OS will be fast enough to receive data and visualize them in "real-time" (for humans) or if I should try something like FreeRTOS, Lynx, etc.

1 Answer 1


I started with Raspberry PI, then realized that I don’t really need Linux, as there is only ever one application running. I looked at NUC, thought it too expensive and decided to try Arduino.

However, in researching Arduino, I discovered the ESP32 and am hooked. A single board computer with Blutooth & WiFi for well under $10 ! There are also versions with LoRa if you need more range. It has great sleep mode, if you want to run on battery. And for anyone just getting into hardware, look at M5stack, for a great plug & play system with multiple sensors & even a wrist-worn solution. Just search AliExpress for ESP32 and also for M5stack.f

I can’t recommend ESP32 enough, but if you want to go with NUC, then do so. For great tutorials, start at https://randomnerdtutorials.com/getting-started-with-esp32/

In either case, I see no reason for an operating system & recommend against it.

If you really do want one, and find Linux too much, then I have in the past used FreeRTOS which is excellent and not so bloated. It has been bought by Amazon, so it should be easy to end-to-end from the ESP32 to AWS.

My verdict : ESP32, and no o/s, but YKmMV ;-)

Good luck, and please do let us know what you choose.

  • 1
    Hi Mawg, thanks a lot for your detailed explanation. That already gives me a lot of information I can look at. However, I didn't describe my problem properly, sorry for that. My question was mainly if a normal OS will be fast enough for the task (during which not many other processes will run) or if I should consider a RTOS. I have also updated the question. Thanks again.
    – Moritz
    Jul 11, 2019 at 2:46
  • What do you mean by Normal o/s? Linux, I guess, because you won't be running Windows ;-) Short answer, yes, if your board supports it, Linux can certainly handle it. The NUC has a powerful enough processor. Personally, I would not be attaching a display to the NUCC and displaying data there, but just sending it to a server; but,if that's the architecture that you want, then, yes, it will work
    – Mawg
    Jul 11, 2019 at 5:29
  • Normal = any non-RTOS ;-) okay, great, that‘s what I wanted to know. Thanks a lot!
    – Moritz
    Jul 11, 2019 at 5:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.