For your needs you can pick up an old one for cheap price. I’d don’t think roon is going to integrate HQPlayer filters into their own program, so doesn’t need to be that powerful. Just get some extra ram.
Mac Mini M1 has a lot more compute (for upsampling, for instance) than a supported NUC, and its fan is barely audible, as opposed to the NUC. IMO, it’s the best bang-for-buck audio server available, with a couple of caveats: 1) you need to manage macOS updates; 2) setting up headless operation is tricky but possible.
Setting up an M1 Mac mini for headless operation is simple once you know how to do it.
When Roon releases a native .NET version of the Roon Core/Server for M1 Macs, the memory management issues some people see today will be gone and performance will be even better than it is now.
The M1 Mac mini is a great choice for a Roon Core/Server today and becomes an even better choice for a Roon Core/Server when the M1 native version becomes available.
Hum… I’ve been managing my own Macs since 1985 and I’d not call it “simple.” Even after setting it up, things can go wonky and require connecting a monitor and keyboard first time after a macOS update.
I had my M1 Mac mini out the of box and acting as a headless Roon Server in less than 30 minutes. I have updated the macOS several times now, using Screen Sharing, and have never had to hook up a monitor or keyboard after the initial setup. I am not using any video port dongles to fool the Mac mini into thinking a display is attached.
Of course, I have been using Macintosh computers since 1983…yes, before they came out officially on 1/24/84.
I’ll just leave here that much that I like my Mini M1, the whole headless setup is absurdly twisted and poorly documented compared with my multiple Ubuntu Server setups… So much for macOS being “user friendly.”
Yes, it is poorly documented by Apple. Apple did not specifically intend for the M1 Mac mini to be used headless. But, I provided a link that documents how to do it and it is simple to setup and manage once you have that information. I guess your definition of “absurdly twisted” is a lot different than mine…
So is the mac. If you want ‘value for money’ you buy a NUC and run ROCK… But the nucleus is about design, aesthetic, support, no fans etc. and it’s easy, runs rock, job done.
Why would you want to waste a mac on roon, just buy a cheaper NUC and hide it.
Also, the nucleus is specced as high as it needs to be within spec. It’s like android vs iphone, iphone doesn’t need 3x as much ram because its a much more efficient device and the user experience and speed is faster and better than android with lower specs. If roon create nucleus and say it’s designed for top performance of X albums, that’s all u need.
I could still use the Mac for other stuff because it’s plenty powerful. Resell value is another one.
A Mac mini is able to do upsampling to DSD512 / pcm 768 without problems if I decide to not use HQ Player after all.
Overall it’s just a better machine and not that much more expensive than a average NUC
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