I’ve been on a bit of an odyssey of late with regard to choosing a Roon Core, but on Tuesday 2023-01-24 I take delivery of the M2 Pro Mac Mini with 16GB RAM, and will be using it as a dedicated Roon Core (headless, no other apps running on it besides Roon Server for MacOS)
I’m a bit ashamed because it’s definitely overkill but I overcame this embarrassment and bought it anyway.
Congratulations Doug on your purchase, you can think of it as overkill or future proofing yourself.
Once you have Remote Desktop set up it will be a great headless machine and should give you many years of service.
I was thinking about overkill when I purchased my last Nuc early last years, and decided that I wanted something that would last and cause me the least issues for the next 5-7 years.
I think the M2 Mac falls into that category
What you’re familiar with, the local environment, multiple „personal choice“ reasons. A fully pimped mac mini is very competitively priced compared to a Nucleus+, so it’s something to consider depending on circumstance and prejudice.
OK. Do you need that power? I’m wondering because as server that’s on 24/7 a powerful computer will eat a lot of power. If you’ve got the dough I suppose why not. I don’t.
To get back to the OP initial comment. I had a headless Mac mini running Roon server. It’s a hassle, imho, to have to logon on to it remotely with another Mac, and you have nada control over Roon remotely. The web interface on the NUC is great for practical use, and I much prefer it over the headless Mac mini approach. But looks wise, I’d pick the Mac mini in my rack any day over a standard NUC enclosure.
All valid points, although I don’t find using screen sharing to tunnel into the Mac is really any more of a hassle than any other kind of web based or remote interface. And once it’s setup the need to control it remotely is small. But yes, it’s not strictly plug and play. It requires some initial setup. I’ve been using a 2020 M1 Mac Mini headless (mostly) as my Roon server for a while now.
It’s notable that in my case this is the only thing I use the Mac for. One core, one dac, one purpose for the machine.
This new Mac caught me at a juncture where I had just returned a Nucleus Plus. (I haven’t really been interested in posting about that here since I’m not looking to talk down a Nucleus+, it was just more than I wanted to spend for a Roon Core). So compared to that I spent a lot less than I did for this at $1299. And it’s still overkill. But it is more powerful than what I have. And I wanted the 16GB of RAM.
I think there’s a lot of good ways to get Roon going in your house. This is one of them. At $1299 it’s neither the cheapest nor most costly. I am not sure, in terms of sheer single core performance, you can get much faster than this without spending a ton more. So, as someone said earlier, I’m future proof in a sense.
OK that’s a lot of typing. TL;dr many valid points to not do this, but I found enough valid ones to do it. And if it doesn’t work out in the first 15 days, I’ll undo it.