I will be the canary in the coal mine...for you (M2 Pro Mac Mini)

It will work without a headless adapter. But I believe Remote Desktop will only output 1920x1080 max.

But if you run RoonServer I don’t believe this applies… perhaps someone from Roon could chime in?

@danny Does RoonServer need the same GPU performance the Roon app requires?

If you’re going to max out a mini, you’re better choice wound be entry level M1 Studio.

Edit: sorry mods for the multiple posts. I probably should’ve combined them all in one with multiple quotes… it’s a pita using the DiscourseHub app. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

The M2 Pro beats it in CPU performance, for $700 less, not that either is required for Roon


Oops… Last I looked I missed the furthest m2 mini model at the far right…

So to compare Apples to Apples… :rofl: :joy: :rofl:

it does appear a m2 pro mini with maxed ram and 10gbe and 2 less USB ports is $100 more than the M1 studio. So M1max and ultra is beneficial if you need more than 32gb of ram.

Not really needed for RoonServer as it only appears to use ~2.0gb of ram at idle.

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no it does not.


I’d really like to see what your Mac mini M1 says to the same workload. Would that be possible?

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Yes. I’m going to really test all this out before permanently committing to $1299 for a Roon Core

Update: On the older M1 Mac mini, I was able to get nine zones simultaneously going, one with DSD 128 upsampling (I wasn’t able to do that with the newer computer for some reason), all with volume leveling and EQ, 7 with PCM Max rate upsampling (2 of the zones would stop working if I tried upsampling on them but I don’t think that was because of the computer)

I have another PC on the network running Roon Bridge and I wanted to add those zones to this test, but Roon wasn’t seeing it for some reason. The other zones are on an iMac, AirPlay (AVR downstairs) and my laptop.

The “Processing speed” on the DSD stream (USB connected to McIntosh Integrated Amp) was about 11x - the other zones were more like 40x

CPU usage in Activity Monitor is about 100%. About 1GB of RAM used, but the library on this core is a bit smaller. No fan noise. The computer is cool to the touch. There is no stuttering of audio.

So, yeah, this new machine is most certainly overkill. I guess you really can have it all for $599 or less

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Why choose a Mac mini over a NUC?

Well, for one it can be managed remotely headless using Apple Remote Desktop.

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Using “Screen Sharing” is simpler and easier…

For me it was in the “Confort zone”. All apple comps in the house. It comes to a price :slight_smile:

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I’m seriously considering, replacing or better yet repurposing my late 2012 quad core 16Gb mini as I’ve been experiencing Roon crashing and restarting my Mini more frequently .

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10 years it is what I expect from a mini used only as audio server. Many years ago I had one for work, emails photo and video editing, it lasted 7 and 1/2 years

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Apple Silicon Macs use v little power, especially if running headless: my 2012 i5 Mini hauls about 65w average. My M1 is a gazillion times faster and pulls about 12w average. Can’t even keep my server room warm now…


Congrats! But you are aware that this is a complete overkill. I am using a 2014 intel MacMini as core machine because that’s the last Mac with optical output. On this machine I also watch movies without problems.

Optical output is rather limited for roon use. And for movies a 4k apple TV is even better.

I use the optical as an output of the Dirac DRC to my Devialet Phantoms (DRC also runs on my MacMini).

My first machine for Roon Core was a 2015 Mac Mini, bought as a factory refurb for about $600 IIRC. Kept it around after I “upgraded” to a SGC sonicTransporter i9. For running Roon Core and HQP on a single machine, the sT i9 has more grunt (and in other respects is a good music server). However, if I were starting all over from scratch and could only buy one machine, I’d seriously consider going with an M2 Mini over the sonicTransporter (or a Nucleus). The Mini (or other full-function computer) is so much more versatile than a single-purpose music server. Fan noise isn’t an issue IMO. Nor are interruptions from system events a big problem if you turn off Time Machine, automatic OS upgrades etc. I mean, we put up with TV commercials, right? And spam. Totally uninterrupted entertainment just isn’t normal.

Besides using the Mini for Roon Core (and as a Roon USB audio output device), I’ve also used it for HQPlayer Desktop, BAACH4Mac (“3D” sound processor), HDTracks downloads, and CD ripping. Remote Desktop is quite handy and easy to use.

(Full disclosure: I’m an Apple shareholder. Go buy Apple products, everyone. :slight_smile: )


I used to have a sonicTransporter i5 running Roon and HQPlayer Embedded and then went to a sonicTransporter i9 to get more performance for HQPlayer. I got tired of support issues with Small Green Computer (SGC) and having to wait for SGC to upgrade HQPlayer every time a new release came out. So I sold the sonicTransporter i9, bought an M1 Mac mini and a HQPlayer Desktop license.

The M1 Mac mini does everything the sonicTransporter i9 did but faster for lot less money. I don’t have to wait for anyone to update software releases or support and everything just works.

I will never buy an SGC sonicTransporter again. They are not a good value.

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Thanks @Tom_K @musicjunkie917 for shared stories, now if I ever get ideas about SGC I know better