Is it worth upgrading the memory / RAM?

Hi, everyone.

I want to buy a new Mac Mini (8th gen. quad-core i3 3.6GHz) to use it as a Roon Server to play with SOtM SMS-200Ultra endpoints, one attached to a stereo DSD 256 dac and the other attached to a multichannel DSD128 dac. My plan is to apply DSP convolution.

The standard configuration comes with 8GB RAM. Is it worth upgrading the memory to 16GB?

Thanks you all in advance.

If you are only using it for Roon Core, then no. If you are going to use it as a personal workstation as well, then probably.


Just a heads up, my 2014 Mac Mini with 3.0 GHz i7 and 16 Gb RAM really struggles with native DSD64 files in combination with convolution filters created for me by Home Audio Fidelity.

That is a function of CPU (or the lack thereof), not total RAM in the system.

Good feedback, thanks. Do you think that the new Mac Mini (quad i3 3.6GHz 8th gen) would be enough to make the proper DSP?

If you have difficulty with it taking too long to access your music at times, then it may be worth it, as RAM is relatively cheap. I upgraded my 2013(?) iMac from its stock 8GB to 32GB and all of its lag issues were resolved. It really acts like a different machine. I used it as a core while my Nucleus+ was being looked at, and it worked quite well with the extra RAM. It struggled way too much with 8GB, but you likely have a faster CPU.

Just my two cents.


Which is why I was pointing out that my i7 has problems with less processing than he’s planning on doing with an i3.

The 8th gen i3 he is suggesting is more powerful than the 4th gen i7 in your Mac Mini though. It would likely still struggle with DSD upsampling and heavy DSP but less so.

EDIT: Wrong i3 CPU in my first attempt


Hi, Tim. This is very informative. Are these benchmarks relative to a single core or the entire processor?

By the way, how does an i3-8100 compare to an i5-3210M? This i5 is the one that came with Mac Mini I have nowadays.

If you are only using the machine to run Roon, and you don’t get Mac Minis for free, you can probably get an i7 NUC which most likely will, for much, much less money, and that includes a few hours of your friendly neighbour’s kid’s time if you’re not comfortable setting it up.

Edit: you might also enjoy a look at @mitr’s review of the Nucleus right here if you haven’t already. That generation of Nucleii was running 7th gen chips, and his remarks should be read while keeping in mind that ROCK doesn’t have the overhead of running OSX to deal with.

That’s the entire CPU result, but the single threaded performance difference is similar.

You can check them out to your hearts content here;

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I upgraded my Roon Nucleus from 4GB to 8GB. I have no idea if it made any difference, but I don’t think it hurt. It’s instantaneous regardless. I was able to find a 4GB memory chip that was a match to what was already in the Nucleus.

For what its worth I agree with @Xekomi, unless you specifically need the Mac Mini for other tasks then a Intel NUC 8i7 or a Intel NUC 10i7 will out perform it by a good margin and be a lot cheaper.

Regarding the memory, how much you need with depend mainly on two things; the size of your Roon library in terms of number of tracks, and if you will be running other tasks along side Roon.

No, the Mac Mini I use is just to run Roon and their tasks (library management, DSP etc) and I’ll do the same with the new one (NUC ou Mac). My only (and major) problem is finding these NUCs where I live. The ones available are, generally, configured to use in shops or markets.

You might want to call Intel Brazil up - you’re not in a small market for 'em, and they’ll probably know who sells them to end-users. Whether you can get one at a reasonable price is another question entirely… Oh, and just in case you’ve been searching for a pre-built passive NUC, yes, those do tend to be targeted at businesses pretty much everywhere.

Your other option, if you’re comfortable with building your own computers (or have a local shop that can do it for you) is to look into MOCK, so the “compatible” systems.
This will give you the advantage of being able to run ROCK on something that’s probably easier to source locally, and can be much faster than a NUC, at the (quite important, even though the risk is rather low) expense of not having the certainty that RoonLabs will do everything they can to keep it running (since it’s a configuration that happens-to-work, as opposed to a configuration that’s designed-to-work).

Hi! Does anyone have any experience of RAM vs CPU. I have two possible setups and are rather content with my setup that’s an old cpu (i7 3GEN but with 32Gb RAM) or migrating to a modern CPU but with 8 Gb RAM.

I don’t think it would really be worth it but just in case anyone has some experience with this.

Server only running RoonServer, nothing else.

Why do an upgrade then? What do you hope to accomplish?

An increase/decrease if RAM is only going to effect Roon’s responsiveness and then only for large libraries.

A faster/slower CPU will only be a factor if you do heavy DSP or have an inordinate amount of endpoints.

Changing to a different machine won’t improve SQ.

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it :smiling_imp:

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It’s true that Roon restarts randomly and that’s why I was thinking of swapping computer, but has dramatically improved since the last updates.

Thansk for your 5 cents!

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Worthy of consideration in current times is electrical power draw and that 3rd gen i7 will be thirsty.