In my second system, I am using an old Mac Mini as a Roon Core. The Mini is from 2012 and is basically doing its job - I don’t use any DSP functions and i don’t use the Mini for anything else.
I will be looking to replace the Mini soon and have looked to go the Intel NUC route. However, it looks like it will cost me a little over $1k for the high performance version (my library is over 70k songs). In comparison, the M1 Minis are $699/$899.
I would appreciate any comments or inputs on this. The mini will be used exclusively for Roon and no DSP functions will be used.
IMO, for a Roon only server, you can’t beat a 7 or 8 series NUC with ROCK for value vs. performance. I run a 7i5 bought for under $200. From what I’ve seen here, people are also very happy with M1 Mac Minis - though Roon is not yet M1 native.
About 3 weeks ago I built a Roon ROCK with NUC 10i7FNHN + 16GB RAM + 256GB Samsung 979 EVO Plus M.2 SSD for a total of $844. The NUC 10 alone was $599 brand new from NewEgg. I also have a Mac mini M1 but I think it’s a waste having a dedicated Mac mini M1 just as a Roon Server. The Roon ROCK have been rock solid since day one. It’s literally setup and forget.
Thing to keep in mind when building a Roon Core for a purpose of storing big or relatively big library is RAM. The bigger the library more RAM capacity you will need. Besides the storage. At minimum 16GB.
There is no question M1 is a great CPU. The only big issue with Mac is upgradeability. With ROCK you would be able to customize it further to a certain extent. Additionally it’s slightly more stable – just because it runs for the sole purpose of Roon on a skinned Linux.
I recently bought an M1 Mac mini (16GB RAM, 1TB SSD). I’m using this as my main computer, in addition to running Roon, and it’s been flawless so far. If you go for the mini I’d definitely recommend 16GB of RAM. You’d probably get away with 8 if you just run Roon and your library doesn’t get much larger, but at the mini isn’t upgradeable I think it makes sense to go for 16.
Thank you all for your comments. The price at NewEgg is very low. I had priced the same configuration on Amazon and came over $1000 - which is why the Mini looks very attractive.
Would anyone know if Roon is going to develop a native version for the M1? If so, any idea when this could be released? (I know they don’t pre-announce release dates - am looking for just an estimate on how long that process could take).
Roon runs very fast on the M1, I’m not sure what the gain would be for Roon to develop this while so many intel macs are still being used.