Mac Mini M1 vs. Synology NAS; Which is better to be Roon Core?

I have a Synology DS720, and I will get a Mac Mini M1.
I plan to choose one of them to install Roon Core.
I’d like to know which solution is better and why?


Welcome to the forum!

The CPU in this is an Intel Celeron J4125. This is below the recommended CPU specs for Roon which start with an i3. Its single-thread performance (most important for Roon) is approximately half of an i3 from 2019. I picked a random 8th generation i3, mobile version, for comparison,

The Celeron may work if you are not doing anything that is CPU intensive, but by using DSP or multiple zones you will more quickly run into limitations.

The M1 is fast and many people run the Core on it with very good results.

Edit: If you have local music files on the Synology, running Roon on the Synology has the slight advantage that the music storage is local. If you run it on the Mini, you have to set up a network share. However, that’s not big issue either. (Though it helps in this case if both the Mini and the Synology use wired ethernet, to avoid wifi issues. With some NAS models this might also mean that Roon cannot watch for new files in real time, but in the worst case you’d have to initiate a manual scan to make it see them)

Edit: You may also want to check out previous discussions about the Synology:

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Mac Mini. Although not ideal (ideal would be something dedicated like a NUC which you can set up and forget or) it’s better than the DS. Officially supported by Roon, less tricky (seems like lots of posts about Roon on NAS) and better control should you need to trouble shoot.

I’ve had Roon on a Mac and now use a NUC.

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There’s nothing at all wrong with the Synology approach if you have enough RAM. Max it out to 6GB and consider an external eSATA SSD drive for your database. The Synology is designed to be on 24/7 and has other benefits. You can use Audio Station/DS Audio alongside Roon and have access to your music collection if your internet goes out. And you can benefit from those tools’ abilities to create track-metadata-based playlists, which Roon lacks. See my other posts on here for more information.

The synology works flawlessly and also has several advantages. Multiple zones and upsampling in multiroom, no problem.

Expand the RAM and with SSD it will be a little smoother when the HDD has to start up.

DSD, 24 bit, no problem. There are already several explanations and inquiries about this.

And yes, it’s below Rooon’s recommended limits. I had an i3, i5, i7 and now everything is currently on the synology. Except that I have one device less, I don’t notice any differences. There are other construction sites.

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Also have a NAS with J4125. Running flawlessly for a very long time. Just add a SSD for the database for better search speed.

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I used to run Roon Core on my Synology DS218+ but performance was not acceptable due to weak CPU.
I went for a fanless NUC 8i5 with ROCK installed on separate SSD and my music lib on internal SSD. Performance is awesome…
However, I will upgrade my NAS from DS218+ to DS920+ within the next days and having read the reports here about the good performance of DS720+/920+ as Roon Core I will give it another try.
In a worst case I will just have a new NAS but if it really works excelelnt a s a Roon Core I might be able to reduce my “boxcount” at home by 1 and sell the great NUC.
I am keeping a backlup of my entire music lib at the NAS anyhow so I will be able to compere both Roos Cores for a while before making a final decision.

Completed upgrate from DS218+ to 920+ (with RAM upgrade from 4GB to 20GB) last night. I kept my 2 x 12TB HDD’s so migration was very easy and took about 30 minutes only.

Also installed RoonServer on DS920+ (
Performance of the Roon Core on DS920+ is excellent sofar (CPU usage never went above 50% even when scanning my 100k music library.
The funny thing:
Until a moment ago I was under the impression that I had installed - as per Roon recommendation - the RoonServer files on an external SDD attached via USB to the DS920+.
However, the RoonServer directory is actually on the 12TB HDD :thinking:
Bearing this in mind the performance is really great
Will reinstall RoonServer now, this time on the SDD…

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Putting the Roon database on an SSD is Roon’s recommended approach, and I am sure it has advantages on a PC-based system. On the other hand, depending on your usage pattern, you could install M.2 caches in the Synology box, and the entire Roon database will end up there, with even better access times than on a USB drive.

I have a few more months of ripping before I get to 100K tracks but with >30K response times are excellent (1522 rather than 920 though) and it’s not even filling up the cache.

If you have something else using Synology for random file access it may not work out as well (Roon’s cache will eventually get evicted) but if not, I personally would rather use an external USB drive for backups of music (and Roon database).

I started on my DS918+ without an eSATA SSD, and I can’t say that it was much, if any, slower than the SSD is. It was super fast. But it cost so little to move to the SSD, I decided I wasn’t going to risk having support issues, so I did it.