SSD is generally a very good idea with older machines. 2nd life oftentimes. Any fancy DSP processing inside Roon? Otherwise that should do ok. I ran Roon core on a late 2009 i5 iMac. Never any performance issues. Network is LAN?
This has nothing to do with the Mac mini; your connection is the issue there - mine is a Late 2012 model and it runs perfectly fine as a headless core. Besides, your mini ALREADY has a SSD - there is no need to upgrade it.
I’ve never once seen anyone write that they made a mistake walking away from a Mac mini as music source. Consider some of the machines that are available from audio manufacturers. Leave the mini to more artistic duties.
This looks like the standard spec for the entry level Mini at that time, but if so it would come with a 500GB 5400rpm HDD rather that an SSD. If that’s what you have it may explain your issue as Roon really needs to run on an SSD.
Maybe worth trying an SSD then. I guess you have to decide whether or not it’s worth spending more cash on an old machine, but as SSDs are much cheaper than they used to be it’s probably worth a try.
FWIW I have a MacBook Pro of the same age that came with an SSD, and it has no problem running Roon.
As said above - my even older (late 2009) iMac with a retrofitted SSD served reliably as Core. No issues whatsoever. Two rooms and even some DSP for a headphone. And another myth to bust: there is no such thing as an ‘audio’ PC / server. It’s only an option to spend more money and wait for marketing promises to happen magically. But hey …
Roon is a database which means it has quite a lot of background harddisk activity going on. This activity consist of many small reads and writes. Now that is exactly where an SSD is miles ahead of a magnetic hardrive. The seek times are up to a thousandfold faster than on a spinning disk. Besides that, read/write speed is about 100 times faster as well but it really is the seek times that makes the biggest difference. Spinning harddisks are the biggest bottleneck for any computer nowadays and should not be used anymore for any operating system or database purposes, they are fine for music storage though.
A MacMini is just a computer like any other computer nomatter if it is a Mac or a Windows machine, they are all the same essentially and 7 years is quite old for a computer especially considering this was an entry level machine at that time. Personally I would never buy a used one of that age to be honoust. The late 2014 machines are now on their latest OS update which means support will stop in two years and from there you won’t get any security patches anymore which makes this machine highly vulnurable when open to the internet, but you can allways install Windows10 or Linux on it offcoarse
My 2012 mini works great. (Originally spec’d as a work server, so it’s fairly beefy, but with an SSD you should be fine.)
Yeah, a dedicated music server would be an upgrade, but you’ve got the mini already, so I agree with the SSD upgrade (should be an easy, inexpensive DIY), and living with that for a while so you have a benchmark.
Then, if the itch needs scratching, look at a Nucleus or build a ROCK.
I guess here’s a question (sorry if I missed it), but are you using the Mini to STREAM also? Or is it just the Core? If it were me, to help the mini be more effective as your Roon server, I would use the mini only as the core, and then stream with something else. (Raspberry Pi running RoPieee is pretty amazing for peanuts.)
(Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast!)
I must respectfully disagree there but obviously it might not work out for everyone.
I can hear a decent difference with my Lumin T2 and Nuc with Rock compared to previous Dell win10 laptop and ultrarendu combo.
Yes it cost a decent amount of money more as well but I have zero issues ever and truly enjoy listening to my music through it.
However back to the ops original question.
I believe it would be worth investing in a SSD to at least bring the Mac up to Roon minimum requirements and give that a whirl before even thinking of anything more esoteric.