MacMini core slows down after a few days of use (memory foot print >10GB)

Core Machine (Operating system/System info/Roon build number)

MacMini (Late 2012)

Network Details (Including networking gear model/manufacturer and if on WiFi/Ethernet)

Roon cloud connection / local player network / wan connection (All 1Gbps wired / NO WiFi)

NAS connection (1Gbps wired)

Audio Devices (Specify what device you’re using and its connection type - USB/HDMI/etc.)

I am streaming Roon output to a SqueezeLite player.

Description Of Issue
I think this issue has something to do with my library size (around 640K tracks). It takes about 20 minutes for roon to come up. Once it comes up, its memory foot print is about 6GB (number next to “RoonServer” in the picture below. After a day or two of use, its size grows to more than 10GB. The whole system becomes exceedingly slow. The system starts to use swap file. I have to restart the roon or the system. Roon response is snappy right after reboot but it slowly becomes sluggish to the point where I have to reboot. Do you suspect a memory leak of some sort or is this a feature (to be improved, I hope)?

5 posts were split to a new topic: Roon - slow loading of files

Hi @shinyc,

I wouldn’t say the RAM usage is necessarily an issue, as unused RAM is wasted RAM, but you do have quite a large library here.

For large databases such as your, you must have an SSD installed for Roon to work properly, can you confirm if you have an SSD and which model/manufacturer it is?

When Roon is “coming up”, what exactly is happening? Are you stuck on the quote screen?

What exactly is “slow”, when clicking on an album it takes a while to load it? Is there playback issues? Perhaps a short video of this behavior would be helpful here.

Hi @noris,

Thank you for your kind and prompt reply. Hope you are coping well with coronavirus situation.

Once the memory foot prints reaches something large (>8GB), other apps slow down as well. Thanks for the link. I read the content and understand it but I am experiencing performance hit on other apps (for testing purpose). The machine is dedicated to roon core so the roon must be causing the slowness.

I am not using SSD type hdd. It is of spinning type. But I still wonder why several days of use slows down the machine in the presence of spinning type hdd. The machine is quite snappy during the 1st day of use. Besides, it is a lot of work to change hard disk in a macmini not to mention having to migrate a large roon database (I had a few scary experience doing that. And it takes really long time, migration, that is.).

I am seeing the famous jelly fish for 20 min.

Various symptoms:

  • Prolonged Jelly fish + “Loading album …”
  • Prolonged Jelly fish + “automatically detecting album” / “manually search for your album”
  • Only partial search results returned when queried for artist / album / composition
  • Start of music takes longer (even from locally stored contents)
  • Eventually music does not play at all

PS. I will get you a video clip once my machine matures to the slowness.

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Hi @shinyc,

Thanks, do post a video clip when you have a chance (preferably a clip that shows the exact local time + date the issue occurred at.

This is definitely going to be a limiting factor here. An SSD is highly suggested for even smaller libraries, and with a library of your size the performance would be impacted even further. Maybe it’s time to look into a faster Core overall? I would suggest checking out ROCK, more information can be found in ROCK: Getting Started.

I finally got around to do some work. I replaced the internal mac os mechanical drive with an external mac os ssd drive. roon app response time improved despite in the face of high memory usage. Memory usage is going literally off the roof (see pix below) though (still). Can you kindly look into this why roon is hogging on memory usage?

Hi, @noris,

Here are some updates.

My SSD based system eventually got slower too to the point that no more albums can be added to my library. My Qobuz library size is shrinking by itself. Response time got much slower for most of the operations. I have other complications like roon core keeps restarting, which is being helped by other support members of yours. Oh boy, things are getting scary.

Hi @shinyc,

It sounds like there could be some hardware issues at play here, have you by any chance tried running Roon Core on another PC yet?



I’ve experienced a similar slowdown and memory hogging on my similar vintage Apple hardware. Perhaps my experience can help.

After some research, I discovered my hard drive’s S.M.A.R.T. Status was failing. I didn’t have any data loss but when running applications other than Roon, I got the spinning beach ball.

Check the S.M.A.R.T. status of the drive using the ABOUT/OVERVIEW/SYSTEM REPORT… Storage

The status should read “Verified”

It’s very easy to clone the existing drive (SSD of course - speedy and cheap) and reinstall it.

I hope this helps. It took me months to find this solution.

Hi @dbtom2,

I checked the S.M.A.R.T. status of 2 internal drives(spinning types) on my mac mini and both of them read “verified”. BTW, I am using an external SSD to boot the machine and to keep all roon related files. This external SSD does not have S.M.A.R.T. status line. I am curious how an ailing hard disk can hog memory.

Hi @noris,

I have another mac mini (same vintage with lightly faster CPU and SSD). Let me wrestle with it and I will get back to you.

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So am I. But once I replaced the drive, that creeping memory issue disappeared.

Good luck.

Hi @dbtom2,

Upon your recommendation, I disconnected 2 internal HDDs (spinning type, that is) from my macmini and am booting the machine from an external SSD. To my surprise, roonserver’s memory usage got reduced. It used to get up to as high as 14GB but now it is hovering around 9 ~ 11GB. Unfortunately, the machine gets eventually slowed down. It just takes longer for it to happen. @noris I ran the same external SSD on a different macmini but with similar result. This new macmini has faster CPU (by 0.3Ghz) with its own internal SSD but I used the external SSD to boot the machine. My roonserver library is on the external SSD drive. I read a several threads with similar symptoms in the roon community and wish to know if this is a known issue.

Someone in the community directed me to the following quote:

There were many more findings against using 500K+ tracks in a roon library as far as the system performance is concerned. Conclusion was to use an extreme machine (>4Ghz) with 32GB memory, fast SSD, DAS rather than NAS etc. This translates into several thousand dollars not to mention having to provide a separate room to house a strong-fan cooled core machine for the acoustic isolation purpose. I was constantly asked to ditch the 8 year old machine and move forward. I drew a different conclusion. I scheduled an automatic daily shutdown/login job. My way of garbage collection. @noris, can you comment on such daily restart practice, anything I should be aware of?

Hi @shinyc,

Thanks for giving the Mac Mini a try. I spoke to QA regarding your report today and I have some feedback for you here:

Can you provide some more information regarding this? By “RoonServer library” do you mean just the music files or is the database itself on the drive? Are you using symlinks or something similar to link to the Roon database?

In another thread you had open (Backup failed at XX:XX:XX / Error backing up database), you mentioned that it was looking like the database might possibly be corrupted. Are you still using this same database or have you started with a fresh one?

If you try using a completely fresh database and add only TIDAL/Qobuz content to your library, are you still able to enter this state of high RAM usage or does it only occur when your 200k+ tracks are part of the database? To set up the fresh database:

  • Make a Backup of your current Roon Database
  • Exit out of Roon/RoonServer
  • Navigate to your Roon’s Database Location
  • Find the folder that says “Roon” or “RoonServer” depending on your install type
  • Rename the “Roon” folder to “Roon_old” or “RoonServer” to “RoonServer_old”
  • Reinstall the Roon App to generate a new Roon/RoonServer folder
  • Verify if the same usage pattern occurs

Sorry I meant the database, not the music library. I disconnected all the internal drives and solely using the external SSD USB drive to boot my macmini. No symlink tricks here. Macos allows us to boot from an external drive. I wish windows provide us with similar convenience.

At the time of roon database migration to a new drive, the latest backup I had in hand was three days old. So I tried the “Backup Now” but it failed. I then used the three days old backup to restore it to the new drive. That is the database I am using at the moment. I manually reconstruct the missing three day gap. As of today, I do not have issues with scheduled backup. I sent in the log for your troubleshooting and still waiting for your findings regarding the backup issue.

Per my last post (incl. CTO Brian’s post), I opted to reboot my machine daily (I scheduled a daily auto restart job) rather than upgrading to a more powerful machine. I still would like to know if you have anything against rebooting the machine daily. One caveat, roon fails to auto-login to either Tidal or Qobuz. I have to click the “retry to login” button, one for Tidal, one for Qobuz every morning.

Hi @shinyc,

Yes, we are aware of a few reports of this issue and QA has an active investigation into this behavior, but I don’t believe this aspect is related to the main issue at hand of the slowness, but rather the database size + hardware is.

Rebooting the machine should be fine as a troubleshooting step, although the better solution would be to have the proper hardware for a database of this size. Has the daily reboot helped with the issues so far?

Since the SSD is on the external drive, you may want to try using an internal SSD, as it would be faster in this respect as well.

Yes. I am still contemplating on spending $3k for a new (aka proper) machine plus another $2k for my labor (researching, procuring new hw parts, OS, sw, building hw, OS installation, buying new licenses for Audio Optimizer, Fidelizer, etc., roon DB migration, new power supply, new network card). I kinda doubt this hardware refresh would happen before my macmini gives in.

I might later in time. My USB3 SSD is pretty fast (to my surprise).

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I have a dedicated Late 2012 MAC Mini i7 2.6GHz 16 GB RAM 1TB SSD for my Library 1TB HDD for back up. My library is about .5TB of Music. It’s all controlled by my iPad. I do use a iMAC with Roon to load my Convolutions for Room Correction.

I am constantly amazed my how quick it is to select songs…milliseconds! I am blown away by folks who say they have 5-10 TB’s of Music…how can you possibly listen to that much music? Hell I forget what I own with a fraction of that quantity! I listen 2-3 hours/day.

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Acquisition becomes the driver I believe.