New to Roon, Mac Mini or NUC

I am new to roon, looking to move on from JRiver. I want to buy either a Mac mini M1 1 TB ssd or a NUC with 256 GB ssd and 1TB ssd. I want to run in the OS so that I can also stream other sources. Also I want to plug hdmi from the computer directly into my receiver (this is the only sound system in the house) I think this called Roon core)?

  1. If I get the Mac Mini M1, can I load my 500 GB 30k library onto the 1 TB hard drive with Roon core? Or will performance suffer? The NUC has separate hard drives so I’m wondering if that is preferable.
  2. Do I need a keyboard and mouse with the Mac Mini M1 or can I control from an ipad?
  3. If not running ROCK is one preferred over the other?
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Not sure if there is a definitive answer here. I’m sure you’ll get warring opinions, but my 2 cents would push towards the NUC, running ROCK

Not for sound quality reasons - I started out this journey running Roon on a Mac laptop and was quite happy with the sound quality - but for ease.

ROCK just vanishes into your system. It stays updated, running headless attached to your network and is purpose built to run Roon. There’s a web interface if you need to reboot the system, but I have rarely needed to do anything to keep things running smoothly.

If you need a home server to run other things in parallel like Plex etc then the Mac might be a good solution, but if you are just looking for something to run Roon exclusively, the nuc has run trouble-free for me for over a year now.

You can operate your Mac from your iPad using a number of Remote Desktop apps. I’ve had success with this one:

If you aren’t going to be running ROCK, then it just becomes an operating system decision. Are you Linux savvy or will you need to run Windows on the nuc? If you are a Mac user already, the jump to Linux or Windows may just add undo frustration depending on your familiarity with the different OSs.
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The m1 mini I had had some issues with hdmi doing hires and multichannel audio that I could not get resolved with apples help. You do get a 14 day no questions asked return option if you but direct form an apple shop or online apple shop

Not referring to iOS devices, but other than those are you deep into the Apple eco-system?

If not, then use an Intel NUC. Either an i5 or i7 with 16GB (memory is cheap, right now).

A short unit will only allow an M.2. To mount both an M.2 and an SSD you’ll need a tall unit.

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Thanks. Not a Mac user but I had heard that Mac hardware was more reliable. But I don’t know how true this is. I code on a Linux box, but I hate being an admin.

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Thanks. Did you ever find out the multichannel issue.

Nope…I returned it…as 8GB wasn’t enough RAM for my Roon use either and the BT issues were still an issue for use as a desktop replacement for MBP

1st Gen hardware is often like this, but apple usually fixes it, but I couldn’t wait this time.

I am deep into the apple ecosystem in my house and I STILL went with a NUC and ROCK. You pay a lot of money for a mini and if you are just running the roon core on it, it’s really a waste of a lot of engineering and horsepower. Plus the core is running on emulation on the M1, so there may be issues there.

Do you want another machine to update, backup and generally feed and water? I did not, and bought a NUC and put ROCK on it. Now it’s Roons job to feed and water it.

I’m saying this as someone who has 45 devices on my network (Unifi access points and switches, and a protectli firewall/router running untangle), and isn’t afraid of IT and sysadmin.


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“I want to run in the OS so that I can also stream other sources.”

Don’t discount Windows. NUC or a Lenovo tiny PC with Windows already on it (saves a bunch on the Windows license).

Thank you all for your help. I was about to pull the trigger on a NUC 10 i7. But then I read a review that said the fan was loud. Is that true from experience?

Loud and I like the gen 8 processor better.

Are you saying the gen 8 is quieter? Or just a better processor?

Have you considered going fanless with a NUC?