I launched the Activity Monitor and looked both at the CPU % and amount of RAM used by RoonServer when I play music through one zone.
It uses as much as 17% of the CPU on occasion but is almost always in the 5%-6% range. Also, (again) running just one zone and doing almost no DSP, RoonServer uses less than 1GB of RAM, consistently about 770MB. So that’s great.
However, I almost always play music when I work and leave the Roon “remote” App running out of habit. By comparison, it’s a pig!! Just joking; however, it does consistently use about 20% of the CPU and a full 1GB of RAM.
I think that must be because Roon, very intelligently, uses a portable graphics gaming engine and library (Unity) as a portable environment for the Roon “remote” App user interface.
This gives the listener-user a very rich experience across a number of different OS’s and types of devices, but games are not known for being “lightweight” Apps and the use of Unity does incur some overhead, I am sure.
In any case, I decided to just “Quit” the remote App when I wasn’t actually selecting an album to play, and that gave me back almost all of the snappiness I thought I had lost because of RoonServer, which was wrong. Roon Radio helps a lot in cases like this, but there are also playlists, double albums, streaming Internet radio, etc.
It does make me think that, rather than getting a RoonServer-dedicated Mac mini, iMac, MacBook Pro, Nucleus[+], SGC i5, etc, picking up an iPad Mini and putting it on a stand on my desk by the Mac mini would be a great way to have a “dedicated Roon remote” to avoid the issue of running the remote App on the server machine all the time in case I feel like jumping from song to song.
I had an SGC i5 for a while, and it’s a very nice machine; but using my multipurpose Mac mini as a partial RoonServer machine does sound better (not that it’s a 100% fair comparison) and offers many advantages over a “headless” machine with no keyboard, mouse, monitor, or incremental backup software, particularly in paradoxical situations where I could not access the i5 via a browser because, say, the network card failed or the card’s driver crashed, and then I had to plug in a keyboard, mouse, and monitor and hope that I had remembered to make a manual backup to an external drive both before and after the last update, else Fed Ex the i5 to Vermont for $35 each direction to be “restored”.
While I can appreciate the elegance of having a Roon Nucleus, SGC i5, i7, etc, or an Innuous Zen sitting next to my Rega Io, it makes a lot more sense to me to get a nicely-equipped MacBook Pro 13 and use it to run almost nothing but RoonServer with an external USB drive (running Time Machine) and a hardwired Ethernet connection, sitting on the top shelf of my equipment stand with a DAC or preamp underneath it.
That’s what I did before I got the Mac mini, I just couldn’t afford two new computers and I needed to use my MacBook Pro 13 for something else. Even if you wanted to load Ubuntu onto said MacBook Pro and install RoonServer for Linux (!!!), you’d still have a keyboard, mouse, and monitor in an elegant package that you put on top of your component stand.