Recommendation to increase performance?

Core: iMAC mini from 2014 i5 8GB 1600 DDR3 1 TB SATA
Roon: 1.7 build 500 (Core and Remotes)
Remote: iMacs and iPhones
Music Files: NAS on DS218 play Synology 8.8 TB capacity used
Library: 195429 Tracks / 17456 Albums
Speaker: Several Sonos Speaker and Lumin T1

My system is running slower day for day.
Now I reached the point where the performance (waiting time for searches and playback starting) is not longer tolerable for me.
I think it’s not (only) rooms fault.

Now I need a recommendation what I should change to get a real performance boost.
I know that my library is not small (and will be growing).

Is it to buy a new iMac mini with ssd?
Or some new NAS that runs the core and contains all the music files?

So what do you suggest I should to to dramatically increase performance.

Thanks for your help


Get a NUC and run ROCK, assuming it is not your network at fault, but a 2014 iMac Mini is probably a bit underpowered.


Assuming you mean a “Mac mini”. The new ones are pretty beefy, and an SSD will help, so yes, that should speed things up. Are you using TIDAL or Qubuz?

The important thing to do with performance improvements is to pin down what’s causing the bottleneck, and improve that. There are several possibilities: (1) your Core computer isn’t fast enough, (2) the link between your NAS and your Core computer isn’t fast enough, (3) the WAN connection to your home LAN isn’t fast enough (which will impact the speed of searches, apparently), (4) your NAS isn’t fast enough, and (5) your home LAN isn’t fast enough. Which of the two possibilities will speed things up depends on which of the five potential bottlenecks is slowing things down.

200’000 tracks is probably pushing it a bit for a 2014 Mac Mini.

One thing you can try is, assuming your drive is NOT a fusion drive, start by replacing the SATA drive by a SSD. This is a little bit involved, but it’s $150 for a TB. If it fails, you’re out a bit of time and $150.

The next stop is likely neither a new Mac Mini nor a new NAS. It’s getting a dedicated Roon machine.

Here again, it depends on how much you’re willing to spend, and how comfortable you are with a screwdriver. The easiest is getting a Nucleus from a local dealer.
I’ve broken the other passive options down here here, if you find better, please let others know. There’s also Small Green Computer, but their stuff, while really well supported, isn’t ROCK, so there’s always the (remote) possibility something might break at some point. One advantage of the HDPlex case is you can conceivably put a really big 3,5" drive into it, house your library there, and have your NAS back it up once a day or something.

If you want a NAS, a nice option, assuming again that you’re OK with building yourself, is UnRaid. Given the size of your library, you probably want at least a recent i5, if not i7, class processor, and that’s neither going to be cheap, especially if you buy pre-built, nor run run particularly cool. The advantage of UnRaid over FreeNas and others is that it spins down the drives it’s not reading or writing to, so that makes it both more energy efficient, and less noisy.
If you’d like something passive and silent there, you can probably have a-tech fabrication build it for you (their page is very outdated. Assuming dual parity, you could hold up to 28Tb of storage in one of those). This would not be cheap. but I haven’t heard of anything else quite like it.


Thanks to all for your recommendations.
You helped me a lot.

I am not really good with screwdrivers or checking out individual settings (like NUC with Rock). I want/need an easy to use solution.
It sounds to me that this will be the Nucleus (but a very expensive one).

I think my NAS (DS218 play Synology 8.8 TB) should not be the problem.
The NAS is directly connected to my core (Mac mini) via one Netgear switch (so that should also not be the problem.
I am using Qobuz (that information is for Bill).
All looks like a performance problem with my older Mac mini.

I do have some additional questions:
So when I buy a Nucleus now, will the music files still remain on the NAS (8,8 TB Music files)?
Is it easy to transfer the library, playlist, settings etc. from the Mac mini to the Nucleus?
Which nucleus model would you recommend to me (the expensive one or the very, very expensive one)

Yes, leave the music files on the NAS for the moment. That should be fine.

You’ll need to do a Roon backup on the old Mini to a thumb drive; take that drive over to the new machine; do a Roon restore from the thumb drive on the new machine. As for which Nucleus, look at the page on them. With a huge library, I’d get the big one.

You may want to get a new mini instead. You can use it for other things. The Nucleus is only about Roon. And you can get a pretty nice Mac mini for the price of a Nucleus+.

You’re well into Nucleus+ territory there, so “very, very expensive”.

If you’re not comfortable with building yourself, don’t need the dealer support or the home automation features, AND want something that’s silent, I’d go with either the PrimeComputer i7 NUC (so that’s a Nucleus+ equivalent) or an i7 NUC in an Akasa case from QuietPC, and use (a bit of) the rest of the money to get a 10Tb external USB drive.

If you don’t need it to be silent, get what’s suggested in “ROCK for large libraries” here.

There you go.

Number of tracks should not make a difference. Its not like Roon is continuously scanning them…besides you can throttle the library scan and have it function on the off hours.

upgrade your RAM to 16gb, then look for other processes running.

It does. There’s a reason to why RoonLabs suggests even more power than you can get from a Nucleus + for very, very large large libraries (i.e, 500’000+ tracks). See here for the full rundown.

The only reason it ‘could’ impact performance is due to the OS caching and continuously looking at the large library.

Consumer computers cache to increase the find speed. It works but there is a limit. Turn caching off, Mac does not need to cache, check or index the music…let Roon do that.

The more I think about it – you don’t want to tinker. Just get a new Mac Mini with the i7, 32GB of RAM, the 1 TB SSD, and the 10Gb Ethernet port. Should future-protect you quite well, Apple includes software to transfer everything from an old Mac to a new Mac, and you already know how to care for a Mac. Still cheaper than a Nucleus+.

Worth reading this:


I think you are right.
More power does always help.
But the described configuration cost more than 2.800 Euros.
I think a 500 GB SSD should be all right.
Thats makes it around 2.569 Euros.
Still a lot. I have to think.
But to manually change the bios to start a NUC with rock seems to be to much for my skill set.

It’s $2400 in the US.

How about a PC running Windows? Windows is the native environment for Roon, after all. Something like this:

Not true: the number of tracks affects the size of the database, and that is what Roon is normally working with and what affects the performance. The music files are not performance critical, either the quantity or size (samp,e rate).

1 Like

Hello Edward,

I just want to try to turn chaching off.
But how am I going to do that on. Mac (sorry but I tried already and didn’t find it.

Thanks Stefan

Hi Stefan

I Googled Mac Stop Cache

And I clicked the link in the first paragraph that said “Content types supported by content caching in macOS.”

Content types supported by the caching service

macOS includes built-in support for caching the following software.


  • macOS updates and Internet Recovery images (macOS 10.13.5 or later)
  • Apps and app updates from the Mac App Store
  • GarageBand downloadable content
  • iCloud data caching (photos and documents)
  • Apple Books content
  • Xcode downloadable components such as simulators (Xcode 10.2 or later)

If you don’t mind explaining, in which way does this apply to Stefan’s question, or Roon ?

Hello guys and thanks for all your support.
I have decided to try my own NUC Rock System.
It’s much cheaper than a new Apple Mac mini or Nucleus Solution.
Again thanks