Roon Core on Mac Mini M1 better than NAS with an external SSD drive?

I have about 1.5 TB of music stored on Synology DS916+. The core is on a Samsung Evo SSD which I think is 128GB. This SSD is connected to the NAS through USB. While there is no issue playing music, the metadata loads a little slowly, as does adding any album etc. Would a Mac Mini M1 with 16GB memory speed all this up? And does the Mac Mini get connected to the NAS exactly the way the SSD drive is connected? How do MacMini and NAS talk to each other?

I have not used a NAS as a Roon Core, but I have previously used an older Mac Mini and it was very fast. Therefore, I imagine the Mac Mini M1 would be as fast or faster. I currently use an Intel NUC as my core.

In terms of the SSD drive, you could do it a couple different ways. You could keep it connected to your NAS and point the Mac Mini core there for your files, or you could plug in the SSD to the Mac Mini and point it locally to your files (If the Mac can’t read the SSD filesystem natively, there are a number of third-party software options that will allow it to be read. Or, you can reformat to an OS X compatible format and move your music back). I would imagine connected directly to the Mac Mini would be faster, or at least equal, but you could experiment with both.

I personally have usually used an SSD internally in my core for my Roon library, and this has worked well. I do have a NAS on my network but use that as a backup.

My Core currently resides on a dedicated Mac Mini i7 16GB, no issues whatsoever, speed is great. It’s hardwired to the same router as my NAS. Music directory on the NAS is set as a source in the Storage settings in Roon, that’s all you need to do to have the NAS and Roon Core communicate.

Updating the library when I add new music takes a few minutes but there’s no lag otherwise. I have 8 Roon endpoints with DSP settings for each, no issue running 2 or 3 concurrently as long as they’re streaming from my local library. Tidal however can be an issue when multiple streams are attempted.

I’m using a Mini M1 for other media, running Big Sur, again no issues though it’s not running 24/7 and just feeds video streams to 2 outputs. I’m sure the M1 is more than up to the task running Roon Core.

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Why? I assume this is your issue.

Your Synology isn’t a super fast processor but people are running Core on less. USB isn’t a great interface for low latency / high speed disk access. Your direct attached and RAID’d drives are probably a better fit for this even if they are not SSD.

But, yes, M1 will be faster but keep Core on the internal SSD not a USB attached drive.

Just to get more clarity, the way I have it set up, is what is recommended when you use the NAS. I followed the set up suggested by @crieke. If I am not wrong the setup guidelines recommend an external SSD for core; and that can only be connected through USB. So when you put up the core in the MacMini, and the storage is on the NAS, do we create any Roon folders etc. on the NAS or just point to the folder (available on the network)?

I think what you mean is exactly what @BCBC is suggesting. I just want to know the set up process of the NAS (storage) with MacMini (core).

See section on Adding Watched Folder Content Stored on a NAS.

But, basically, Roon supports attaching to SMB shares. Create a share on the NAS and point Roon at it.

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Set the directory on your NAS where the music is stored as a shared directory, then from the Settings menu in Roon, select Storage then Add Folder and choose the folder on the NAS.

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