Roon Nucleus verses Apple Mac Mini M1

I hope it does…what was that mini, ivy bridge? that 2012 was 7 or 8 chip generations ago. I know Apple is slow on keeping up to date but in a gap that large they should definitely show improvements!

Benchmark wise that little M1 should be, and is from all I’ve read, running roon with ease. Just hope you don’t outgrow it cause you can’t upgrade it. Lots of pros. Lots of cons too. Expected nothing less from Apple.

Well when they come out with newer silicon to replace my current M1 then I’ll use the M1 to replace my 2012 MAC mini (running Catalina) that they no longer support with Big Sir. Since current my Library is around 400GB I will still have plenty of room on a dedicated 1 TB SSD drive for a 70 yr old.

I am kind of interested in the Mac Mini M1 for the Roon Server, but I would wait for the 2nd or 3rd generation or maybe 1 or years. Right now, beware of some big-deal/showstopper issues (eg The M1 Mac write issue: What's going on with Apple's SSDs? | ZDNet).

Yeah, that’s a fun one… can’t just throw in a new drive. Lol

Can’t imagine how upset those Mac mini owners are. I mean, compared to purple everywhere and, God forbid, a serif font those Apple SSD issues are just laughably trivial. :rofl:

This is certainly NOT good news…I suggest you turn updates off if you are running an M1 Mac for your roon core.

Upcoming macOS 11.3 update may remove Rosetta 2 in some regions

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Sorry if this is not the place for this question, please advise appropriate forum if required.

Can someone talk me through what is involved with making an Apple Mac Min M1 your Roon core? I mean do you just set up the Apple Mac Mini normally and install Roon on top of the OS, like you would on any Apple Mac or MacBook. I saw something called “Rosetta 2” mentioned earlier in the thread, after Googling it I understand it is software that is required on a Mac Mini to run Intel-based apps. Having never owned a Mac Mini I thought I would just check and see if there are other optimizations that are required for Mac Mini M1 peak performance as a Roon Core. Thank you.


Rosetta2 is an emulator that allows Intel apps to run on the M1 Macs. There is nothing special you have to do, just launch the Roon app and it works. If rumors of Apple dropping Rosetta support in 11.3 are true, I’m sure (well I would hope) Roon will have a native ARM version of Roon available before then. Or you just stay on macOS 11.2 until then.

Nothing different than any other Roon setups except for waiting for Roon to release a native app for the M1 so it doesn’t rely on the Rosetta2 emulation.

The problem I find with any Macs is price tag jumps quickly. Keep in mind there is no adding on later. You need to purchase that machine for what you might consider doing later down the road, rather then what you can make do with for now with hopes to build on it later…to get more ram or a more internal drive space you have to buy a new one.
Silly Apples. :apple:

On the mini, once you add 200 bucks to double the ram to 16gb (which of all the add ons I’d get the RAM) and another 2, 4, or 8 hundred if you want more internal storage and that only gets you to 2tb max (waste of money) you’ve just spent a lot more money than you probably intended to for not a lot of product.
:woozy_face: :nauseated_face: :face_vomiting:

I’d say for a decent Roon build of an M1 Mac that for chuckles, you could put next to the nucleus plus, you’ll want the 16gb of RAM and an external enclosure for your storage. You can get an enclosure with the same footprint as the mini and 4tb of silent ssd storage. ~$1410

You could add a linear power supply to that and you’d still easily be under $2000.

Now if you could just get ROCK to work on an M1… or even Roon on Ubuntu M1 :crazy_face:


I run Roon Core on my M1 and it works great! But I run Roon Server on a dedicated Mac Mini. Also the on-board memory that Apple uses in its M1 is refereed to as “Unified Memory” not Random Access Memory…The whole system makes use of the UM differently than RAM works.

Overlooked the unified memory vs dram. But if it’s good with 8 of unified memory you just took 200 off the bill.

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I got 16GB “UM” on my M1 just cause I did not know any better…Speedy fast on all I do with it…Memory and storage has never been cheap with Apple. With these tiny SSD’s that are out now (1-2TB) it’s simple to increase storage without having to pay High prices. They connect with USB C to USB C… even works with an iPad!

Thank you very much @ffk !

So there is no loss in quality when a file is being “upsampled”? Sorry this boggles my mind a bit as I have always understood that to take a lower bit file and to change it to a higher bit file, be it images, audio or video, that the quality is always reduced as said file was not originally created at high resolution.

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This largely depends on the quality of the upsampling algorithm. If you’re inclined it’s an interesting area to read up on.

I was running Roon Server 1.8 on my old headles Mac Mini (Core Duo 2Ghz) early 2009 with 8Gb ram and a 250Gb internal SSD. My music collection, 37.000 tracks in Flac, are on a QNAP silent NAS hs-251 with 2 x 6Tb harddisk in raid 1 (mirror) configuration for safty. Roon connects over 1Gb UTP cable network to the NAS. No problem at all.

On the NAS i was also running Plex server for streaming (4K) movies to several devices.

Now the Roon Server AND the Plex server has moved to my new Mac Mini M1 headles (no mouse/keyboard/monitor attached) machine. This new Mac Mini has 8Gb ram and 256Gb SSD storage. The music is still on the NAS.

There is still 1,5Gb ram left for cache and there is no swap to the internal SSD.

Roon Server is streaming to my NAD M10 BlueOS device in the living room and to my Macbook Air M1 with an Arcam rPAC USB DAC attached to it in the office. Roon Server connects to Raspberry PI for music in the bathroom.

No hikups or problems here… so in my opinion the Mac Mini M1 rules!!!


I’ve been running Roon on an M1 Mac mini for several weeks now without any issues. Mac Big Sur automatically downloaded and installed Rosetta when I installed Roon which I thought was pretty good. The M1 Mac mini runs much cooler than it’s 2018 predecessor so I’m guessing is more efficient with memory and processor usage.


Thank you @Eddy_Schouten that is awesome to hear. I have Roon and Plex on a Synology 918+ at the moment. I am moving closer and closer to setting these 2 up on an Apple M1. Great to hear that the 8gb M1 is sufficient. Welcome to the Roon community. too

Hmmm. I have a mid 2011 mac mini, 16GB RAM, 4 TB USB external (85% full/120K tracks), and no problems. I was wondering about the M1 but curious what stopped working on Roon OS for you to have to change?

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Hi Bryan, I am considering this option too as I now have my DAC connected to the 2012 i7 MacMini.
Does the ‘split’ improve sound quality?
Thanks, Wouter