Roon on M1 Mac Mini runs great

MacOS 11.0.1/M1 Mac Mini

Just writing to confirm that after the 11.0.1 upgrade, Roon is working fine. Performance is great with Roon using around 10% of one core while emulating x86_64 and serving a single endpoint. Plenty of headroom. I got a 16G version, but Roon is using 1.5G. I expect that would decrease once fully native.


Is that with DSP? FLAC or DSD? Bitrate?

Will you be posting comparison metrics for the M1 as compared to an intel mac? Specifically, is 16 GB of memory on an intel mac the same as 16GB for an M1 mac? Or is a memory upgrade advisable for an M1. My Roon consumes 2 GB of memory and I booted last week. I have a 2018 Mac Mini 16GB.

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Sadly the Mini’s HDMI only supports 96Khz sample rates but I don’t think that is news to anyone. I’m going to plug in a USB DAC in a bit but I have no expectation there will be an issue. I can’t compare to a previous Mini as I have not run Roon on my old 2011 Mini. I would not expect it to run well there.

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Let’s be fair and compare my Mini M1 with a modern mac (2019 MBP 16” i9 @ 2.3Ghz). Both are “8” cores, but 4 of the Mini ones are low power. Also when folk start making use of CoreML things could get even more interesting.

Mini. Pro
1301. 955. Single core Intel
1746. - Single Core Native
6024. 6910 Multi core Intel
7642. - Multi Core Native

The MacBook Pro gets a lot hotter reaching those numbers. To be fair, my work has a bunch of stuff permanently running on that MBP so a clean Mac might be quicker

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Unified RAM means the same RAM is used for display and processing. You generally aren’t maxing both out but it probably isn’t an even split usually so it should outperform an 8Gb at all times, but in many cases it will perform almost as well as a 16Gb. Performance 2D tasks should be straight up better.

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I’m thinking that part of the M1 secret sauce is not only the fast unified memory but the really fast SSD on the same “fabric”. Combined with ultra fast compression/decompression in silicon, it makes applications run well in 8 GB ram machines that would have no business doing this well on other platforms.

These machines are also PCI 4.0 but it may not even be involved in the SSD.

Don’t hold your breath for too long. Roon’s apps are based on a cross platform framework (probably Qt). That framework must be updated first, then Roon can tweak their app on top of that to take full advantage of the M1. My guess is you’re looking at the first half of 2022 for full M1 compatibility – best case scenario (unless Roon ditches their cross platform strategy and starts writing fully native apps from scratch for Mac/Win/iOS/etc).

What do you mean for pcie 4.0? To my knowledge, the new Mac does not support any external pcie device.

I believe the SSD is just a separate chip, nothing really special. I think the secret sauce here is just M1’s raw performance and the unified memory, and Apple did a pretty good job on Rosetta 2 .

PCI is part of these machines as they have been in previous Intel Macs. Thunderbolt is a PCI technology where PCI is extended on a serial connection versus an expansion card. This is why eGPUs have worked before (well, at least in Intel machines).

Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw out in the future some kind of Apple designed bus powered eGPU box that plugs into a Thunderbolt port using the same tech that Apple uses inside the M1…just with more cores and using a lot less power.

Both my minis support 192Khz. Check the settings on your M1

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Roon’s apps are based on a cross platform framework (probably Qt).

Edit: removed most os my post in which I speculated roon is built on top of Electron/JS

As the post following mine clarifies: it is actually mono (dot net based runtime).

This here can stay:
But looking at the pace of innovation of Roon for the past 2 years… who knows when they will care to convert.

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It’s based on mono Roon migrating to .NET Core 2.0 and banishing Mono?

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OK I’ve had some success and some failure. First the success. Having connected to my receiver via HDMI, It now shows me 48KHz, 192KHz and 768KHz. The old Windows Machine topped out at 192. The bad news is that I cannot set to Exclusive Audio and so everything really tops out at 48KHz. This could be a Big Sur/kextless issue or it could be an M1 specific issue.

I can switch exclusive on, but when I do, it reports Audio device in use and play moves to the next track which reports the same and you have to try to hit pause before it starts the next track or it will go on until the end of the playlist.

You mean the receiver showing you 768kHz over HDMI? I don’t think HDMI audio is capable of that.

If you meant Roon showing 768kHz, then the OS mixer outputs 48kHz in non-exclusive mode, the downsampling makes sense to me.

And if you use a Roon Ready player or Roon Bridge over network, you don’t need exclusive mode.

Any official word from Roon when native M1 support can be available?

I have a late model 2012 Mac mini and it runs like a champ. Never had one crash and it has 16 gigs of RAM with an SSD. By extension, the new M1 chip w 16 gb should be PLENTY.

It is possible it will be a while, if the application depends on 32bit code, it won’t be ported any time soon as Apple have ceased their support for 32bit code in newer MacOS Releases. Mono itself can be ported to native M1 and I have run various Mono tests, apart from Forms which requires 32 bit code.

Audio does seem a bit different though. My HDMI is showing up to 8 channels (7.1) of 16-24bit 48KHz Integer audio (in Audio/Midi Setup) or alternatively Encoded digital streams up to 768KHz. Which probably means that if it is correctly formatted, Roon could send any supported bitstream eg. DSD or DTS. Unfortunately 24bit 48Khz audio is all which is coming out at the moment, no matter the source. It still sounds fine, but it’d be nice if I can get the 192KHz Stereo I could get in Windows. Despite setting system audio to speakers instead of HDMI, I am still unable to get exclusive audio playing. HDMI 2 is capable of 1536KHz and up to 32 channels. I don’t know if any of us know fully what the M1 HDMI is capable of or how that is supposed to be harnessed under Big Sur

I am still considering a Mac mini but 192K 24bit would be essential for me

Hope that this hints that it’ll be sooner than first half of 2022.

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