Roon on Mac mini 2014 possible?

Hello there

I’m considering putting Roon on a Mac mini 2014 (MacOS Sierra) for my parents. It has a HDD and I was wondering if it would be powerful enough to do upsampling at 192k.

It will not be connected via USB but instead, I want to use the digital out of the mini (audio inline out) to a Rotel RA-12, is it possible?

I used a Mac Mini 2014 as core for some time. No problems with upsampling. But when you use the optical out, it’s limited to 96 KHz sampling.

I’m using a 2012 Mac mini (2.5GHz i5) and upsample to DSD256. The Signal Path pop-up reports 3.6x processing speed, and the CPU utilisation sits at about 25% during playback. I’m only running RoonServer on the the Mac, no GUI (for that I use the iPad app).

I’d say the 2014 Mac mini (even the entry level 1.4GHz model, which is slightly less powerful than the 2012 i5) should be able to upsample to 192k, especially without GUI. Check that you have enough RAM, which sadly can’t be upgraded on the 2014 Mac mini.

You may struggle with a HDD for the library , Roon recommend an SSD

You can try if it struggle, try to boot your OS from an external SSD.
If you experiment Wifi dropping, like I do with the 2012 model, plug it to Ethernet port.

Ps. I never tried the optical out.

Others in this topic speak of optical output, but I think you are considered using the electrical line output (and the Mac’s DAC) … if so it will work but the AQ which I assume is important as you speak of upsamping will be mediocre at best.

The HDD is another weak area, be prepared to replace it with a SSD.

Doesn’t matter. The 2014 model is actually the last model you can replace the hard drive in yourself. You can add an SATA SSD or a PCI Express. There’s a lot of videos on YouTube showing how and the tools you need, you can buy cheap kits on Amazon.

Strictly Windows here so wasn’t sure , I always thought Apple hade the iron fist …

Depends on the model. In the 2014 you can’t replace the RAM, but you can the hard drive. In the later models, you can replace the RAM, but not the hard drive. In the new ones, you can’t replace anything.

I’m buying an M1 this month and just attaching an SSD to the back via Thunderbolt for storage. My OS and Roon will sit on the internal 256GB SSD. It costs about as much to buy a 2014 and replace the internals as it does to just get a brand new model and use my current Samsung T5 external SSD to store my library anyway. While I like the cleanliness of everything inside, it’ll be tucked away where it’s not noticeable and the peace of mind that comes with current gen hardware makes it worth it.

I tend to buy a big std tower PC with a high spec,wait til it dies and repeat, I have never got hung up on named brands . Power is more important to me as it doubles as my dev machine although I’m retired now

Well, we’re talking about Roon cores here, so not much power is needed, and since a lot of people keep them near their hi-fi, a small, sleek form factor is generally what they’re looking for. Thus the Mac mini being a popular choice.

I have a 2014 Mac mini with an 256GB internal SSD, running macOS Catalina, connected to my router via ethernet. No problems with upsampling up to 768k to a roon endpoint on the network.

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Whilst true for many users and I think does apply to OP in this topic … it should be qualified in that for large libraries, multiple zones and esp. if DSD upsampling is required then the resource required can be quite significant … SSD for the OS plus a fast CPUs and plenty of RAM would be in order.

I was referring to Mike buying high spec dev machines, which are probably a bit above what even a demanding Roon Core needs. I feel like the SSD req is pretty well known too. I don’t think anyone thought “Roon can run on whatever” was the takeaway. Especially if they read any other comments in the thread.

Hi John,

Totally understand that … for the majority of Roon users a Mac Mini (with SSD) would be a good option.

I originally ran my core on a Mac mini 2011 with a 128mb SSD and 8GB of RAM. I only used it with remote endpoints but it worked reasonably well. The primary issue I had with it was streaming 192/24 content from Qobuz, I ended up getting a lot of dropouts and playback failures, 96/24 content worked fine though. I did also have issues with resource utilization, over time Roon would end up taking up most of the CPU resources, even when nothing was playing. I had to restart Roon every week or two to clear that up.

My PC isn’t a dev spec per se, it’s nothing special just any old PC from our local shop , but top of their processors i7, 16 g ram rather than 8 bog std case and power supply etc. Absolutely cheap and cheerful. But thats all you need for dev , RAM and processor is important for the apps you use.

It depends entirely on what you use a PC for. Dedicated to media etc, Roon, Video etc still needs processor power, Roon is not kind to low speed processors, JRiver is a bit more sympathetic

A stand alone Roon only box is not that much different depending on how much upsampling DSP etc you use

Thanks everyone. Can I install it on MacOS Sierra, though?

Yes you can, but heed the SSD warning.

Alright… So I do have a MacMini 2014. You guys think I can run ROON from it? Whats the OS you guys are using?