Roon uses up to 217 % CPU - Please help [Solved, Library size, Core and WiFi]

Hi all, and @support specifically, I’ve been — and still am — enjoying Roon enormously. So much so that I’ve purchased a Lifetime Membership.

The only thing is… it is soooo extremely slow in my case, I just don’t understand it. A simple ‘search’ (for an album or artist) takes up 105 % CPU. A simple ‘next’ while playing an album eats up 217 % CPU! Even when doing nothing but playing (yes, when the spinner is not spinning) Roon goes from the minimum of 9 - 25 % CPU to 60 % CPU. As a consequence of this, music hangs and/or skips very often, which makes for a frustrating listening experience.

I have imported over 14k albums (271k tracks). I run Roon on a late 2012 Mac Mini, 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7, Quad Core and with 10 GB RAM. MacOS Sierra and Roon (full version with GUI and database) both run from SSD. Roon (last version) runs in exclusive mode, DAC is a Chord Mojo, music files are on a WD My Book (8 TB). When I listen to music, I don’t run any other apps, so they can’t be the cause of Roon running wild. Also, I often reboot the Mac before starting a listening session, but this doesn’t help.

I thought the solution might be, to move the i7 Mac Mini upstairs (to my office) and run Roon Server on it, move my older Mac Mini downstairs, run Roon Bridge on it and connect both Macs via ethernet. I’ve read that splitting the GUI improves the performance. However, in order to do so, I have to go through some trouble (buying an iPad as a remote and drilling a hole in the ceiling for the ethernet cable). I am willing to do so (my wife not yet), but have already invested considerably for Roon and am now hesitant whether or not this WILL work, more specifically, if it WILL dramatically improve performance. I am still of the opinion that Roon shouldn’t take up so much CPU on my i7 in the first place.

As you probably will have guessed by now, I’m far from a techie, so hope someone can help, because this is getting really frustrating and in the way of my listening experience.

By the way, I also run Roon in my office upstairs via wifi, as a remote on a mid 2010 Mac Mini, 2,4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 5 GB RAM and SSD. However, I never use the two Mac Minis to play simultaneously and shut the upstairs Mac Mini down whenever I listen downstairs, so this cannot cause the delay.

Assuming you have enough space on the SSD of your QC MacMini, can you copy say 20-40 Albums across to the SSD??

Then go into Settings —> Storage —> and Disable the Watched Folder that currently points to the networked WD

Within the same Tab, add a Watched folder that points at the Folder where you just copied the 20-40 albums above to your SSD

Now try playing music and clicking next and the other tests above that result in high processor usage

Long story short, you shouldn’t have any performance problems with your QC MacMini and 10Gb Ram…I run a larger library on an older Mac without issue

Did you also have these issues when using El Capitan 10.11 on you Mac??..or have they only appeared recently??

Hi Ronnie, thanks for your detailed reply and suggestions. I will try these out tomorrow and let you know. I do struggle a bit though in understanding how the SSD test could help solving the issues. Testing a few albums on SSD is likely to improve speed, but I can’t afford 8 TB of music on SSD. But as I said, I’m not a techie so perhaps am missing something :wink:

The problems also existed on El Capitan, although I’m not 100% sure if they were as big as they are now (never measured CPU usage then but did notice the same issues mentioned above).

I would describe it as a “process of elimination”

Basically, my suspicion is that there may a network connectivity issue to your WD…and doing this test brings everything [Roon Database and Music Files] within the Mac itself…with no dependency on network path for music files

The results you observe will help point the way as to what to try next…and the best way to resolve connectivity to the WD, if that is what turns out to be the issue…[I think we all know 8Tb of SSD is not the answer, at least not in 2017 :wink: ]

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I should add that it may also point us in another direction…i.e. if this test then shows us the same high processor usage issues, it likely means that there is something wrong with the Roon installation itself…and that deleting and reinstalling the App and/or Database may be a worthwhile step

Long story short…the Mac-mini specs are more than fine to have a very smooth Roon experience…so the job remains to find out what the true culprit is

I see, I get it now and will try, thanks once again for your clarification!

Hi @Ronnie ,

I did some testing, and the results were stunning to say the least. I disabled my drives and added 45 albums to the internal SSD, different in size and quality (from redbook to DSD).

Initially, when scanning the albums (after adding, with the spinner spinning), Roon still needed 165 % CPU and was still skipping. But once the spinning was finished, Roon ran very smoothly. It then only used between 8 % and 14 % CPU. No skipping whatsoever. Pressing ‘Next’ in an album responds normally: quick and without hanging or skipping. Search is now fast, like with other apps (Spotify etc). In my usual setup, it takes minutes. Fast forwarding in a song is now also responsive, instead of hanging for 30 seconds or more. This is the way it’s supposed to feel! Roon is now in every way quick and responsive, like new software should, instead of feeling like an old relic from the 90s.

This can mean several things. There could be something wrong between the usb from my Mac Mini and the WD HDD, as you suggested, but it can also be the simple fact that I now have a 45 album SSD library instead of a 14k album HDD library. Although I think I have read that people have a 50k album library without any problems. Hoped it would point to the possibility of an incorrect Roon installation, so it would be solved quickly. But following your thoughts, that seems very unlikely now. What would you suggest trying next?

EDIT: I am even playing downstairs and upstairs (over wifi) now without any problem, Roon being equally responsive upstairs. Hope it can be this way with my full 8 TB library…

I understood that it was an Ethernet connection to your WD 8Tb drive…but you’re saying it’s USB connected DIRECTLY to the Mac??..any possibility’s it’s connected thru a USB Hub??

Can you try connecting with a different USB Cable??..also try connecting to a different USB Port on the Mac

Do you have a small portable or just different USB drive that you could run a test with??

@vova : Could you arrange to collect the Roon Logs from Koen in relation to these issues, to see what they point to when Roon starts acting as indicated above??..Thanks

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Hi @Ronnie ,

Sorry for any confusion caused — I was planning to connect the Mac Mini upstairs via ethernet. However, currently I use the Mac upstairs only over wifi. The WD 8TB drive is connected directly to the Mac Mini downstairs via USB (no USB Hub).

So… I have done some testing. I tried a different USB port on the Mac and also tried a different USB cable.

While scanning the re-enabled WD 8TB, Roon initially scared the hell out of me: it took 315 % CPU. But after finishing the spinning, it responded quickly and since then I experienced no more hanging or skipping! A ‘search’ still takes up to 115 % CPU, but without the hanging or skipping. Plus, Roon is now down to an average of 10 to 25 % CPU. I even play downstairs and upstairs (the latter still over wifi :wink:) simultaneously without any problem.

Seems like:

  1. The WD 8TB drive and/or its USB cable is the problem, not Roon or my Mac Mini :relieved:
  2. I owe you a BIG thank you! :smiley:

I will monitor Roon’s behavior intensively the next days. As I said above, ‘search’ still takes a long time. Would there be any gain in replacing the USB and/or power cables from the WD 8TB HDD, and/or purchase a more expensive power bar / strip, e.g. a Kemp Electronics?

Once again, a big thanks for helping me out! Never would have guessed the problem/cause/solution could be this simple… :blush:

Glad to hear you’re making progress

Can you clarify EXACTLY what you mean by “Search”…what device do you use for Search??..what Icon do you click on??..what would be a typical Search for you??

On the Mac Mini, can you open the Albums Browser, with “Sort by Artist” in top right hand corner

Click Focus and enter “Dylan” as shorthand for Bob Dylan [or any other Artist who you have a reasonable number of Albums of]

First of all…quickly type “Dylan” and see how quickly the list of Albums in the dimmed background filters down to the Dylan selection

Second of all, type Dylan slowly and see how Roon filters the Albums quickly based on each character as you type

In each case, Roon should almost immediately filter the list…if it doesn’t let us know

Last question for now…have you done a lot of grooming on your Library??..or have you left it more or less as identified by the Roon ID Algorithms??

Hi @Ronnie, by ‘search’ I mean a search query for an artist or album. I always use the magnifying glass for it, but it’s terribly slow. And then I really mean t e r r i b l y slow. Auto complete isn’t even an option, because if I wait for Roon to auto complete I can prepare a meal :wink:.

But… The option you suggested (via Album view and then Focus) works like a charm! In both your suggested ways, Roon shows immediate results. I must say though, that I find it strange. The magnifying glass is immediately visible and quickly selected, so this is an obvious first choice. The Album view and Focus option is a bit hidden in the menu and consequently requires more clicks, whereas essentially for me it is the only option that works.

Is my magnifying glass the only one that is not working properly? Because the way it works now, I would suggest replacing the (functionality of the) magnifying glass with a direct Album Focus button.

As far as grooming is concerned: in percentages, I haven’t done a lot of it to my library, as most of the blues, jazz, pop, rock and world are correctly identified by Roon. But in numbers, there are a lot of albums I have groomed, as Roon still has difficulties identifying classical music. I happen to have a lot of that, some ‘albums’ (box sets) adding up to 200 or even 240 cd’s.

Does grooming slow down the performace of Roon? If so, could you perhaps be more specific as to what kind(s) of grooming does and what doesn’t? And will this be automatically solved by Roon 1.3 or do I have to undo all the grooming, finding out by trial and error what works and what doesn’t? (I can understand if you cannot answer any 1.3 related questions, just trying :wink:).

Hi Koen
First of all, I don’t work for Roon…just a regular Roon user, who tries to offer a helping hand from time to time

Second of all, any previous Grooming should not have any impact on Search performance…I was asking the question so that I could fully understand the implications of perhaps rebuilding your Roon Database from scratch, to see if that was the problem

Thirdly, it’s important to understand how Roon works…the Roon app points at your Music folders & files and then builds its own Database and stores that on, in your case, a QC i7 with SSD and 10Gb of RAM…the only time when the USB connected WD gets accessed after that is when you choose a Track or Album to play

Before I go any further, can you tell me what device you use for Browsing Roon and selecting music etc…is it the same Mac Mini i7 as described above??..and if so, what screen is it connected to etc. and also is it a keyboard / mouse / trackpad that you use??

Sorry for all the questions…but I’d like to understand how YOU use typically use Roon before making suggestions

Another question…when you click on the Search icon and the text input box comes up and you fill in say 3-4 characters…does Roon IMMEDIATELY populate the options as it does it the screenshot below??

As you can see, I’ve only typed in “Colt”…but Roon is now offering me two Artists with Colt in the name…as well as Album Names…[and Track names if there were there]…as well as a few other categories

So, my question is…does your Roon app immediately produce these options??

Hi @Ronnie, no worries, I really appreciate your help so I gladly answer all your questions.

Indeed I use the same Mac Mini i7 for browsing, selecting etcetera. I use an Apple Magic Keyboard and an Apple Magic Trackpad (bluetooth, both first generation).

The screen connected to the i7 is a Sony flatscreen TV, 1920 x 1080 @ 60Hz (1080i). I think it’s around 10 years old by now. This is a compromise: our iPad and iPhones are too old to support Roon, so I’m saving up for a new one, but that could take a while, as I’ve already invested quite a bit in my recent transition from cd’s only to digitised/computer only.

To answer your last question: when I use the Search icon and type in whatever (part of a) name, Roon needs at least 30 seconds to a minute to produce some suggestions. That’s what I meant by sufficient time to prepare a meal (granted, a very quick and basic one :wink:). I really wish Roon did this immediately, because this way is quicker than the Album view / Focus option from the menu. Please let me know if you need me to provide any more details!

My “default” view when using Roon is the Album browser screen…and even if I close Roon, then Roon will reopen to that screen upon restart

Do you know that

  1. When in the Album Browser, typing the first few characters of the Artist Name [assuming sorted by Artist] will bring you to that Artist’s Albums??..e.g. "Mile’ will bring you very near or at Miles Davis’ albums…‘Herb’ to Herbert von Karajan…‘Bru’ to Bruce Springsteen etc., etc

  2. You can do the same as above by Sorting by Album Title [top right hand corner] and typing the first few characters of the Album title

@mike @Eric

Hi Guys
Could you take a look at the thread above and offer any advice

As you can see, Koen’s Search appears to have an issue offering quick suggestions when he clicks on the Search icon…taking about 30 seconds to offer suggestions, and the Search results screen taking even longer

My next possible suggestion to Koen is that he rebuilds his Roon Database to see if that gets rid of the Search lethargy…but he has done some Grooming on about 250 Albums to date…and I am wondering if there is a way to “re-build” the Database Indices, without nuking the Roon database and starting from scratch again

Any suggestions welcome??

Hi Koen
You ask above about buying new power cables or power strip for the WD Drive…but I don’t believe these will help your issue in any way

However, there is something that may help…you say that your Mac Mini has 10Gb RAM…and that Mac has two SODIM slots…meaning that you likely have a 2Gb and 8Gb modules

It’s probably my history in the IT world, where for the longest time, PC manufacturers recommended matched pairs of Memory modules…so I might suggest that a second 8Gb Ram module might be a worthwhile investment

You have a relatively large library, so having 16Gb isn’t going to go astray in the long term…and there is a remote possibility that memory mismatching might be contributing to your problem…these 8Gb are relatively cheap in the overall scheme of things and is something to consider once we work out the issue that is causing the slow search response at the moment

@Ronnie, at first I was happy with your suggestion to make the Album browser screen the default screen. I felt silly I didn’t know this was possible, thought the Overview screen (“Hello Koen”) was the only default but guess I always go to it without thinking.

But then… after I tried out your suggestions there, I wanted to check if it was really remembered as a default. So I closed and restarted Roon. And gone was the new speed, back was the unresponsiveness. Loading an album, start playing it, restart playing it, pressing next: back were the delays in response… I waited until the spinning wheel was finished, perhaps Roon had to recover from my new default screen decision. But the unresponsiveness remained. I repeated this (closing and restarting Roon, giving it time to finish the spinning wheel), but the problem remains.

Seems like there still is another, bigger problem in my version of Roon or, as you suggest, my database. Really hope I won’t have to lose all my grooming, because this goes for MUCH more than 250 albums (that number referred to the size of many classical albums…).

This brings up the following question (more for @mike or @Eric): if I have to redo all my grooming once, who can guarantee I won’t have to do this ten times or more in the future? That’s not making my music more accessible compared to my cd’s, that’s just providing me with a lot of work, severely undermining my listening experience. Really hope you guys can help me out!

@Ronnie, once again many thanks for all your help!

Thanks Ronnie, that sounds like a sensible idea and investment. I indeed have a 2Gb and a 8GB module, so definitely will consider a second 8GB module.