What Mac Mini will suit me (and Roon core)?


I’m new i’n here and i got really interested in Roon.
Not having the biggest cd-collection, but with around 400 cd’s its to big for the living room (according to my wife :wink: ) so at the moment its stored on a Synology DS112+ and i’m streaming it with a Bluesound node 2.
But i i’m thinking to take my streaming to the next level, new dac behind the Node, maybe a new streamer but first a dedicated music file server. I’m aiming on a Mac Mini but there comes in my questions… What Mac Mini will suit me (and Roon core)? The one that ticks all boxes is the 2010 model.

Tick 1:
It has a cd-rom player so i can rip my cd’s with it.
But wil it suit my requirements for playing my ripped cd on a high-end way, i don’t want to play highres music, i like to buy cd’s and play them on the easy way. The main way to listen to the music will stay on my turntable

Tick 2:
The secondhand price is reasonable here in Holland i can get it around 200 euro.

Tick 3:
It’s very upgradable so i can put 8GB ram in it, with a 120GB SSD, just for the software. Then a large external 1TB SSD for the files.

I hope you guys can help me out.
Not looking for the best solution but one that will fit me with at less money to invest at first (if i really like it i can buy the best solution.

Thanks in advance.
Best regards,

I’m not sure how much time you’ve left to spend with an 8 year old computer. And if you want it to use with its native OS you will not get updates for it anymore - Mojave requires a late 2012 model. Seems not like such a good idea for a device that will be connected to the internet - as is at least occasionally required for a Roon core.

Not sure how the use of a rather outdated device which is out of regular OS support will impact the experience you’re trying to get. If you’re willing to invest in parts upgrades anyway going the NUC way / using ROCK may be an interesting option.

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I can’t really see an 8 year old Mac mini making you happy for very long either. I would recommend a 2012 model (expanding the ram, perhaps upgrading the HD to an SSD) and buying an external USB cd-rom for ripping.

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I ran Roon no problem on my 2009 MacBook Pro running El Capitain (a 2015 OS) I could even play DSD and use DSP with it. It also ran 2 zones at once… no problem.

The 2010 Mac Mini can run High Sierra, which is a couple of generations newer (2017).

I would say you’d have no problems running Roon, especially with your use case of mainly CD quality rips. You can try it for fairly low outlay.

I currently use a 2012 Mac mini as I wanted to build up a HTPC with it and free up my MBP. It has absolutely no problem doing anything required of it.

With 3 zones running Hi-res and DSP, it barely breaks a sweat.

If you can afford the 2012 quad-core, get it, but you’ll be perfectly fine with a 2010 with an SSD in my humble opinion.

Mac mini’s and the OS’s they support can be found here :- https://eshop.macsales.com/guides/Mac_OS_X_Compatibility


@Gerrald_Kroon If you have another way to rip CD’s, then a NUC 7i5 (or better) running Rock is IMO the best way to go if you want a “dedicated streamer”. They are very simple to put together, and maintain. The Mac Mini route is better if you’re intending to also use it for other tasks, and not dedicated to Roon.

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Thank you all for the replies.
The reason that the mini was my first choice is because i don’t like anything from windows (sorry for that :wink: ) but @mikeb you talked about Rock and that opened my eyes!
A OS specially for Roon, that must be the best option.
So the search continues a NUC it must be… but… help… what is the difference from a 7i5 and a 6i5 and is a 6i7 a better choice then a 7i5 and i saw the 8 series, is that one even more better??

And what is the difference of a 2,5" SSD and a M.2 SSD and what is better for only the OS?

Men all those questions i must be a noob :slight_smile:

Hi Gerrald,

I have a Mac mini 2010 (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.66 GHz) running Roon Core. Installed a 2 TB Samsung SSD to store also my music files on and 8GB of Ram. Really perfect solution as long as you don’t activate upsampling or DSP calculation on it. Library is about 3000 Albums (2500 local and 500 Tidal) and the interface is smooth on my iPad. Roon-Endpoint is a Auralic Vega G2

There are several threads, plus the Roon Knowledge Base has a lot of great information on setting up a NUC and insatalling ROCK: https://kb.roonlabs.com/ROCK:_Getting_Started

To answer your questions: a NUC7i5BNH, 8GB RAM, and a 128GB M2 SSD is a good choice. The M2 SSD is dedicated to the OS and database, and an optional 2,5“ SSD can be fitted for your music storage.

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