When will my Mac mini be obsolete for Roon?


There’s just to many variables and unknowns to predict an obsolescence date … but like many things it will be reality one day.

If you’re happy with current performance etc. I’d hold off upgrading right now and just have a rainyday fund ready for when that day comes.

Out of curiosity, what’s the background to your question?

One thing I’d recommend to keep an eye on regardless of the state of Roon support for the OS: will your system get (critical) security updates? Once this support ends you should probably not let the system connect to the internet any longer. And that would then limit it’s usability as a Roon core machine…

… or you then try to install an alternative OS on the Mac mini. I guess some linux like Ubuntu may work.

thanks for the answers

For @Carl, I’m wondering about a Roon life time licence, but if if I opt for that, I wonder if a new Mac mini is the best solution.

For @anon47919701 , your reasoning is probably the best, and as I don’t know anything about Linux, which means that I have to decide to renew my Mac or choose an other support for Roon …

When time comes you could consider running a Core machine with ROCK on an Intel NUC - or on the more prestigious Nucleus (+) …

I believe there are no issues in transferring your Roon license to a different (new) machine.

That’s correct a Roon license can be transferred across hardware and OS systems without incurring any additional fees.

One shouldn’t really influence, well certainly not restrict, the other … as you can transfer Roon and your Roon database to the new hardware at any time.

When the time is right for you, follow the migration guide in the Roon Knowledge Base, and if you get stuck post in the forum help.

I put Ubuntu 16.04 on my old Mac Mini, and Roon Server worked fine with it, and I was able to use the optical output from it to drive a DAC. Same CPU as yours, I believe. So MacOS need not be the limiting factor.

OS10.8 came out 7 years ago and Roon is currently still supporting it.

Your Mac Mini is running OS10.13 which came out 2 years ago.

I’d say you’ve got about 5 years yet!


That’s just the thing. It only takes so much power to process music files. I’m running ROCK on a 7th gen NUC i3 myself and have had absolutely no issues. Perhaps if I went bonkers with the DSP or started simultaneous streaming to 25-odd rooms I’d need more power, but it really sings with the base i3.

Apart for DSP work, which is of course cpu-intensive, I/O is the big issue at hand, and with cabled ethernet and ssd for the unpacking and caching of your music before it travels to the dac, you’re covered :slight_smile:

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Lionel, you’re good for some years. Unless you want to do serious DSP, or have tens of thousands of albums, or stream to lots of rooms, your MacMini with 8Gb RAM and SSD is just fine.

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Agreed. I am finding that with my Bluesound Node 2i, wired Ethernet is needed for flawless playback.

Switching sample rates to something high-res (e.g. 192/24) seems to cause a brief hesitation / stuttering at the start of a track, when using Wi-Fi from the Mac Mini to the Node 2i.

I’ve plugged in Gig-E wired and no amount of torturous flipping between tracks / sample rates can make it stutter.

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thanks again for the answers.

About audio files, I prefer to stay with 24/96, so it’s OK for that.
I run Roon with HQPlayer desktop (install a Linux means to buy HQP E), I use the FireWire output of my Mac, which sounds better than USB, so I prefer to stay with this output.

I’m also using my Mac for streaming movies…

for these reasons, I don’t know what material can do that apart a Mac mini…

Bill, I know it’s been a year since you replied here but wondered if you could tell me what you did to get the Mac optical out working on Ubuntu please?

Just set up a Mac Book Pro 2009 with Ubuntu 18.04, and it works really well (4gb ram and SSD) but can’t get the optical out to work… assume its some driver thing in ALSA.

Anyway if you can remember and share that would be great!


I think I used Ubuntu 16.04 at the time. I don’t remember having to do anything special; when I installed Roon Server, it identified the optical output right away. I’d tried quite a bit with OS X to get it working, all failures. And I tried again with just Ubuntu 16.04 without Roon, and again failed. It was installing Roon that made it work – and sold me on Roon.

So, what do you see in your “Devices connected directly to Core” group?

Thanks for the reply, I see two entries

  • HDA NVIDIA CS4206 Analogue ALSA
    and another for
  • HDA NVIDIA CS4206 digital ALSA
    I assume the digital one is the optical as the other just plays Roon through the Mac Book’s speakers.

Yes, that looks right. Odd that mine was CS2406 and yours is CS4206. So if you select the digital one you should get the optical output jack.

CS4206 is the Cirrus Logic codec (ADC/DAC combined chipset). No surprise that the chipset should be the same on similar hardware. And as ADC/DAC, it offers both digital and analog outputs.


Ok I’ll give it another go. Thanks for the responses!