Mac mini for a3.5 minimum requirements?

I’m looking to get a mac mini to run Audirvana as a headless mac.
I’m quite happy with A3.5
What would you say would be the minimum requirements from a mac mini to comfortably run DSD, with upsampling (not DSD upsampling)

Any specific year, processor, memory would you recommend as decent?



  • macOS

Minimum :

OS X 10.13 (High Sierra) or later


Recommended :


Note: this is for Studio. Can’t imagine that you would want to use less than these specs

My 2018 i7 16gb ram Mac Mini does everything just fine, dsd 256 can cause the fan to run at times, dsd128 effortlessly

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Thanks! I saw the posted minimum requirements, but I wonder if that will still play DSD without too much trouble? For example 2014 i5 8gb ram mac mini?

If you want to play DSD files from a local drive without upsampling 8 GB is plenty. If you want to do any heavy upsampling (pcm to DSD128 or higher) 8 GB maybe sufficient, but 16 GB is better.

In your case of a 2015 i5 8GB Mac Mini, the i5 processor is of an older generation and can be a bottleneck if you want to upsample to DSD128 or higher. As said, for playing DSD/PCM files from disc without upsampling, your Mac Mini should give no problems.

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Running a i5 with a high dsd load I would be concerned about fan noise, but if you can put it out of the way dsd128 should be ok. I agree with all of @AndyLubke thoughts 16gb has become the standard but 8gb should get you good results with the proper settings.

All of my actual experience has been with i7 16gb Air and Mini

Who’s running an i5 currently? Please chime in!

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I am not running a Mac but an Intel NUC (Windows 11) with an 8th gen i5 and 16 GB of RAM. I also placed the NUC in a fanless case, so fan noise won’t be a problem. This NUC is a dedicated music computer and I tweaked Windows (stopping unnecesary services and processes) to be as optimized as possible for playing music.

I can upsample to DSD256 without problems (in that case the i5 temp will reach around 55 to 60 Celcius which is not to bad). If I upsample to DSD512 there is also no problem, but the CPU usage will go to 50-60% and the temperature will be slightly higher. On my system DSD256 is the sweetspot.
I know MacOS uses memory and resources differently from Windows, but this gives a general idea i hope…

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