A 6x 2.5GbE Intel Pentium N6005 Fanless OPNsense pfSense Firewall Option


6x 2.5GbE Intel Pentium N6005 Fanless Power Consumption

For power, we had this curious little power supply. This was a 3A 12V unit. Over time, we have learned that these power supplies are not the best. Saying they are “not the best” is also likely being a bit generous.

Topton 6x 2.5GbE I225 N6005 12V 3A Power Adapter
Topton 6x 2.5GbE I225 N6005 12V 3A Power Adapter

At idle, we saw between 9-12W depending on single versus double SODIMM configurations. Maximum power consumption hit just over 31W. This was probably a bit closer to the 4x 2.5GbE versions we looked at previously compared to what we expected. Part of that is because we are testing using the stock power supplies. Many users find lower power consumption with Mean Well or other higher-quality power supplies, but those add costs and complexity to setups.

6x 2.5GbE Intel Pentium N6005 Fanless Key Lessons Learned

When we do these reviews, we often get questions about adding NICs. Readers also say, “if only that box had 1-2 extra NICs.” To us, that is probably the primary motivation for getting this machine over the 4x 2.5GbE variants.

Topton 6x 2.5GbE I225 N6005 Rear DC And 6x RJ45 1
Topton 6x 2.5GbE I225 N6005 Rear DC And 6x RJ45 1

One other change, and one that we are nervous talking about, is the chassis. This is a larger and heavier chassis than we typically get for the 4x 2.5GbE units and that helps cooling performance. We got the same results +/- 1% in terms of performance versus the 4x 2.5GbE version, but still solid results. The trick after buying many of these is that sometimes chassis variations are different from what one would expect looking at AliExpress listings. Also, while our units have generally been “OK” except where we note there is a lot of variabilities where we have seen users with things like chassis that do not make contact with the CPU package for cooling. Sometimes there is variability in what is ordered and what one gets with these.

Topton 6x 2.5GbE I225 N6005 Front Console HDMI USB 2
Topton 6x 2.5GbE I225 N6005 Front Console HDMI USB 2

Overall though, the biggest challenge with this unit is price. The barebones price being so much higher than the N5105 unit makes it harder to recommend. Our suggestion is to get the lower-cost and lower-power N5105. We did not have that CPU in ours, but getting only slightly less performance and saving a lot is usually worth it. The N6005 we generally only recommend for those trying to run quite a few VMs. Even then, at some point, it makes sense to transition to a more expensive but vastly faster Core i7 or AMD Ryzen system as other costs like memory and storage also increase.

Topton 6x 2.5GbE I225 N6005 Internal Overview
Topton 6x 2.5GbE I225 N6005 Internal Overview

Still, the N6005 felt a bit more at home with the larger chassis and the six 2.5GbE setup than it did in the small 4x 2.5GbE units.

Final Words

Between Patrick and I, we now have about 20 assorted AliExpress fanless units that have been running for a few months. On one hand, the quality can be very scary. We have seen users have to apply thermal paste and such. (Excellent forum thread.) As scary as it is sometimes to get a different chassis than expected or see folks that had no thermal paste between the heatsink and CPU, the units we have also have been working 24×7.

With this particular unit, the chassis is probably a better fit, given its larger size to handle the N6005 versus the 4x 2.5GbE units. For some, having the extra two 2.5GbE NICs is exactly what they will want to see. Our sense though, is that most of our readers would be better off with the N5105 in this chassis and saving both up-front and ongoing power costs.

We are going to put this one in a swimlane of recommended if you:

  1. Need 6x 2.5GbE
  2. Need more performance than the N5105
  3. Do not need the performance/ cost of the Core i7-1165G7

That takes a lot to get to the N6005 version of this chassis, but it is much easier to satisfy if you are OK with the N5105 and that is why we make the recommendation we do.

Still, with the N6005, there is plenty of performance in this unit to run a virtualized firewall with OPNsense or pfSense as well as a few other services. Having 2.5GbE and many ports of 2.5GbE in such a small form factor is also excellent, especially as service providers start to offer speeds beyond 1Gbps on Cable and other mediums. Overall, while we would probably buy a different CPU doing it again, this unit has worked well for us and has a solid set of capabilities.


  1. Really interesting kit here. I am currently waiting on the emergence of embedded systems with Alder Lake CPUs and the R680E chipset and multiple i225 NICs. These seem to be imminent, although I’m not sure that 35W Pentium Gold can be crammed into a fanless.

  2. “Our suggestion is to expect the fan to run at 100%”

    No way to control it seeing as it’s a 4pin header?

  3. Topton now has 12th gen for 195€ (pre-tax but with delivery). I feel I personally made this happen by ordering an 11th gen recently :s


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