Beelink EQ12 Pro Review Intel i3-N305 Alder Lake-N is Amazing


Beelink EQ12 Pro Internal Hardware Overview

Inside the system, we see a 2.5″ drive mounting bay. The one thing we will point out is that populating this bay could block airflow to the bottom memory and SSD fan.

Beelink EQ12 Pro Inside Bottom Fan Shroud And 2.5 In Drive Slot
Beelink EQ12 Pro Inside Bottom Fan Shroud And 2.5 In Drive Slot

That fan sits on the baffle with the SSD cooler as well.

Beelink EQ12 Pro Inside Bottom Fan Shroud Removed
Beelink EQ12 Pro Inside Bottom Fan Shroud Removed

Underneath this assembly, we get the main user-serviceable parts.

Beelink EQ12 Pro Internal CPU And Memory Installed
Beelink EQ12 Pro Internal CPU And Memory Installed

Our system came with a Crucial 16GB DDR5 SODIMM. We will point out that Alder Lake-N is a single-channel memory solution with only one slot. Luckily, it is unlikely folks will want more than 16GB in this machine given the CPU.

Beelink EQ12 Pro Internal CPU And Memory Out
Beelink EQ12 Pro Internal CPU And Memory Out

The M.2 SSD was not fast. It only has a PCIe Gen3 x1 connection to the system. 512GB is plenty, but it is not a huge amount of bandwidth.

Also, a bandwidth challenge is the Intel AX101 which is a WiFi 6 1×1 solution. This is one where the cost to get an AX201 2×2 WiFi 6 card only costs slightly more. Still, this is a cost reduction item.

Beelink EQ12 Pro Intel AX101NGW WiFi
Beelink EQ12 Pro Intel AX101NGW WiFi

Here is a look at the motherboard out of the chassis and a good shot of both the M.2 slots with the single DDR5 SODIMM slot.

Beelink EQ12 Pro Motherboard Angle 1
Beelink EQ12 Pro Motherboard Angle 1

Here is a view from the other angle.

Beelink EQ12 Pro Motherboard Angle 2
Beelink EQ12 Pro Motherboard Angle 2

The Intel Core i3 N305 is covered by a heatsink and fan unit. This is one area where we always think that Beelink could do a bit better since it could be quieter.

Beelink EQ12 Pro CPU Fan
Beelink EQ12 Pro CPU Fan

Here is a profile view of the motherboard assembly.

Beelink EQ12 Pro Motherboard Front
Beelink EQ12 Pro Motherboard Front

Next, let us get to the performance.


  1. I got an N100 version to replace my mum’s old desktop, and was very impressed with the little 4 e-cores. So I can imagine the N305 is very impressive.

    I haven’t seen anything with the N300 yet, also 8 cores but only 7W TDP.

  2. Do Intel’s -N cpus have hardware AV1 decode? I’ve seen conflicting info from different sources. Can you verify? Thanks.

  3. I would be interested in a few of this items if:

    – I could get a lower powered CPU as i3 is much more than I need;

    – I did not have to pay “the Windows tax” since I would run Linux on them.

    Other than that, the Intel NIC is preferable to a Realtek NIC IMHO. The single channel memory is not an issue nor is the memory amount supported.

  4. Really interesting machine and the CPU is quite powerful.

    What I find a bit strange is, why is the multicore score so low? It’s only 4 times the singlecore score, even though the CPU has 8 cores.

  5. I think they’re selling out on power for 3.8GHz single core but then they’ve got to go back down for 8c. They’re running at a system power of 3w/c sustained. With all the NICs, fans, SSD, RAM, and PSU they’re at maybe 2w/c max. Even Arm needs low clocks to stay 1.5-2w/c.

  6. So the E cores not as efficient as one would think (I already figured out since alder lake), they accommodated 8 cores by increasing power budgets usually expected for this class
    If you put this next to a AMD phoenix 15W…

    Also for those asking for Intel, many i225s have issues especially on windows. 226 might finally get rid of the jinx but the realtek 2.5 solutions is actually far more stable and works with 2.5 routers/switches better.

  7. Great review of this. That’s good power consumption. Henkel’s breakdown is good. I’d hope you can do one like that in future articles. I’d like to see the N100 too.

    Realtek 2.5Gb still suffers from when you stress them they freak out. They’re cheap but not good. We’ve got around 1,000 ports of PC’s now with Realtek and Intel i225. We’ve only got like 30 i226’s so far. Users complain about Realtek 4:1 over Intel FWIW.

  8. So it’s the same performance as 6-core i5-8500T from 2017 for the same TDP? Only a bit cheaper. But it’s always better to have X performance from 6 cores (8500T) than from 8(N305). Where’s the innovation, Intel? Where’s the generational growth?

  9. What kind of core count/speeds do we need to drive a full 10GbE dual-port firewall appliance?

    I’d like to start thinking about retrofitting my home network once again now that some of the new motherboards are coming with 5GbE NICs onboard.

    I currently have an 11th gen NUC with dual 2.5GbE running firewall duties, and it’s obviously overkill. But would it be right-sized if the NICs were 10GbE? Or still overkill. I only run ~100 firewall rules.

  10. An AMD 5825U w/ i226 seems like a better option for many home lan purposes (ESXi in particular). Equivalent CPU TDP, almost twice the cpu benchmarks, same i226 NICs available paired with, usually ships two SODIMM slots so you can go to 64GB. What am I missing? I think I’d easily jump on the intel unit if it had two DIMMs, otherwise AMD is liable to take my money for 4 or more of these units.

  11. This is a very interesting CPU but not for these prices. Beelink is now discounting the 5500U unit for the same price. That is a lot more CPU and double the GPU, though I do think you lose AV1 decoding (shouldn’t be an issue with this CPU).

  12. Setup an N305 based router for a friend a couple weeks back. Runs super smooth with OPNsense. Would love to see an itx/nas variant.

  13. Does this N305-bearing EQ 12 Pro actually exist? Both links provided take us to systems not wielding an N305. Would absolutely love to buy one of these, but I’m not seeing them anywhere. Even Bee Link’s website only mentions an N100 version. Any thoughts here?


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