KingNovy 4x 2.5GbE Intel Celeron N5105 Fanless System Hardware Overview
The system we purchased from KingNovy had the potential to be our favorite just because it is slightly larger and heavier due to the design of the heatsink chassis. On the front, we got a power button and two USB 3 ports. There is also a HDMI out port. This is the same as we saw on the N5105 systems.
On the rear of the unit, we get perhaps the most exciting bits. There are four 2.5GbE ports powered by Intel i225-V B3 NICs. Two status LEDs for power and SSD activity are in the middle. Finally, there is a 12V power input. These use enough power as we will see that while you can power the J4125 units on PoE+ splitters, these will likely require stepping up to PoE++ splitters and infrastructure.
On the bottom of the unit, we get mounting points for a VESA bracket. The Topton unit again had the holes that you can see in the N5105 (below) but the KingNovy unit only has mounting holes for the 2.5″ SSD and the VESA bracket. The VESA bracket is also useful if you want to mount these somewhere.
Inside we have a fairly familiar layout compared to the J4125 and N5105 units that we have looked at. Spoiler alert: this is also similar to the N5095 units. It is fairly easy to see these utilize the same motherboard. Opening up this panel shows the NICs and main serviceable components. The CPU is on the other side attached to a block that routes heat to the chassis for dissipation. Some users have reported better thermals by re-applying thermal paste to the CPU/ chassis interfaces. We did not have any stability issues running our units stock and we review these units in their stock forms.
Inside we find the NICs to the left and the M.2 slot on the bottom for storage. Two SODIMM slots are in the top right. Here is a closer look at those with the “N6005” sticker.
Finally, a mPCIe slot, with a SIM slot, is on the bottom right.
Here we can see the SLNMH Intel i225-V NICs making them B3 stepping NICs which are the ones you want these days for 2.5GbE Intel NICs.
There is also a PCIe Gen3 x2 slot for NVMe storage that is an upgrade in this generation and a mPCIe slot with a SIM slot for WWAN. The sellers have 3G/ 4G options, but we did not get to test them.
Unlike the N5105 units, both of the N6005 units used v2.0 motherboards. In the previous piece, we found one V1 and one V2.
The two SODIMM slots are DDR4 and up to DDR4-2933. We only tested up to 32GB (2x16GB) in this configuration. These boards are known to be finicky with both memory and SSDs. One tip we would provide is to use lower power/ performance SSDs rather than trying to add the fastest SSD possible. There is not much by way of provisions for cooling the M.2 SSD and the DIMMs, so you want to aim as low power as possible.
For storage, there is a 2.5″ mounting point on the bottom cover via four screws. Included with the unit is the SATA data and power cable for an extra drive. We showed this in the video, but here is what one looks like from the previous review.
Our power adapter is the same as the Topton unit. Both have the DP/N’s which seems strange for these units.
We are not going to fully delve into the Topton unit since it will look similar to the N5105 one with the ShiJi NVMe SSD and the YUE Tiger SODIMMs since we purchased that unit pre-configured.
Instead, the big differences are the KingNovy unit is the larger/ heavier and more squared-off case while the Topton is the smaller chassis. Also, as mentioned earlier, the Topton has more holes in the bottom of the chassis. This is also the same as the N5105 versions Kingnovy’s bottom is on the left while the Topton is on the right below and these seem to be standard across CPU models.
It is pretty clear that these are very similar designs.
Next, let us get to performance.
I ordered my Topton N6005 barebone unit on May 13th, and I’m still waiting for it. It “shipped” on the last day of the 40-day deadline, but there is still no tracking information (which tells me they just moved it from one virtual queue to another, and I’m no closer to receiving it).
Please go back to presenting hardware statically.
Now you are shaking and waving and there is no chance to see the details.
Previous form was much better…
It looks like the PSU doesn’t need a grounding wire? In my new apartment the wiring closet has three Euro outlets (2-prongs, so no ground), I’d really like to put a small switch and openwrt router inside the wiring closet, my current setup is just a high shelf put in front of the wiring closet (with the door removed).
As a comment to Niel above, I ordered the Topton unit (6005 bare bones) and waited a while for mine to arrive. They did send occasional messages in the AliExpress app apologising and speaking to the various lockdowns occuring over there, so I gave them the benefit of the doubt.
Eventually I got a notice almost at the deadline that it had shipped like you, and actually it arrived not very long after that. A quick slotting in of some RAM and SSD, a Proxmox install then pfSense, and it’s been sitting there quietly ever since.
As a note to everyone: they do get quite warm, to the extent that I bought an AC Infinity Multifan S3 120mm fan to sit on top. It’s exactly the right size, silent and keeps it nice and cool.
Thanks for the advice on the fan model. I’m planning the exact same setup (plus a VM for Ubuntu and possibly Windows) and the whole thing will sit out in the garage where my cable modem and network gear are. I’ll monitor the temp with Home Assistant (like I do with the RPi’s that are already out there) and likely add the fan. Can’t wait!
We need basic ips throughput, just to get ballpark numbers. Do balanced rules in snort and do a speed test
If you need a decent amount of parallel VPN to manage the work at home trend the N6005 is absolutely the best choice. PfSense and OpnSense both perform very well with IPsec, OpenVPN or wireguard
I really enjoyed your video. Love the fast information dump with many thoughtful aspects. Even about considering the j4125 as a best bang for buck firewall appliance. I wish US companies were developing boxes with the 2.5g ports at this price point, but doesn’t seem to be the case. I want to partition to test pfsense, opnsense and sophos.
Amazon has the j4125 and thinking of just getting there since delivery is fast, but do not like missing out on the 6005 cpu.
Great review Patrick! One quick question, could you reveal the POE+ splitter you’ve used for the j4125 4×2.5g boxes you’ve mentioned in the article?
I just ordered a KingNovy n5105 device from AliExpress. Does anyone know if there are updated UEFI/BIOS files for these computers? If so where do you get them?
Does anyone know of a product similar to this that is rack mountable? Even if it’s fanless, I’m fine with adding external fans for active cooling.
@Nick If you get a Changwang model (e.g. the board identifies as CW-N6000), you’ll have to hunt around on their website. There’s a “downloads” section where they’ve been posting BIOS updates for certain boards. I flashed an update to my CW-N6000 (4-port) board a few days ago.
I ordered the 6* NIC N6005-version from KingNovy (PC Store) and was hoping to find the “KingNovy”-chassi shown here (the one that is able to stand vertically) but sadly the 6-port version doesn’t seem to exist? Have anyone found it?
Also when the store which I bought it from on AliExpress was:
“KingNovy PC Store”
however I also saw that there were sellers which were similarly named such as:
“KingNovy 3C Store”
and another which I believe was named:
“KingNovy PC Store Official”
Comparing “PC Store” vs “3C Store” both had the same “business license” on AliExpress so I guess its the same seller / store but different “fronts”?
Which seller did you buy from for this review?
It doesn’t seem to matter if its the same company behind “all” (at least the two I compared) the KingNovy stores?
Final update. Barebones system ordered on May 13th, delivered on July 15th.
Is there anybody who tried if 64GB RAM is working with them? I asked the seller on Ali and said that use original Hynix modules for 2*32GB. BUT they don’t have such option and also they didn’t send further info. It would be great to have 64GB in these models (with esxi or proxmox).
I’ve bought a couple of these N6005 units now (Topton brand) from AliExpress – one with 4*2.5GB NIC and one with 6*2.5GB NIC – both of them came with one random branded 16GB DDR4 stick. I’ve now got two if these ‘cheap’ DDR4 sticks of different brands. I tried to move sticks between systems to test if I can increase memory capacity and I am unable to get either system to boot without the exact memory configuration that they were shipped with. Even if I just swap one 16GB DDR4 stick for the other one it simply won’t boot. Has anyone else experienced this when trying to upgrade the RAM?
If someone has ram issues i have a theory: In the bios go to Chipset>system agent configuration>memory configuration and set SA GV to disable. And by the way the thermals on this thing are awfully bad so i disassemble it and used some polishing compound to clean all the imperfections from both the copper block as well as the heat sink and then put some SYY157 paste between the copper block and the heat sink and liquid metal between the block and the Pentium SoC also replaced the motherboard screws whit spring loaded screws to increase mounting pressure and all this leads to a massive temperature drop from 80C to just 49C under full CPU load.This is going to be my new router but first i need to make sure all the performance and security issues are solved before i put in 24/7 operation.
On RAM expandability:
I can only judge from a Jasper Lake Intel NUC, which I managed to get a couple of weeks ago, first time it was ever available long after launch…
I started it off with two 2x 8GB DDR4-2400 modules from the stash: no issues.
Then I tried to see if it would do 64GB, which the J5005 predecessor didn’t like (they topped out at 32GB, still much higher than the official 8GB Intel puts in their specs).
For that test I borrowed 2 32GB DDR4-3200 from a Tiger Lake NUC.
I was ready to give up when the screen stayed dark, but I got distracted so I didn’t turn it right off. After what seemed far too long it just booted and worked just fine, all 64GB minus a tiny bit for the frame buffer ready to use.
It clocked the RAM at DDR4-2933, but essentially there is very little difference to DDR4-2400. Memory Bandwidth on Geekbench 4 goes from 22 to 25GByte/s which is far below the 40GByte/s the Tiger Lake’s i7-1167G5 gets from the same SO-DIMMs.
But for the first time in an Atom RAM is definitely dual channel, with a single DIMM bandwidth drops to 12.5GByte/s on the Jasper Lake. I doubt that makes a big difference on code, but iGPUs need bandwidth, especially at their highest level of buildout
Where my first Atom, a J1900 was atrocious even on a THD desktop, the N6005 doesn’t disappoint even at 4k: It’s quite a competent 2D office machine and even the Google Maps 3D Globe view puts Microsoft’s Flight Simulator to shame at 4k full screen in a Chrome based browser on Windows.
Most modern Linux variants may only need to be reminded that the i915 driver will indeed competently handle the iGPU via a boot flag and then work just as well.
Just as Patrick noted, going for speed in an NVMe drive won’t pay off, because there aren’t enough PCIe lanes (8 in total) to go around and not all potential permuations of n-furication are supported. Each 2.5 Gbit/s NIC will require one lane for itself and on the NUC the M.2 NVMe connector only offers 2 PCIe 3.0 lanes to the drive. That means the other M.2 slots are down to SATA and USB, but that’s conjection until somebody dumps some ‘lspci’ info or similar.
Also note that at least on the NUC Intel is squeezing TDP to get Sandy Bridge equivalent performance: defaults set PL2 at 25 Watts and PL1 at 15 Watts. I’ve never measured more than 20 Watts (Prime95+Furmark) but on the NUC with an active fan it will stay at 15 Watts if the BIOS is configured that way.
I don’t believe that a passive case that isn’t truly massive will be able to sustain that.
The ASRock J5005 Mini-ITX Atoms I own stricktly stick to 10 Watts and I’d conclude that the performance gains of Jasper Lake vs. Goldmont Plus are all paid in Watts and not gained from 10nm.
I read on a German forum that someone bought this unit (or a very similar one) and swapped the power supply for a high quality one. The power consumption was considerably lower…
Addition to the above post.
MEAN WELL GST60A12-P1J oder GSM36E12-P1J with 5.5/2.1 to 5.5/2.5 adapter…
How do you guys are determining if the memory is running at 2933mhz? CPUz dont seem to recognize it, hwinfo seems to change dynamically kinda like downclocking not sure why. So wondering what are you guys using to check the memory is running at 2933?
I know the Protectli units have it, but do any of these more generic systems have a console port at all (serial or usb)? It makes setup just so stinking easy and I don’t need a tinypilot or crash cart to set one up.
Hy guys. Desperate help needed. I broke my topton n6005 unit with a bad bios update. I really need the full bios (dump) in order to reprogram the flash. It’s the v 3.0 board, black N6005. Thanks
I ordered an N6005 from loksing, which can bear customs duties for customers in EU countries. It took only 13 days to arrive in Germany.
Did anyone tested the J6412 or J6413? Or even the i5-1135G7 version
I’d like to see how it compares to the N5105.
The thing is the enternet card for these product! 2.5gbe NIC in these mostly are intel and they are cheap and suck! it could be i225v3 or i226 model, those recommand to avoid item.