Cheap Intel Pentium N6005 4x 2.5GbE Fanless Firewall and Router Review


Intel Pentium N6005 Performance

Here is the N6005 system’s topology. The CPU itself looks like other Jasper Lake systems.

Topton 4x 2.5GbE Intel N6005 Lstopo Output
Topton 4x 2.5GbE Intel N6005 Lstopo Output

Let us get to the results.

Python Linux 4.4.2 Kernel Compile Benchmark

This is one of the most requested benchmarks for STH over the past few years. The task was simple, we have a standard configuration file, the Linux 4.4.2 kernel from, and make the standard auto-generated configuration utilizing every thread in the system. We are expressing results in terms of compiles per hour to make the results easier to read:

Intel Pentium N6005 Linux Kernel Compile Benchmark
Intel Pentium N6005 Linux Kernel Compile Benchmark

Here we see a nice performance bump from the Atom N6005 versus the lower-clock speed models. This is nowhere near the variation we see in modern 1L PCs, but it is the primary benefit to the higher-end Atom.

7-zip Compression Performance

7-zip is a widely used compression/ decompression program that works cross-platform. We started using the program during our early days with Windows testing. It is now part of Linux-Bench.

Intel Pentium N6005 7zip Compression Benchmark
Intel Pentium N6005 7zip Compression Benchmark

one item to keep in mind here is that this N6005 is fanless and is roughly the same performance as the Intel Core i5-6500T a 35W TDP part with active cooling. In many tests, the Core i5-6500T comes out ahead, but the N6005 is not far behind.

OpenSSL Performance

OpenSSL is widely used to secure communications between servers. This is an important protocol in many server stacks. We first look at our sign tests:

Intel Pentium N6005 OpenSSL Sign Performance
Intel Pentium N6005 OpenSSL Sign Performance

Here are the verify results:

Intel Pentium N6005 OpenSSL Verify Performance
Intel Pentium N6005 OpenSSL Verify Performance

The jump from the J4125 is quite dramatic, but the range is not as dramatic as going from a Core i5 to a Core i9 or something like that.

Geekbench 5 Results

For folks that want to see Geekbench 5 results to compare these to consumer CPUs, here is a link. This gives another glimpse of the N5105 versus N6005 performance:

Geekbench 5 Intel N5105 V N6005
Geekbench 5 Intel N5105 V N6005

We had this question come in after our N5105 piece, but what about a difference between the Topton and KingNovy units. Here, we can see the Topton was slightly faster (using the same SSD and memory swapped into the other chassis.) Still, 0.1-1.6% is more of a test variation than a clear performance delta. We are going to call these even.

Geekbench 5 Intel N6005 Topton And KingNovy Compared
Geekbench 5 Intel N6005 Topton And KingNovy Compared

For those wondering, this is actually very close to the Core i5-6500T on Geekbench 5 which was surprising.

Overall though, the performance was good on the CPU.

4x 2.5GbE pfSense NAT Testing

Since we got asked, here is a pfSense VM on Proxmox VE using our How to Pass-through PCIe NICs with Proxmox VE on Intel and AMD guide (more on that later in this review) passing traffic over two dedicated NICs using NAT and 10 firewall rules and zero additional tunings.

We again saw line rate 2.5GbE speeds. During stress testing, we also raised the ambient temperature to 28-29C and had no issues running multi-day tests. The benefit of the faster processor is being able to add more to IDS and other features on the box with a bit more headroom. Still, for basic cases, even installing pfSense/ OPNsense in a Proxmox VE VM and pushing traffic both from the base OS, but also from the VM’s across all four NICs worked fine.

Next, let us get to power consumption, noise, and our final words.


  1. 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).

  2. 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…

  3. 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).

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. We need basic ips throughput, just to get ballpark numbers. Do balanced rules in snort and do a speed test

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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?

  10. 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?

  11. 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.

  12. @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.

  13. A question:
    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?

  14. 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).

  15. 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?

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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…

  19. 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?

  20. 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.

  21. 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

  22. Hy guys,
    Did anyone tested the J6412 or J6413? Or even the i5-1135G7 version
    I’d like to see how it compares to the N5105.

  23. 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.


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