Today we have the review of a fanless system that we have been using for the last few weeks. It is not perfect. It is, however, very good. What makes this PC good is simply how easy it is to work on. The system is called the CWWK CW-MBX-AS12N-35 which was too much. Instead, this transitioned from being called the “CWWK Green” at STH to “CWWK Crazy” on our internal sharing tools. The reason will become apparent as we get into the review, but if you see some “CWWK Crazy” system names in screenshots, it will quickly become obvious why. If you were thinking of setting up a Raspberry Pi 5 server with attachments or a ZimaBoard system over the holidays, this is worth more than a look.
CWWK Crazy Overview
Of course we have a video for this system that you can find here:
CWWK is the brand behind many systems from other brands like Topton, KingNovy, and more that we have seen. They sent us this unit along with another item we got just to get feedback on. We ended up adding thousands of dollars of components to the system just to try different things while testing. Thanks to our STH YouTube members for supporting us with that.
The system itself is around $205, before discounts from CWWK. Usually with whatever coupons are out, a barebones can be had for under $199. (AliExpress Affiliate) That gets you a system with a chassis, the SATA cables, and an Intel N100 processor. This version is fanless, but we expect a N305 version to come out at some point, and the chassis already has fan mounting points for that version.
CWWK sent us a config with a 128GB NVMe SSD and 8GB of memory.
We tested it with Windows. Windows 11 Pro worked, but it seemed like background tasks were hurting performance which we will get to. If you want to use the plethora of display outputs for the system for signage or something, then we know Windows can be a popular option.
We did not just have a simple mini PC. Instead, we added two cheap 2TB SATA SSDs (Amazon Affiliate) and even a 32TB-class Micron 6500 ION 30.72TB SSD. Many folks ask about adding storage to these mini PCs, and here you go. We used this cable to connect the Micron SSD. (Amazon Affiliate). That cable worked with the Micron drive, but did not work with the initial drives we tried (Intel Optane 905P, P4800X, and Solidigm 61.44TB.) Likely due to the cable length.
Another option we tried was a QNAP 4-bay DAS that we will review soon that included a PCIe SATA controller. (Amazon Affiliate.) In that config, we had four SATA HDDs, two SATA SSDs, and a boot NVMe SSD. Other options would be to just add two SATA hard drives.
There is a lot that can be done with this system. So, let us first get to the hardware.