Fanless 4x 2.5GbE Intel N5105 i225-V Firewall Tested

Topton Intel N5105 4x 2.5GbE I225 B3 V4 USB HDMI DP NIC And Power
Topton Intel N5105 4x 2.5GbE I225 B3 V4 USB HDMI DP NIC And Power

This is a review of a small system that you may remember from a previous article. This is the Intel i225-V fanless unit that has 4x 2.5GbE NICs. Over 2022, we have tested a number of AliExpress-sourced 2.5GbE units for use as firewalls and virtualization nodes. There is a newer revision of these units, and we wanted to discuss some of the pros and cons in our standard review format for these.

New Fanless 4x 2.5GbE Intel N5105 i225-V Node Overview

The video for this review has already been released for some time now on the YouTube channel, so check that out below to see it. We combined the video with an extremely similar product, the i226-V version.

We suggest opening this video in its own browser or tab for a better viewing experience. While you are there you can also join the channel membership to help fund future projects like this.

This article is going to focus on the i225 V4 version, and you can find the newer 4x Intel i226-v version here. We just wanted to be complete and show the i225 version as well.

Topton Intel N5105 4x 2.5GbE I225 B3 V4 Internal With 16GB And 256GB
Topton Intel N5105 4x 2.5GbE I225 B3 V4 Internal With 16GB And 256GB

These units were configured with 16GB of memory and a 256GB NVMe SSD.  This unit was purchased for $307.68, but our DHL shipping brought the total to $344.44.

You can get these units barebones for under $200, so if you want to save money it is cheaper to get your own SSD and RAM for these systems. This comes with the added benefit that if you have any issues with those components you can much more easily return them. We had not bought a preconfigured unit in a while, and we thought it would be good to see what they look like now so that is what we did with these.

Topton Intel N5105 4x 2.5GbE I225 B3 V4 DDR4 LO DIMM
Topton Intel N5105 4x 2.5GbE I225 B3 V4 DDR4 LO DIMM

This unit comes with a Heoriady 16GB 2666 LO-DIMM (that is what it says, not SODIMM.) Note that some vendors downclock the memory in these units, and as such, this unit came clocked at 2000MHz. We also got a Charm-Store 256GB NVMe SSD.

Topton Intel N5105 4x 2.5GbE I225 B3 V4 Charm Store 256GB NVMe SSD
Topton Intel N5105 4x 2.5GbE I225 B3 V4 Charm Store 256GB NVMe SSD

We ordered the Intel Celeron N5105 models because they were a good value for the performance and power consumption that they presented.

For about $300 we got a preconfigured OPNsense unit that was ready to go. Installing your own operating system is always recommended especially since it does not come from the OS vendor. We also recommend buying your own storage and memory as those components are not always reliable.

Now, it is time to get to the hardware.


  1. I’ve been really interested in these but I really want one that can do 10 Gbps rather than just 2.5. I ended up realising that a second hand Dell Optiplex is much cheaper than these (under $100) and the SFF version has a couple of low profile PCIe slots where you could fit a 10G NIC. I imagine they will use more than the ~15 W of these tiny devices but I got a couple to experiment with as I think they might do the job I’m after quite well. It’ll be interesting to see whether they can route at 10G but I imagine they probably could.

  2. Hi Malvineous, I had a 10gb opn/pf router with an i5 8400. With a single transfer I was getting 4.3gb/s and I could max out my connection with 3 transfers. I think I was getting limited by single core perf on the single transfer. In practice i didn’t notice.

    I downsized over the weekend and put in a Topton N6005. I only have 1gb internet at the moment. It’s quite delightful for such a small box. It’s happily doing IDS with low CPU.

    If all goes well I’ll get at least one more of these boxes for virtualisation… and I’m toying with using one as a HTPC

  3. 7-zip and compile benchmarks on a FW? How about intervlan throughput with and without rules. WAN-LAN throughput. IPSec throughput. Firewally things…

  4. “AliExpress-sourced 2.5GbE units for use as firewalls” — guys, this is one of the best joke in the industry in 2022. Keep up good work!

  5. @Malvineous. I wonder if anyone has any real life experience with the Supermicro X10SLH-LN6TF ( Six intel x540 ports. Even uses a PLX chip to co nnect them to the CPU! I guess it consumes quite a lot but it’s otherwize surprisingly cheap. I wonder what is the catch..

  6. A very minimal 1151 board with an i3-8100T can idle around 5-6W with an SSD, which is significantly better than Intel’s 4th gen. This is of course with no audio chip and a single gigabit LAN port, but there isn’t much of a difference anymore between the ULV U-series parts and the socketed desktop chips. That is almost on par with this Pentium, despite it being a full-fledged desktop chip. Of course, it can and does consume up to 35W under load, but it is nice to see that it can scale down just as well as the ULP chips.

  7. Well the Optiplex 7040s arrived, Intel i5-6500 (3.2 GHz, 4-core, no hyperthreading). With a 10G NIC (Intel X520) and no iptables rules, iperf reports 9.38 Gbps in one direction, at 15-20% of a single CPU core. If I run two iperfs in parallel in opposite directions then it gives me 9.17 Gbps in each direction, with two CPU cores sitting at 15-20% each, and the other two cores idle.

    Idle power is 21 watts at the wall socket, at 10G up + 10G down it jumps to 38 watts. This is with the max supported 64 GB RAM and a 1TB Samsung 980 M.2 SSD, which reads at 2.2GB/sec.

    At this rate I’m tempted to put a 25G NIC in it instead :)

    @Nikolay Mihaylov: That Supermicro one looks pretty nice, US$99 for 6x 10G. Shame the shipping is US$90 though as it doubles the price! Not sure what the catch is, maybe only SATA for storage, no M.2, so it puts server people off? Seems like it’d be fine for router duty though.

  8. The catch is that X540 is a very power hungry beast, 1 X540-T2 can easily run up 17.4W
    Idle is not much better either. I tested them at idle without any fans nearby and they got REALLY hot

    Apparently X550 have similar power draw but I’ve only seen noticeably smaller heatsinks on X550s…

  9. @KarelG: I looked at this a bit more after your comment. This article caused me to retire the box in favour of hardware from a better known vendor with firmware updates:

    @Dave: Yeah, the x540 is meant to have hurricane/server levels of airflow. I zip-tied a 40mm Noctua to the heatsink on mine.

    I ‘m currently using the Topton box as a HTPC. It’s interesting given the price point but won’t reliably play youtube at 4K (100% CPU). I’m monitoring it’s network traffic with Opnsense IDS, nothing weird yet.

  10. @ Malvineous I was thinking to get one of this boxes on aliexpress.. I5-1135g7 found around 300$ barebones. Shipping from far.. 2.5g is sufficient for me but I question the quality and some say about BIOS security.. this optilex might be a better safer option.. how much power does it drain? Some say on the long run money spent with optilex on power consumption would pass the cost of this small boxes.. and buying from us a Protectli is super expensive.. advice?


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