The King Fanless Intel Core i5 6x 2.5GbE CWWK System Performance
As with all of these reviews, we wanted to look at performance quickly. We installed Ubuntu to validate Linux worked but also to provide some performance comparison with other offerings. We also had Windows 11 Pro installed for some of the storage testing.
The included Fanxiang S500PRO 512GB NVMe SSD was a PCIe Gen3 unit but it performed fairly decently. We used the included SSD as our Windows 11 Pro SSD, then added a second SSD, a cheap WD Blue 1TB drive (affiliate link) to run other OSes. We generally advise using lower-power drives here and sacrificing performance for fanless systems.
Still, the big feature we wanted to look at is the Intel Core i5-1235U to see how it performs.
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 kernel.org, 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:
The first thing we noticed was the massive jump between this Intel Core i5-1235U and the Intel Core i5-8365U. Performance-wise, the mix of P-cores and E-cores is outpacing not just the older 15W parts, but also Project TinyMiniMicro 35W TDP parts.
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.
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:
Here are the verify results:
Having the Alder Lake generation P-cores and E-cores is really nice. These systems are not overly well-tuned for performance, but we are getting good results out of the box.
Geekbench 6 Results
Just to put a bit of a finer point on this one, we wanted to take a look at the Geekbench 6 results.
Here is a quick look at this unit, versus the Lenovo ThinkCentre M80q Tiny Gen 3 that we just reviewed.
One can see we have similar single-thread performance, but around half the multi-thread performance of the 35W TDP Intel Core i5-12500T.
Compared to some of the other firewalls with the N5105 and N6005, we are going to use the N6005-based iKoolCore R1 for our comparison:
Here we can see a 3-4x performance jump over an actively cooled N6005. Of course, the iKoolCore R1 is much smaller, and that is the point, but we are comparing it to a higher-power and fanless node.
The N6005 is generally plenty for 2.5GbE firewalls/ routers running pfSense or OPNsense. At the same time, there are many power users that simply want more performance because they have more firewall rules or services running. This is the kind of machine that has a lot of extra performance just because of the P-core and E-core architecture. It also has the newer Intel Xe GPU solution for those who are looking for desktops or even just Quick Sync video transcoding.
Just using the Core i5, with the upgraded Intel graphics was a much better experience. The N5105/ N6005 desktop experience is “OK” but it can be frustratingly slow. On the Intel Core i5-1235U, it feels fairly close to a Project TinyMiniMicro 35W PC. That is the awesome part about having P-cores that were fairly consistently hitting 4GHz turbo speeds in short bursts. A 4GHz turbo Alder Lake P-core burst is very good.
Next, let us talk about power consumption and noise.