Power Consumption and Noise
The 150W FSP power supply is a step up from the This GoWin R86S Pro as a nice internal unit.
At idle, we are seeing 5W package power consumption and 27-29W for the system. Noise is not silent at 44dba in a 34.5dba noise floor studio. Under load, the package power consumption rises to 15W, and the total system is at 51W range or so. Noise raises to 48-49dba. Again, this is far from a silent system. Something to keep in mind here is that the 25GbE NIC is around 10W of typical power consumption.
The fan, however, is the one thing we would change. 150W is more than this system needs, and getting a quieter power supply would be a big win, especially when we looked at the fanless adjacent unit that only had this fan.
Key Lessons Learned
This is most certainly one of the most creative systems we have ever reviewed on STH. It has a ton of I/O and to get there, it is using things like PCIe switches and USB hubs for lower-performance I/O.
This is perhaps the limit of the Intel Core i3-N305. While the CPU has great performance, the system is very much at its maximum (and a bit beyond) in terms of I/O.
What this represents, however, is something really cool. This is a system that tries to do everything reasonably well, and accomplishes that task.
The one thing that I wish GoWin would do is to put its products on Amazon and AliExpress so folks can use their standard storefronts instead of GoWinFanless.com. It just feels like that would open these up to much larger markets by making the buying process easier.
Overall, this system has so much in it that I think a lot of STH readers are going to at least appreciate what is being done to make this unit.
As the team reviewed the system, a common discussion point was how cool will it be when the Atom C5000/P5000 parts get less expensive and can be used in this space. If you have a 25Gbps WAN connection probably a valid point could be made that spending a few hundred more and getting a next-level hardware device could be worthwhile. On the other hand, if we look at this like a 10Gbps firewall/ router with room to grow, it is awesome.
Overall, it is easy to be impressed by this little box. It worked very well for us. Since we covered it in the video, we also tested the fanless-adjacent version that removes the chassis fans, 25GbE NIC fan, and replaces the CPU heatsink with something huge. That unit is hopefully going to be released soon, but it is also fascinating. We will follow-up this review with a review of that one in a week or two.