Among the smallest of systems we review is a line from iKoolCore. The iKoolCore R2 is the newest in this line with a processor that is more than twice the speed of the previous generation. With that new CPU, we get more performance an connectivity and so the system has tweaked its capabilities as well, although it retains 4x 2.5GbE ports. Let us get into this little system and see how it fares.
iKoolCore R2 Overview
As one might imagine, we have a video for this one as well. You can find that video here.
In the video, we always get to show more angles of the hardware, and you can see the power consumption live on the new set. As always, we suggest opening the video in its own tab, browser, or app for the best viewing experience.
These units start at about $239 for an Intel N95 (4-core) with 8GB of RAM and no SSD. (Amazon Affiliate link.) The unit iKoolCore sent us is the Core i3-N300 16GB version, which is considerably pricier at $379 without an SSD. Personally, I really like the Core i3-N300, but there are folks who are looking for fewer cores, and the N95 pricing is more attractive in that regard.
Still, these tiny systems are always fun to look at, and this is no different. Let us get to the hardware and some of the big changes made in this generation.
iKoolCore R2 Pro External Hardware Overview
The iKoolCore R2 gets two USB 3 Type-A ports on the front and a power button. The right port is a 5Gbps port, while the left is a 10Gbps port. It would be nice if that was marked on the chassis.
Here is the angled view.
On the other side, we get a USB Type-C port that can power a display as well. The other Type-C port is actually an audio jack.
In the R1 / R1 Pro that audio jack was a TF slot instead. Just to us, the TF card for a router/ firewall box feels more useful.
For those looking at this as a desktop, the R2’s setup may seem more useful. A part of us wishes, however, that this was just a combo jack as we see on other mini PCs instead of also trying to adopt Type-C.
The major side is, of course, one with the HDMI, Type-C power input, and three Intel i226-V network ports. The fourth port (the top right one in this photo) is actually a Realtek USB 3 to 2.5GbE adapter built-in as a fourth NIC. Some may argue that it increases compatibility since it adds a USB NIC solution onboard. The counterpoint is that an Intel i226-V PCIe NIC is a higher-end solution.
Here is the new name badge.
The R2 branding extends to the top.
On the bottom, we get the new raised rubber feet and the cooler.
Overall, this is like a R1 Pro chassis, but with a newer system underneath. On that note, it is time to get inside the system.