iXsystems TrueNAS Mini X and X Plus Launched

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IXsystems TrueNAS Mini X Plus Front Three Quarter
IXsystems TrueNAS Mini X Plus Front Three Quarter

The iXsystems TrueNAS Mini X and Mini X+ are exciting new machines. As the company prepares for the TrueNAS 12.0 Launch, it is re-branding its FreeNAS Mini line to the TrueNAS Mini line. STH will be doing a formal review on the TrueNAS Mini X+, but our review process is in-depth so we are not going to have a review on launch day. Our unit arrived about a week before this launch so there was simply not enough time to do our normal review process. While you are awaiting that review, let us go over the new systems.

iXsystems TrueNAS Mini X and X Plus Launched

From the initial marketing materials, one may not think much has changed. The TrueNAS Mini X+ and Mini X look slightly different but similar to the older units. Under the hood, there are some unique improvements to this generation.

TrueNAS Mini X And Mini X Plus
TrueNAS Mini X And Mini X Plus

First off, is the chassis. The early FreeNAS Mini was based on the 4-bay Supermicro CSE-721TQ-250B. We have reviewed a number of systems based on that chassis. The FreeNAS Mini XL+ we reviewed is an 8x 3.5″ bay chassis with internal 2.5″ mounting points. The Mini XL+ chassis is made by Ablecom a sister company to Supermicro in the building next to Supermicro’s Taiwan industrial park. In many ways, the 8-bay was like a taller 4-bay unit. The new TrueNAS Mini X and Mini X+ have an updated 5x 3.5″ bay chassis that is better tailored to ZFS storage.

IXsystems TrueNAS Mini X Plus Front Three Quarter
iXsystems TrueNAS Mini X Plus Front Three Quarter

Opening the system up, one can see a 5x 3.5″ bay solution. This is great as it adds an extra drive thereby increasing capacity. We are also going to note here that this is a backplane-based solution. If you were to look at the HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 Plus or Dell EMC PowerEdge T40 as alternatives, they used cabled drive bays which are not hot-swappable.

IXsystems TrueNAS Mini X Plus Drive Bays
iXsystems TrueNAS Mini X Plus Drive Bays

Below these 5x 3.5″ bays, there are two 2.5″ hot-swap bays. These are for 2.5″ SSDs. With TrueNAS 12, we should get features such as Fusion Pools which many Mini X/ Mini X+ customers will want to utilize. This is much better than the internally mounted previous generation 2.5″ options and gets away from the single 2.5″ Icy Dock derived hot-swap solution on the XL+. In total, one gets 7x hot-swap bays behind a locking door.

Another feature of the TrueNAS Mini X+ and Mini X is enclosure management. A nice feature that one gets by buying the system from iXsystems is that one can see drive status and the status is mapped to the web interface. If a drive fails, it is easy to see which drive failed.

TrueNAS Mini X Plus Enclosure Management
TrueNAS Mini X Plus Enclosure Management

The rear of the unit shows the quiet 120mm fan that iXsystems is using as well as the internal power supply. The HPE MSG10+ uses an external DC power brick. As you can see, we get a single PCIe slot since this is a mITX platform. Our test unit has a dual SFP+ 10bE NIC. We will have more on that in the review, but it is clear that iXsystems knows we prefer SFP+ 10GbE especially given that SFP+ to 10Gbase-T transceivers have plummeted in pricing. See our SFP+ to 10Gbase-T Adapter Module Buyers Guide.

IXsystems TrueNAS Mini X Plus Rear Slight Turn
iXsystems TrueNAS Mini X Plus Rear Slight Turn

On the rear of our test unit, we can also see a nice iXsystems branded I/O panel. Our one request is that in the next printing of these it would be fun if the ports were labeled iX0 and iX1 to keep with iXsystems branding over the CLI representation of the interfaces. There is an out-of-band management port along with two USB ports, a VGA port, and two 10Gbase-T ports. We are going to note that this looked very familiar. Here is a picture of the rear I/O panel from the FreeNAS Mini XL+ review:

FreeNAS Mini XL Plus Rear IO
FreeNAS Mini XL Plus Rear IO

As one can quickly see, these are the same layouts. Both systems also utilize the Intel Atom C3758 SoC so it seems like we see similar motherboards. Even with that, one can see better labeling on the TrueNAS Mini X+. It may seem like a small touch, but that printed I/O panel is a functional upgrade as well.

While we are reviewing the TrueNAS Mini X+, there is the standard TrueNAS Mini X version as well. That uses a different motherboard so it has a very different rear I/O. It also drops the 8-core Atom C3758 and dual 10Gbase-T for the 4-core Atom C3558 and quad 1GbE.

TrueNAS Mini X Plus Rear Comparison
TrueNAS Mini X Plus Rear Comparison

Here is the current lineup. Something that is immediately noticeable is that the TrueNAS Mini E actually has a larger displacement than the new chassis even with one less 3.5″ bay. WE think this was a great upgrade for iXsystems.

TrueNAS Mini Line Q3 2020
TrueNAS Mini Line Q3 2020

Overall, this is a nice lineup for the company. Intel Atom C3000 parts are priced relatively high from Intel. Their pricing was set around the 2017 Denverton launch before AMD offered any competition. In our iXsystems Launches TrueNAS M60 High-Availability Storage Appliance piece earlier this week we noted that iXsystems are still working on AMD support since it is primarily a FreeBSD platform until TrueNAS Scale arrives.

Final Words

Overall, the TrueNAS Mini X and Mini X+ are exciting systems. The TrueNAS Mini X+ we have in the lab is running well and hopefully, we are going to get to show the release version of TrueNAS 12.0 on it. Stay tuned for the full review. We are doing our normal thorough testing process since we do not want to rush the review.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Sad they are just not made for average consumer or even “pro”sumers.

    They looks like targeting SMB where they have zero interest in how it looks.

    Hopefully Qnap’s Hero OS will bring ZFS to the mass.

  2. This would be exiting, if ixsystems would sell their case instead of including their low level motherboard. I have much better mini itx board in use, the mini xl plus chassis would be excellent choice buying separately.

  3. “The new TrueNAS Mini X and Mini X+ have an updated 5x 3.5″ bay chassis that is better tailored to ZFS storage.”

    I’m definitely looking forward to the review on the new Mini X+. I’m a bit curious now, given the above statement that the new model is tailored to ZFS, what the advantage/disadvantage of the 8-bay Mini XL+.

    It was my understanding that having more drive bays available would be more advantageous for, e.g., more drives, in an even number, each with smaller capacity, in more VDEVs for increased I/O speed. I was a bit surprised to see that this new model had 5 drives instead of 6.

    Am I misunderstanding something? I’ve never bought a NAS and am looking into purchasing my first unit soon. I’ve decided to go with a TrueNAS unit so I can learn the software and, if necessary, build my own NAS from scratch one day.

    Thanks!

  4. Jesper: Already tried to organize a group buy from Boston IT Germany collecting members from STH forum, the MOQ is 100 chassis from Ablecom. Period. 🙁

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