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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.