iXsystems TrueNAS Mini X+ ZFS NAS Review


iXsystems TrueNAS Mini X+ Internal Overview

Starting with the storage and networking side of the chassis, we have a full-height expansion slot. In here, we have a Chelsio T520 dual SFP+ 10GbE NIC.

TrueNas Mini X Plus Chelsio T520
TrueNAS Mini X Plus Chelsio T520

All of the USB ports and SATA ports come from the main motherboard. As part of their build process, iXsystems does cable management but also selection. That includes getting right-sized breakout cables to connect to the backplane. Behind this cable header forest, one can see a SATA DOM for OS installation. This allows the TrueNAS Mini X+ to use all of its storage bays for storage, instead of the OS.

TrueNas Mini X Plus Internal SATA Cable Area
TrueNAS Mini X Plus Internal SATA Cable Area

The motherboard itself appears similar to the Supermicro A2SDi-H-TF with a slight twist. iXsystems is using an active cooler on the Atom C3758 SoC instead of a passive one that is commonly found on the standard motherboard. Here is what the I/O block looks like when not covered in cables.

Supermicro A2SDi 8C_ HLN4F Storage
Supermicro A2SDi Storage

The other side of the chassis has the 250W 80Plus Bronze FSP power supply and also allows access to the memory.

TrueNas Mini X Plus Internal PSU And Memory Side
TrueNAS Mini X Plus Internal PSU And Memory Side

The power supply has a number of extra cables so iXsystems bundles these and puts them into a lower airflow section of the chassis.

TrueNas Mini X Plus Internal PSU And Memory Side Close
TrueNAS Mini X Plus Internal PSU And Memory Side Close

In terms of memory, the Intel Atom C3758 is a dual-channel and two DIMM per channel design. Standard one gets 32GB of ECC memory in the system. Our unit was configured with 4x 16GB for 64GB of memory. As a quick note here, 16GB module pricing is starting to be impacted by shifts to 32GB and larger module sizes. That also means one has an opportunity to upgrade to configurations such as 4x 32GB RDIMMs in the future. iXsystems only says it is “Upgradeable to 64GB” but we had 128GB in this system at one point. Practically, 64GB is very reasonable here.

There are a few internal notes that we have. First, there are no front panel fans as we saw in the FreeNAS Mini XL Plus we reviewed. There seems to be mounting room for them, but they were not present in our configuration. That will mean that the expansion card needs to ensure it has proper cooling. The Chelsio T520 worked for us, but we can imagine hotter cards would need some sort of active cooler solution.

TrueNas Mini X Plus No Front Fans
TrueNAS Mini X Plus No Front Fans

The other item here is that iXsystems uses a custom fan to keep the chassis cool. There are fans for the PSU as well as the CPU, but this is the primary fan cooling everything else in the system.

TrueNas Mini X Plus Green Fan
TrueNAS Mini X Plus Green Fan

We will say that the way this is executed is nice. The fans are relatively quiet compared with some similar builds we have seen in the 4-bay version of the chassis. At the same time, it is far from silent since these fans all need to work. In a 25dba room, we had 36dba at 1m in front of the chassis (louder behind.) In a loud environment or in an equipment closet, this will not be noticeable. If you are thinking about this in your personal office that is otherwise quiet, it will be very noticeable. We cannot say that this is silent, but it is relatively quiet for this class of NAS.

Next, let us get to management.


  1. Nice review. Interesting product, especially because this integrator (or system builder) has chosen to use off-the-shelf parts with a minimum of custom modifications. To me that speaks of a platform that is easily supportable & fixable into the future by a tech savvy enduser.

    As for all of the screws that were encountered…be thankful that some, many, or all of them were not rivets…because you would be really screwed in that case.

    (all puns in this comment, bad or otherwise, are intentional)

  2. Every time I said I really want a “consumer” ZFS NAS, people will point me to TrueNAS Mini, but the whole thing just isn’t anywhere near Synology or Qnap. And with the constant security problem Qnap is having ( And QT Hero supporting ZFS isn’t available on all Model ), it looks like for ZFS you either do it like a pros with TrueNAS or build yourself.

    Otherwise you are left with BTRFS on Synology.

  3. @Ksec

    To be fair, many of the security problems QNAP is facing, is due to customer treating personal-clouds and forwarding ports to them, exposing them to the web, or using UPNP… Don’t expose it, and 99% of those problems go away.

    NAS’s boxes are not hardened internet servers – unfortunately this is a problem that is caused by QNAPs own marketing and documentation promoting this, and for some reason it seems they’d rather play wack-a-mole with bugs/vulnerabilities and suffer the reputation damage, than to properly educate their owners.

  4. @Kelv1n – I am not using Qnap or Synology, but I am curious to know how I can check if I have any forwarding ports open to web or enabled UPnP. Some local applications have port 8080 indication, but I don’t see them or any services listed in my Orbi router under “port forwarding.” Is 8080 port forwarding only local? Also, I think I have disabled UPnP on my router – – are there any other steps that I should be taking to ensure security? Should I blocking ports in my PC too, or just router?

  5. I do not like iXsystem’s policy about their products.
    It is impossible to buy the chassis only without motherboard.
    If you are a system builder and you do not want to buy supermicro motherboard, you can not do it.
    But the new chasis lokks good, and the extra 2 ssd slot is very usefull.
    The cooling solution is poor, but with noctua coolers this can be solved.

  6. Perfect build, did my own one with same mono, but a custom fit (low depth) rack case. Got 12 hdd slots (not hotplug and an awful lot more screws), a noctua cpu fan and 3 120mm one – hdd are the loudest part.

    Thanks for the review and the components are the ones I chose myself

  7. Truly great reviews. I’m using QNAP, Synolgy since ever & recently I started using DIY TrueNAS. Although QNAP & Synology are using relatively lower end CPUs like i5 & Xeon D compared to the Dual Xeon E5-2690V3 w 64GB ECC RAM their performance is superior compared to TrueNAS. They can easily saturate the 10Gb connection while TrueNAS has an erratic performance. I tried all the tweaks & tunable on the RAID-Z Pool (24HDD of 14TB configured as 4VDEV of 6HDD Raid-z) to improve performance but speed is nothing compared QNAP & Synology. To confirm it is not a hardware limitation I loaded Windows Server 2019 on the same hardware configured a RAID-5 Share and the throughput was absolutely amazing hence it is a TrueNAS issue. I wish someone can resolve this mestry
    My ZFS Poll setting “Disable Duplicate & ATime used a 1GB with standard sync, SMB share, enabled tunable & jumbo traffic”
    Again Thanks a million for the great review

  8. Is this case not just that one Supermicro ITX case? Looks literally identical, just with a different front bezel.

  9. I saw a YouTuber Tommy L say this was super quiet. He’s showing “quiet” in a room that looks like it has a 40db floor. I would never have thought that was a thing until I saw this.

  10. If only one could purchase the chassis separately. Out of all the cases available in the market this and the 8-bay one look the most promising (the 4-bay one is also great but a bit small). I know it is an Ablecom product but good luck finding someone willing to sell you 1-2 units.


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