iXsystems TrueNAS Mini X+ ZFS NAS Review


iXsystems TrueNAS Mini X+ Management

In terms of management, many of our readers are accustomed to TrueNAS, so instead, we wanted to focus on a big differentiator here: IPMI. The system utilizes a Supermicro motherboard which means that one can use the standard Supermicro server tooling to manage the system. There is even the normal WebGUI for the management interface.

TrueNAS Mini X Plus Supermicro IPMI 1
TrueNAS Mini X Plus Supermicro IPMI 1

In this web management platform one can remotely reboot the system, get an HTML5 iKVM to remotely troubleshoot the NAS, mount remote media for future OS installation, and all of the other features we would expect.


This may not seem like a big feature at first, but it is a feature that current consumer NAS vendors omit to save costs. Since this unit is not silent, it is likely to be tucked away out of sight and so having remote management is important.

On the TrueNAS side, we are currently on TrueNAS Core 12. If you have been using FreeNAS for years, TrueNAS Core is the new version unified with the company’s higher-end storage offerings. We get features such as a more robust UI.

TrueNAS Core 12 Dashboard
TrueNAS Core 12 Dashboard

One of the other nice features that we get is a more opinionated setup system. For example, instead of simply presenting disks and prompting a user to decide what they want to do with them, there is a new “Suggest Layout” feature that uses rules to make a best-guess at a configuration. This direction of having an opinion, but then allowing a user to alternatively do what they want is a much-improved experience to make the platform easier to use. Along with that, there are a number of contextual help notes that explain what is going on in the UI.

TrueNAS Core 12 Create Pool With Suggest Layout
TrueNAS Core 12 Create Pool With Suggest Layout

The plugin system is here. One can use jails or traditional virtual machines to add additional functionality, but this is all in the FreeBSD world. As iXsystems transitions to TrueNAS Scale over time and the Linux ecosystem, we will get more industry-standard container and virtualization solutions. That is not to say the FreeBSD implementations are bad. It is just that, for example, finding a Docker container with an application today is likely easier than finding a TrueNAS Core Plugin. Likewise, since major cloud providers such as AWS utilize KVM virtualization, there are likely more VMs running on KVM hosts than bhyve hosts today.

TrueNAS Core 12 Plugins
TrueNAS Core 12 Plugins

A nice feature that the company offers with the pre-built system is enclosure management. In the web UI we can see the disks, their location in the system, and their status. This is a nice feature to ensure that if a drive fails it can be replaced reliably and potentially by remote hands. One can take a screenshot of the failed device and send it to remote hands to make it clear which drive needs to be serviced.

TrueNAS Mini X Plus With TrueNAS Core Enclosure Management
TrueNAS Mini X Plus With TrueNAS Core Enclosure Management

While this is still TrueNAS Core running on a Supermicro platform, there are small customizations such as this enclosure view. One can also see small items such as the fans are not tripping Supermicro IPMI alerts that can cause issues on self-built systems.

We will note that our system did not come compliant with current California law regarding default passwords. The TrueNAS Core had a default root/ abcd1234 password and the Supermicro IPMI was ADMIN/ADMIN.

According to California law (California SB327), these passwords must either be unique or must prompt for a mandatory change as of 2020. Since iXsystems is in California and sells to California customers, we expect that his aspect will change. You can read more on this in Why Your Favorite Default Passwords Are Changing. That may cause your experience to be different from our review system.

iXsystems TrueNAS Scale

Looking ahead, TrueNAS Scale is coming. It is currently in Alpha and not designed for using as a production system. Again, there are still many rough edges and incomplete features, but TrueNAS Scale is fairly clearly going to be the future of the platform. This is a Linux-based distribution that will add features beyond managing a single node. We will get clustered storage, container operations, and KVM virtualization.

TrueNAS Scale Dashboard
TrueNAS Scale Dashboard

While, again, this is not ready at the time of this review, and we would not imagine using it for production in the next 9-12 months, a TrueNAS Scale solution would allow one to deploy three of these Mini X+ NAS units and have an edge cluster, not just a single unit. For the STH community, this has to be exciting.

Next, we are going to look at performance and power consumption.


  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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