MikroTik CRS504-4XQ-IN Power Consumption and Noise
In terms of power consumption, the 60W PSUs are plenty. MikroTik rates the switch at 45W, and we saw just under that in our testing.
The breakdown is something like the switch uses ~11W at idle without any data cables. Adding 100GbE optical modules generally added ~5W each, so the switch used around 30W with 4 QSFP28 optics installed, but without traffic being passed. That leads to around 11W (what we observed) to 15W (max spec) for additional power consumption on the switch based on the amount it is utilized. Hopefully, that breakdown gives some sense of how much power consumption you can expect.
Still, let us get “real” for a moment. This entire switch uses notably less power than a NVIDIA BlueField-2 DPU with 2x 100GbE NIC ports. There are also a lot of different ways to power the switch, but we just used the AC power inputs.
The other side of this equation is the NIC side. 100GbE and 25GbE NICs have fallen in price dramatically, as with the PCIe Gen5 400GbE generations that take optics that have as much capacity as this entire switch, the 100GbE gear is now two generations old. That means we should see much lower-priced 100GbE and 25GbE NICs hit the market, especially on the excess and second-hand markets. Those 100GbE NICs also can use a lot of power. A typical 100GbE NIC with optics can use 25-27W inside a system. That is still much more power efficient than lower-speed networking, but it is part of the end-to-end upgrade power consumption. It also highlights just how low power this switch is since it is lower power than the NICs that go in servers pushing that same bandwidth.
In the video, we let you listen to the fans spinning at boot. At the same time, the switch often runs with fans at 0 RPM, even when modules are installed, if there is not a lot of traffic passing through the switch. This is very different from many of the larger 32x 100GbE switches that can be found relatively inexpensively online. It uses much less power and is much quieter.
At some point, it is time to call this momentous. The MicroTik CRS504-4XQ-IN is not the fastest switch with the highest port count. Many can find higher-speed switches with more ports and features second-hand for less. While one may pay less up-front for second-hand switches, this MikroTik unit is going to be much lower power. It will be more compact. In terms of noise, these often run nearly silently.
If you want to start using 100GbE or 25GbE today, this is probably the switch to get in a small environment (assuming you are not creating a lab around RoCE.) In many ways it reminds us of the MikroTik CRS305-1G-4S+IN, except as a better value. The CRS305 was around $5/ 1Gbps, while this is closer to $1.75/ 1Gbps. If you do not need fast networking, then there is little reason to get a switch like this. If you are buying inexpensive 25GbE and 100GbE gear or are getting ready for the new Xeon D-1700/ D-2700, Snow Ridge, and Parker Ridge (you can see an 8-core Intel Atom Snow Ridge platform in the video with 2x 25GbE and 8x 1GbE), then this MikroTik CRS504-4XQ-IN may be perfect. It does not have the SFP28 cages, breakout cables are needed, but it is less than half the price of the MikroTik CRS518-16XS-2XQ-RM, making it much more attractive for homelab and SMB use.
Just to give you some sense, we received our first unit a few months ago. I now have two of these, and Patrick has five of them in various rooms in his home (he also has ~1700 fiber strands in his walls.) Overall, this feels like it is servicing an edge market for lower port count 100GbE and 25GbE switches, with SMB-friendly features like a GUI and low noise, at an attractive price point. It is hard not to like this package if you do not need higher port counts.