Today we are going to have a review of a small system that is particularly interesting. This is the Intel i226-V fanless unit that has 4x 2.5GbE NICs. Over 2022, we have tested a number of AliExpress-sourced 2.5GbE units for use as firewalls and virtualization nodes. There is a newer revision of these units, and we wanted to discuss some of the pros and cons in our standard review format for these.
New Fanless 4x 2.5GbE Intel N5105 i226-V Node Overview
Since we are a bit behind in these reviews, we have started reviewing the units in pairs. We have a video for the Intel N5105 4x i225 V4 generation and the very similar i226 generation. Here is that combined video:
As always, we suggest opening this in its own YouTube browser, tab, or app for a better viewing experience. This is the first video on our new set, and we are using our YouTube memberships to fund buying new units like these to review.
We are going to focus on the newer 4x Intel i226-V version in today’s article, but expect the i225 V4 version to get a main site piece sometime around the US Thanksgiving holiday.
These units we configured with 16GB of memory and a 256GB NVMe SSD. The impact of that is that these units were more expensive than the barebones systems we normally get them for. We purchased this unit for $312.72, but then through AliExpress coupon magic, the total shipped price was only $306.78, and we DHL shipped these units at an additional charge.
Without the SSD and RAM, these can usually be had for under $170 these days, so it is less expensive just to add this yourself. You can get a name-brand SSD and RAM for their systems. The SSDs and RAM that come pre-configured in these are not known to be the most reliable. Still, it had been a while, so we wanted to check on these.
In this unit, we saw the Yue Tiger 16GB SODIMM (we have seen Yue Tiger memory before.) We also got a Ranxiana SSD. Let us just say, this is one of the more unique M.2 NVMe SSD designs we have seen.
We also ordered the Intel Celeron N5105 in these. That is really the sweet spot between the N5095 and N6005. It has lower power operation, thus lower operating costs, and a lower purchase price than the N6005, but at a very solid discount.
Still, for around $300 we received a ready-to-go system with OPNsense pre-installed. We would highly recommend installing your own operating system whether that is OPNsense, Proxmox VE, or pfSense (more on pfSense later.) These are coming from a third party vendor, not the OS vendor, so we always suggest re-installing.
Let us get to the hardware.