New Fanless 4x 2.5GbE Intel N5105 i226-V Hardware Overview
Starting with the front of the unit, we see something that is quite different from older generations. We still have a similar power button, a clear CMOS button, and two USB 3 Type-A ports. Next, we get a Type-C port and a TF slot so if you have a microSD card, you can mount it there.
On the rear of the unit, we also see upgrades. Here we get two USB 2.0 ports. A quick note is that if you use iKVM devices like TinyPilots shown in the accompanying video, you want to use the USB 3 ports, not these USB 2.0 ports. There are now two display outputs with a HDMI port and DisplayPort. Next, we have the four RJ45 ports and a DC 12V input.
The unit has the newer style of perforations for an optional 40mm fan (shown in the video.) Inside though, we get a slightly different layout.
At the top, we have the M.2 2280 slot, but below it, we have a new WiFi slot. This used to be mPCIe on older units. The placement just below the M.2 is not one we love since M.2 drives tend to be heat sources in passively cooled chassis.
The SATA data and power connectors connect via a cable to a drive.
The motherboard on this one is the CW-N5105-4L V4. Notably, our i225 version of this with the V4 style motherboard did not have a sticker here, but appears to be the same unit with different NICs.
There are two SODIMM slots. A quick tip on these is that if you purchase pre-configured units, they tend to come with a single SODIMM to lower power and heat generation. Sometimes, these units also have memory speeds on the DIMMs of DDR4-2666, but the actual running speed is much lower. This unit had 2666MT/s speeds as it was supposed to.
One major change for V4 was the NICs. The NICs in this system are Intel i226-V NICs. The previous generations were Intel i225, although in the video, we have the V4 motherboard with i225 NICs as well. One of the big changes with V4 is moving the NICs to the other side of the motherboard. In previous generations, the four NICs would be next to the RJ45 ports on the same side as the SSD and memory.
Now, they have moved to the back side of the motherboard.
This allows for an interface to be established between the NICs on the motherboard and the chassis. It seems like a better design than having the 1.3W TDP (x4 = ~5W) of heat generation dissipating in the chassis next to the hot air chamber with the SSD and SODIMM.
On the CPU side, the Intel Celeron N5105 has a small copper block and at least had thermal paste connecting the CPU and block. We have had some readers report getting units without paste or air gaps here.
This was not the case with ours, but it is something to check if you see high CPU temps.
Quality on these is getting better, it seems, but it is also a bit of a leap of faith that you are going to get a new unit since returning one is going to be more painful than an average Costco or Amazon purchase.
Next, let us get to the performance.
Intel Celeron N5105 Performance
We have now reviewed several of these Intel Celeron N5105 units. This unit was in-line with others we have tested, and within a 1% test variation from the i225 V4 version, we tested with the same CPU.
Python Linux 4.4.2 Kernel Compile Benchmark
This is one of the most requested benchmarks for STH over the past few years. The task was simple, we have a standard configuration file, the Linux 4.4.2 kernel from kernel.org, and make the standard auto-generated configuration utilizing every thread in the system. We are expressing results in terms of compiles per hour to make the results easier to read:
Here we can see that on a percentage basis, we have a large jump from the J4125 units we first reviewed.
7-zip Compression Performance
7-zip is a widely used compression/ decompression program that works cross-platform. We started using the program during our early days with Windows testing. It is now part of Linux-Bench.
At the same time, the performance between the Celeron N5095, N5105, and N6005 are very close. Having four cores and the same architecture really means there is only so much differentiation.
OpenSSL is widely used to secure communications between servers. This is an important protocol in many server stacks. We first look at our sign tests:
Here are the verify results:
Our general guidance at this point is to get the N5105 over the N5095 and N6005. If you want more performance, then the real upgrade is moving to something like the Core i5/ Core i7 units that will use more power but offer more performance.
Next, let us get to power consumption, key lessons learned, and final words.