The R86S Revolution Low Power 2.5GbE and 10GbE Networking


R86S Mini PC Internal Hardware Overview

Opening that bottom panel, we can see a lot of the unique features. First, there is a M.2 slot. We added a WD Blue SN570 to make it pop a bit more and show a configuration we expect many of these to be used in.

GoWin R86s Internal SSD Top 1
GoWin R86s Internal SSD Top 1

Here is the unit flipped and without the M.2 SSD. One can see a small fan. This fan is cooling the 10GbE NIC.

GoWin R86s Inside M.2 Slot Empty
GoWin R86s Inside M.2 Slot Empty

If that NIC looks like it is a familiar form factor, it should. This is built around an OCP NIC 2.0 card. Our unit has a NVIDIA-Mellanox ConnectX-3 dual 10GbE OCP NIC 2.0 card. One can see that the chassis is just large enough to fit the OCP NIC.

GoWin R86s Inside Showing NVIDIA Mellanox ConnectX 3 EN OCP NIC 2.0 And PCIe Cables
GoWin R86s Inside Showing NVIDIA Mellanox ConnectX 3 EN OCP NIC 2.0 And PCIe Cables

The riser with the OCP NIC 2.0 slot and the M.2 slot is connected via two ribbon cables. These cables connect to the motherboard. On this side, we can see a group of three Intel i225-V SLNMH (B3) NICs.

GoWin R86s Back Of Motherboard With Three Intel SLNMH Intel I225 V NICs
GoWin R86s Back Of Motherboard With Three Intel SLNMH Intel I225 V NICs

Pulling the top off, we can note that the motherboard is very integrated. This is not the platform if you want to swap components on. Our system has 16GB of memory in a dual channel DDR4-2933 configuration. There is also an 8GB option. There is a CNVi Intel AX201 WiFi 6 and Bluetooth NIC. There is even 128GB of onboard eMMC storage.

GoWin R86s Internal CPU Side With Memory And Intel AX201
GoWin R86s Internal CPU Side With Memory And Intel AX201

Looking at the chassis, we can see a copper block cooling the CPU. This is the active cooler for the unit. This solution is using the quad-core Intel Pentium Silver N6005. Overall, this active cooling has worked very well with 39C idle temperatures. That is lower than some of the fanless units we have reviewed. We should note that, again, we have the higher-end unit but there is a N5105 version available as well.

GoWin R86s CPU Cooler
GoWin R86s CPU Cooler

Here are the unit’s three main parts with the motherboard in the middle.

GoWin R86s Internal Three Components
GoWin R86s Internal Three Components

Next, let us get to performance before talking OSes.


  1. This would be a great firewall device except two concerns. First, I’m not sure that the CPU is beefy enough to do OpenVPN or Wireguard at full 1 Gbe. Second, none of these devices have IPMI, which makes administration annoying because they normally run headless, but sometimes you need to hook up monitor and keyboard to do something. These devices really need IPMI to be a server.

  2. Pros:
    1) yeah, finally SFP+ in a small package!
    2) extra 2.5gbe for backup connectivity.
    3) 8G or 16G RAM good enough for router stuff with the ability to potentially run other services

    1) I can only see it on aliexpress? No Warranty, I’m guessing limited support
    2) “The included power adapter does not have US regulatory markings” … this is a major turn off.. they could change stats at any point and ship junk..
    3) Mellanox. This is just my first hand experience. I used to use them as they were cheaper 10G solutions for used lab equipment compared to intel (typically) for sfp+ stuff but recently I’ve been having issues (more so on the windows side of things, and even throughput on Linux) compared to the intel sfp+ solutions. I’m guessing Mellanox because it’s cheaper?

    Ultimately I’m glad to see this getting the attention I’m looking for (small form factor 10G!) but I don’t think this is the right unit for me.


  3. mlnx4, dpdk. i225/6 just saying youve been sleeping on this for too long. when are you gonna write up

  4. Aaron I don’t understand. That’s a garbage CPU, with less memory, storage, 1/4th the networking (even without the 10GbE that has less), less router OS support (pfSense/ OPNsense), and so forth. I don’t see how that is even in the same league. That’s closer to the fanless 4x 2.5g that are only like $40 more but are 2x the performance than that junk.

  5. @michael such as? more examples?

    This is right on the lines of what I’m looking for to replace an old 4 port 1gb opnsense firewall I use today (i7 4500U). Seriously tempted as it looks like it ticks all my boxes, so if there’s any alternatives I haven’t been able to find them!

  6. @patrick Would this have enough cooling to successfully use copper 10Gb SFP? For a while I was using a fanless Mikrotik switch but depending on the brand I had temperatures of 65 to 95 degrees C on the SFP.

  7. Thanks Patrick & the entire STH team for their remarkable efforts. To be honest I was waiting for this review since you showed the device earlier. Is it possible to swap the OCP 2.0 cards with different option? Bothe NVMe & OCP 7 connected via PCIe 3.0 can you confirm both are using 4 lanes each

    Thanking you again

  8. Lol can someone please remove that symbol – it was a shrug emoji but obviously emojis aren’t supported *facepalm*

  9. “As a quick note, we tried running the 10GbE SFP+ ports at 2.5GbE and 5GbE speeds, but the ConnectX-3 could not handle those speeds. Assume it is 1GbE or 10GbE.”

    Wait, are you saying it did not work at 2.5 and 5.0GbE with RJ45 copper transceivers running those speeds? I would think this has to do with the transceivers not the SFP+ ports or NIC. The transceivers convert those speeds to 10GbE so how or why should they not work on this box?!?


  10. Reason I care is that I would need a 5GbE connection to my modem. My current Mellanox MCX312A-XCBT CX312A with one copper transceiver has no issues at 5.0Gb with my model running OPNsense.

  11. Hi Patrick, big thank you to you and your team for such a wonderful review of our Gowin R86S-G3 model.
    We will keep move to design more innovative items like this.
    For the next step, we will launch portable 5G CPE and 5G SASE device,they are still X86 base,and with N5105,N6005 Intel CPU.
    For any topics about R86S series Firewall Router, let’s talk!

    David from Gowin Solution The creator for R86S series network device.

  12. @Mike Ciccarelli Hi Mike,thank you for the comments.Here is the official for GW-R86S series firewall routers. Please directly contact me for further discussion.
    We are collecting the comments to develop the next generation with 10GbE ports!

  13. Would having 32GB of memory make a difference for STH’ers use-case with this system? I’m curious. I personally find 16GB to constraining when running a hyp. 32GB has become my bare minimum (even for a laptop). NB k8s != guest os functionality

  14. @itronin Well, 32GB Ram sounds interesting, and we planed to use thet to the next generation with 5G and Wifi,also CPU goes to Alder Lake S series.
    But, let’s make sample for the current GW-R86S-P and G series to test.
    As the creator,we are willing to try all the solutions based on your ideas or requets.

  15. I have used the 10gbe Onti (bought off AliExpress) sfp in this unit. It will connect internally at 10gbe,but will negotiate with 1, 2.5, 5 & 10 gbe network equipment.
    I am just waiting for an optical GPON to connect directly with my ISP.
    So far it copes really well with my WG VPN on full line capacity

  16. For the next version, I would like to see more USB ports.
    Also not sure if it’s possible, but having a POE ethernet port would be amazing, as it would allow me to directly plus in my Ubiquiti Access Point

  17. Which GBics were tested? I’m confused which SFP modules to get – and after intensive research – still can’t find a compatibility list (so not sure what to order) – Amazon has 10GTek and QSFPTEK – but none say compatible with NVIDIA-Mellanox ConnectX-3 OCP NIC 2.0 – in fact, the 10GTek stuff explicitly states “does not work with Mellanox” . . .

  18. Is their anyway to get pfSense to see the Wifi Adaptor? seems pfSense does not support the Intel WiFi 6 chip in this unit.. 🙁

    Love the unit, if we just had 6 ETH, with 2 SFP and the Ryzen 4C/8T CPU and 32GB ram.. even w/o Wifi I’d love this as a travel unit.. I’d load Proxmox with FortiGate VM on it for site integration jobs.

  19. I would love a follow-up with information on SFP module compatibility. It seems really hard to find devices that will support 10Gbase-T transceivers.

    This device just crosses the “take a punt” price.

  20. @David Chupp
    The workaround you posted works perfectly on this device with internal MMC storage & Proxmox, I built it tonight.

  21. So I would really like to understand the range on the WIFI. I would like to know if I could place it in the center of my basement and easily connect to my second floor devices or device out in the yard. Compared to a dedicated WIFI Access Point that I can get for a little more than half the price, this device offers some pretty great features. Also, have you tried PFSense on it as well and have any insight on network support for the interfaces.

  22. Sorry for the late reply.

    Here are the SFP modules I have.

    This definitely works. I don’t have 5Gb equipement, but I can connect to my 2.5Gb NIC at the proper speed. The SFP module connect to the r86s at 10Gbe but negotiates directly with your other equipment at the intermediate speeds.

    I also have this for connecting directly to my FTTP internet. The XPON stick works fine, I just can’t get the right log in details for my particular provider and they won’t give them to me either.

    There is another module on amazon that should also work, but its nearly three times the price.

    Hope this helps.

  23. @Rodi I have a variant of these SFP+ “10GBase-T RJ45 SFP+ Module, 10G SFP+ RJ-45 Copper Transceiver for Cisco SFP-10G-T-S, Ubiquiti UniFi UF-RJ45-10G, Mikrotik, Fortinet, Netgear, D-Link, Supermicro, TP-Link (CAT.6a/CAT7, 30m) 2 Pack” bought on Amazon last time about eight months ago. They work at all speeds in my Melanox cards:

    Amazon ipolex 10Gbase-T SFP+ Module

    I bought the two packs.

  24. I have a R86S G3 (N6005, 16GB / 128 GB, NVMe), running Linux 5.15.0 (Ubuntu 22.04 LTS), FTLX8571D3BCV-IT (10 base SR), 9000 MTU.

    Temperatures: CPU max ~75 C under stress-ng, NVMe max ~50 C.

    Bandwidth in/out/route (no iptables) (iperf3): TCP (128K): 9.90 Gbits/sec, UDP (36b): 800 Kpps
    Wireguard in (iperf3): TCP (128K): 7.32 Gbits/sec, UDP (36b): 450 Kpps

    Very good for such a small box.

    The NVMe is limited by the PCIe speed though, maxes out at ~800 MB/s.

  25. A few complaints: the fan is a bit loud, but understandably so as it needs to cool 10W CPU + 2×10 GBe, and the box came with Intel AX201 which does not support AP mode over 5G.

    I am getting a R86S B3 (N5100, 16 GB / 128 GB, NVMe), fanless, + AMD RZ608 WIFI (MT7921K). This should be ~10% slower, but more than enough for a travel router, silent, and hopefully different challenges in setting up WIFI AP.

  26. The AX201 does support AP mode over 5G but it does it in a really really stupid way, where it listens for other networks in it’s area to figure out what country it is in. It will not let you set the country code manually. This is entirely Intel’s fault (or regulators fault) and it can be remedy’d by starting 2.4Ghz on AP mode, then the 5Ghz can “see” which country it’s in from the 2.4 specs, and then will let you start AP mode.

  27. Also to David Chow – you guys have made a really wonderful product, the case is nice, and everything looks very professional. The price for the top-end version is a little high (over $499 is high for a home router) so it is shame that there are no DIMM slots as then i’d have probably bought the 8G version with the plan to upgrade to 18G if it wasn’t enough. Instead I buy a Rock5b with Intel X520, but the Mellanox cards are good too, and because this is x86 i would have prefered to have an R86S. I just don’t have the money right now – soon I will buy one. It would be a BIG help if you had an official store on Aliexpress, I tried for a long time to find an official store or website, and the website I did find looked very bad with links not working, but the product’s quality speaks for itself, it’s clearly very well made and very well thought out.

  28. Anyone an idea regarding the FAN? Can this be replaced with a silent one? I am afraid it makes noise when i watch movies etc. :/
    Also, can the wifi nic(s) be replaced by another one?

  29. Hi Guys,we have launched a new version GW-R86S-G4 with Intel N6005+32GB RAM+128GB EMMC+3*2.5G Intel i225V+2*10.0G SFP+ Port. Does anyone want to try?
    We also plan to release a new 5G SASE Device with the battery /5G module/Wifi6 inside.I will invite STH team to make a professional video review again.It should be in the middle of April.

  30. Where is the official store to buy R86S?
    Are there any plans to develop an AlderLake-N series version such as N100 or N200?
    In my country there are wireless restrictions, so I would be happy to have a model without WiFi, with SPF+ port and a lot of RAM on it.

  31. @acc about Where is the official store to buy R86S?
    Are there any plans to develop an AlderLake-N series version such as N100 or N200?
    In my country there are wireless restrictions, so I would be happy to have a model without WiFi, with SPF+ port and a lot of RAM on it.
    Gowin Updates on AlderLake-N series , we have started the layout.We will get the motherboard demo in the middle of this April.
    Based on your request,we will keep M.2 Slot for Wifi and for Nvme SSD,and try 8GB/16GB/32GB RAM.

  32. So, I have a stupid question. I have ATT fiber and the connection from them is SFP that plugs into their BGW320-505 modem/router. Can this R86S unit take the SFP from ATT as an uplink so I can use one of the eth ports and connect it to a switch?

  33. We plan to launch the R86S-T and R86S-U models at the end of April
    Data of R86S-U4:
    Intel N6005 CPU+32GB Ram+128GB eMMC+3*2.5GB Intel i226v+2*10.0Gbe SFP+Lan por+Type-C power in,we also upgrade the cooling system
    Is that sound good to you? Send me message for details.

  34. Hi David – pretty excited about this product. I think you’ve hit a niche, it’s hard to find mini pcs with 10gbe capability. For me I’m wanting to use them as mini server nodes in my homelab, so beefier CPU is important, within the confines of the form factor and heat requirements, of course (not expecting 65W CPUs).

  35. Hi Joe,thank you for the comments,the Intel N5105 and N6005 are with 10W CPU, still works well especialy with 32Gb Ram, the only problem is about cost and heat.
    We are design the next generation of Gowin R86S with Alder Lake N100 start,that would be very powerful but no problem with heat or noisy.And the new motherboard will be used to design a new 1U server for homelab.That’s the plan.

  36. Updates
    We launched the new model R86S-U4, which is upgraded from R86S-G4, main features
    InteI® Pentium® Silver Processor N6005 4M Cache,Up to 3.3GHz
    Intel® UHD Graphics 450MHz-900Mhz ,support eDP/DP/HDMI/MIPI-DSI,support 60Hz 4K
    32GB Ram,128GB eMMC,1*M.2 NVME SSD slot
    3*intel i226V 2.5G /2*10G SFP+ lan port
    Type-C Charger 12V-4A

  37. Hi SP,we are going to launch it on about 15th,June for the R86S-N
    Also,we will invite STH team to make the professional review as the first one.
    The next generation of models will come with N100 and N300 series.

    David/Gowin R86S Team

  38. Tnx David, will wait for it!
    Just for info, SFP+ of the board support also 10gbit copper or only fibre? Copper normally win a little high in temperature so not sure if supported.
    Best regards

  39. Hi David,

    Any plans to make a fanless version of the RS86 in a non-rack form factor? Would be nice as a 10 Gbit router, assuming it can handle some NAT + firewall rules without dropping throughput performance too much. I don’t really need WiFi.

    Did anyone test the performance in that kind of usecase?

  40. Hi Dmitri, we have launched the NEW R86S-N series with 3 models
    GW-R86S-N100A with Intel N100/8GB/128GB/Wi-Fi
    GW-R86S-N100B with Intel N100/16GB/128GB/Wi-Fi
    GW-R86S-N305A with Intel i3-N305/16GB/128GB/Wi-Fi
    If you need datasheet,please mail to

  41. Hi David,

    Any plans to make a fanless version of the RS86 in a non-rack form factor? Would be nice as a 10 Gbit router, assuming it can handle some NAT + firewall rules without dropping throughput performance too much. I don’t really need WiFi.

    Did anyone test the performance in that kind of use case?

    REPLY to Blunden, YES, we started to design the new fanless model!

  42. Hello everybodies

    After reading all coments on the R86S (and on servertherhome ypoutube channel) i ve just buy one R86S (the R86S-U4 the most exepensive lol).
    I ve not succesfully install promox on the emmc even after i have read the tip to modify the python script.
    I am really disapointed to didn’t install ESXCI 6.5 succesfully (who have tje driver for all the lan interfaces), still trying why my usb didn’t boot … at last ESXI 7.0.3 boot and 8.0 also (but no lan support, i can’t see any of the 5 lan ports)… if anybody have a good tip 😉


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