Key Lessons Learned
So let us take a step back here. This unit worked without issue for us. That is important because there is a fundamental difference between units that just do not work and ones that are rough around the edges and are comparatively weak. If you have one of these N5095 boxes, it would not make much sense to “upgrade” to a N5105 or N6005 box if we are being honest.
Our challenge is more with the price/ performance and power consumption. The difference between the N5105 and N5095 is usually $7-11. We now have many of these machines and the N5105 and N5095 performance is very close as is the power consumption.
Still, when it comes down to it, we think most of our readers would trade $7-11 upfront for 1-3W lower power consumption. Depending on where you are in the world, that difference can be made up in 1-2 years. If you have cheap power, then perhaps this is less of a concern and really either will work fine. It also did not use 5W more power than the N5105 so perhaps do not be fooled by the Intel Ark TDP spec, the power consumption is much closer in these systems.
We have also noticed that after we started reviewing these, the N5105 became more popular. Our sense is that the N5105 is going to be the dominant CPU in these going forward as it is probably the best price/ performance/ power mix of the three options. The N5095 is by no means bad, it is just not in the same sweet spot.
Overall, this is an interesting little system. It actually works perfectly well for what it was advertised to do. It provides four 2.5GbE ports with the Intel i225 (B3) NICs. There is a 4-core Intel Celeron N5095 processor. It runs fanless and quiet. For what was advertised it works well.
Also, instead of putting high-end memory and SSDs in this system, like we did recently with the ASUS PN51-S1 Mini PC, the entire platform is made for lower-cost memory and storage. That goes along with the theme of using the lower-cost CPU. We just think there should be a bigger price gap between the N5105 and N5095 versions. Without a significant gap like there is between the N5105 and N6005, we think the N5105 is a better option.
This was a fun unit to look at but was not one we wanted to review with a video just because it became repetitive. This will work with either pfSense or OPNsense and either physical or virtualized as we tested it with those two OSes bare metal and virtualized with Proxmox VE. Our advice is still to get the N5105 versions of these if you can.