Low-power 2023+ Intel N & U series boards (all form factors) + info on turnkey solutions


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Some of us need or want a low-power NAS/server, either as a main or secondary storage device, the latter e.g. for a cheap off- or on-site backup solution. A good latest-gen Intel-based low-power DIY server/NAS build would probably be using the N series or U series CPUs (2023 and later). Most of the N-series CPUs will work with passive cooling, but will of course still need airflow to prevent thermal throttling under heavy load.

 

CPUs (listed by year):

Spoiler

2023

N-series (2–8 modified efficiency cores, no hyperthreading)

U-series (1 hyperthreaded performance core + 4 modified efficiency cores)

Series overview

Notes

 

You get the bigger bang with the U series: with 2 memory channels and up to 96GB of RAM instead of only 32GB (or 48GB?), one performance core with hyperthreading, and a lot more PCIe lanes: 8 x PCIe 4.0 (CPU) + 12 x PCIe 3.0 (chipset). But I'm not seeing any U series boards yet, though the first ones might become available in 2024.

 

The current N series CPUs/chipsets have 9 lanes of PCIe 3.0, two potential PCIe 3.0 slots (x2 + x1), which could be enough for a NAS board with a 10GbE NIC and seven to twelve SATA ports (2 native + 5–10 via x2+x1 PCIe to SATA controllers), if you forgo an M.2 SSD and cut back on other connections, which (I fear) most manufacturers probably won't do. You could also use the M.2 WiFi slot to add an additional NIC with an adapter card.

As of EOY 2023 only one N-series board has been released as a dedicated NAS board (Changwang), but the next months or years will surely yield a lot more options, so I thought we could have a dedicated topic on N & U series boards of any form factor, whereas I think that most will come as mini ITX. However, it is definitely easier to expand a board into a basis for a home NAS/server system using the Micro ATX form factor.

 

If you find any of these boards, and if they aren't listed yet, please post about them here. That would be awesome.

 

Boards announced or released in 2024 & mentioned in this thread so far (listed by form factor & CPU):

Spoiler

Mini ITX

 

N97 (0+4C/4T, 3.6GHz, 12W, active)

  • Biostar BIADN-IHT

 

N100 (0+4C/4T, 3.4GHz, 6W, passive)

  • Biostar BIADN-IHT

 

i3-N305 (0+8C/8T, 3.8GHz, 15W, active)

  • Biostar BIADN-IHT

 

Boards announced or released in 2023 & mentioned in this thread so far (listed by form factor & CPU):

Spoiler

Micro ATX

 

N100 (0+4C/4T, 3.4GHz, 6W, passive)

  • ASRock N100M

 

Mini ITX

 

N100 (0+4C/4T, 3.4GHz, 6W, passive)

  • ASRock N100DC-ITX
  • Asus N100I-EM-A
  • Asus Prime N100I-D4 / N100I-D4-CSM
  • Changwang CW-ADLN-NAS
  • ECS EliteGroup ADLN-I
  • ECS EliteGroup ADLN-I3 / ADLN-I3 IPC
  • Maxtang ALN-10

 

i3-N305 (0+8C/8T, 3.8GHz, 15W, active)

  • Changwang CW-ADLN-NAS
  • ECS EliteGroup ADLN-I3 / ADLN-I3 IPC
  • Kontron K3931-N6
  • Maxtang ALN-10

 

N200 (0+4C/4T, 3.7GHz, 6W, passive)

  • Changwang CW-ADLN-NAS
  • ECS EliteGroup ADLN-I
  • ECS EliteGroup ADLN-I3 / ADLN-I3 IPC
  • Kontron K3931-N4
  • Maxtang ALN-10

 

N97 (0+4C/4T, 3.6GHz, 12W, active)

  • ASRock Industrial IMB-1005J / IMB-1006J / IMB-1007J
  • Kontron K3931-N2
  • Maxtang ALN-10

 

N50 (0+2C/2T, 3.4GHz, 6W, passive)

  • Aaeon MIX-ALND1
  • Kontron K3931-N1
  • Maxtang ALN-10

 

i3-N300 (0+8C/8T, 3.8GHz, 7W, passive)

  • ECS EliteGroup ADLN-I
  • ECS EliteGroup ADLN-I3 / ADLN-I3 IPC
  • Maxtang ALN-10

 

N95 (0+4C/4T, 3.4GHz, 15W, active)

  • Changwang CW-ADLN-NAS

 

U300E (1+4C/6T, 4.3GHz, 15W, active)

  • DFI RPP171 / RPP173

 

U300 (1+4C/6T, 4.4GHz, 15W, active)

  • n/a

 

IoT & industrial boards etc. not suitable or available for NAS/server builds

  • Aaeon EPIC-ADN9
  • Aaeon Up Squared Pro 7000
  • Asus N200S-IM-AA etc.
  • Biostar BIRPL-PAT (U series)
  • Kontron K3921-H1 & K3921-N1 / -N2 / -N4 / -N6 (Mini STX)
  • Kontron K3932-N2 / -N6 (Mini ITX; N97/i3-N305; sold for industrial projects only)
  • MSI IPC MS-CF03
  • Windro WD-N100M etc. (Mini ITX; can only be ordered in bulk)

 

Other low(er)-power boards mentioned (neither N nor U series)

  • Minisforum AR900i

 

Turnkey solutions announced or released & mentioned in this thread so far (listed by year)

Spoiler

2024

  • Shenzhen Gowin GW-BS-1UR1-10G (N100)
  • Shenzhen Gowin GW-BS-1UR2-25G / Shenzhen Gowin GW-BS-1UR2-10G (i3-N305)
  • Ugreen NASync DXP2400 / DXP4800 (N100)

 

2023

  • Aoostar R1 (N100)
  • TerraMaster F2-424 / F4-424 (N95)
  • TerraMaster F4-424 Pro (i3-N305)
  • ZimaCube Personal Cloud (N100)


Starting off, it seems that Kontron will soon be releasing six industrial mini-ITX boards using the N series chips, the K3932-N series and the K3931-N series. The former comes with either the N97 (-N2, 4 cores, 12W) or the i3-N305 (-N6, 8 cores, 15W). I will ignore these two here, because they are sold "for projects only" and have a cFAST expansion slot, which would probably complicate a home NAS transformation. The more standard boards would be from the latter K3931-N series:

https://www.kontron.com/en/products/k3931-n-mitx/p178833

K3931-N1: N50 (2 cores, 6W)
K3931-N2: N97 (4 cores, 12W)
K3931-N4: N200 (4 cores, 6W)
K3931-N6: i3-N305 (8 cores, 15W)

 

These Kontron boards have not been set up for small server/NAS use, so out of the box these come with only one SATA port.

They have an internal USB Type-A port, perfect for the Unraid boot drive. (Unless you want to use eUSB via USB 2.0 header.)

They have one open PCIe x4 slot, 3.0 x1 electrical, so you could actually add a 10GbE SFP+ NIC, e.g. a Mellanox MCX311A-XCAT ConnectX-3EN, but you would probably only get maximum speeds of about 600 MB/s. (Still better than the built-in 2.5GbE connection, though.)

For more SATA ports, you'd have to use the three built-in M.2 slots:

2 ports with an M.2 B Key adapter (PCIe 3.0 x1)
2 ports with an M.2 M Key adapter (PCIe 3.0 x1)

 

Note #1: these adapters should support AHCI and NCQ

Note #2: apparently the M.2 Key E slot is CNVio only, so Key A+E SATA adapters won't work.

That would give you 5 SATA ports in total. (Depending on the M.2 adapters, you might get this up to effectively 7 ports, if you go for HDDs.) Or you add a SATA controller card with two or four additional ports, but you would be stuck with the built-in 2.5GbE NIC.

 

Looking forward to more boards.

Edited by eicar
Biostar
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Another option are the boards by Maxtang, the ALN-10 series. At some point there will probably be similar (or the same) boards from other Chinese manufacturers. (This is probably the best chance to eventually get an N series board with lots of on-board SATA ports, similar to the Topton N5105 "NAS motherboards".)

https://www.maxtangpc.com/industrialmotherboards/223.html#parameters

Specs with block diagram: https://www.maxtangpc.com/uploadfile/file/20230310/1678434120737809.pdf

Also offers variants with the N200 (4 cores, 6W) and N300 (8 cores, 7W) CPUs in addition to the N50, N97, N200 and i3-N305, which you get with the Kontron boards.

 

Slight disadvantage: only DDR4, not DDR5. (Why a disadvantage? DDR5 has better performance, especially with single DIMMs.)

One advantage is that the PCIe x4 slot is 3.0 x2 electrical, so you would get much better network speeds with a NIC.

One SATA port.
1 internal USB Type-A
1 M.2 slot at x1 SATA speed
1 M.2 Key E slot (x1)

Problem is that the two M.2 slots are stacked, so you probably can't use two M.2 to SATA adapters, unless you use an M.2 extender.

For a couple of additional SATA ports, you would still be able to use the PCIe slot with an HBA, though, but would lose on potential network connectivity upgrades, so all in all, the Kontron models are imho slightly superior, even if they only come with a PCIe 3.0 x1 slot.

 

Looking forward to more boards.

Edited by eicar
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  • eicar changed the title to Low-power 2023+ Intel N & U series boards (all form factors)

This would not work with the N series boards… simply too few PCIe lanes. A board with a U series chip would definitely work in that regard. But I assume it would have to be a Micro ATX board for more than one PCIe slot. At any rate, there aren't any U series boards yet afaik.

 

But you could always go for a mini ITX that supports the last Celeron/Pentium generation. It's not the brand new mobile N series in terms of power efficiency—they are desktop CPUs after all—, but probably quite close. Alongside the W680 models, ASRock Rack has two so-called "Deep Mini ITX" boards, the Z690D4ID-2T models, and the deeper form factor lets you install up to 128 GB of RAM instead of the usual 64 GB you get with a standard Mini ITX. They already come with dual 10GbE RJ45 ports, so you don't need a NIC, unless you want to go for SFP+. (Fibre saves additional power over copper.) The standard model uses the Intel X710-AT2, and the second model uses the Intel X550, which afaik has a slightly narrower operating temperature range. (And only PCIe 2.0 instead of 3.0, I think.) The two boards have one gen5 x16, which according to ASRock support can be bifurcated to x8/x8, but you'd then need a passive splitter/riser x16 —> x8 + x8. All the other PCIe components are available via OCuLink connectors, with two on-board gen4 M.2 slots.

Edited by eicar
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Asus has three passively cooled boards with the N100 (4 cores, 6W), which at the end seem a little inferior against the Kontron.

Prime N100I-D4: https://www.asus.com/motherboards-components/motherboards/prime/prime-n100i-d-d4/techspec/
Prime N100I-D4-CSM: same as above, only with ACC Express support
N100I-EM-A: https://www.asus.com/networking-iot-servers/aiot-industrial-solutions/industrial-motherboards/n100i-em-a/techspec/

Right off the bat: these support only DDR4, and Asus writes that they "recommend that you use 16GB or less memory module", which means to me that it might support 32GB of DDR4 RAM like the Maxtang boards, but that Asus doesn't officially support it (yet).

Prime N100I-D4

Same: 1 SATA port, 1 PCIe 3.0 x1
Different: no internal USB Type A, so you would need an eUSB solution for the Unraid boot drive (USB header), if you don't want to stick a flash drive on the outside

Similar: the boards only have two M.2 slots (not stacked), one Key E, one Key M, and since they don't have the Key B slot, their Key M has PCIe 3.0 x2 instead of x1. So with a SATA build-out using M.2 adapter cards, you would get 7 SATA ports at (almost) full SATA SSD speed (1+2+4). If you use a 6-port SATA adapter in the M.2 Key M slot, you'd have two additional SATA options for an HDD backup drive, a cold storage drive etc.

N100I-EM-A

Judging from the manual & images, it has two SATA ports, no internal USB Type A, but a USB header, one PCIe 3.0 x1, and two M.2, one Key E, one Key M, which is however SATA (x1) only, so even though it has one additional built-in SATA port, you'd get only 6 instead of 7 SATA ports at (almost) full speed.

 

PS: there are also two N100 boards by ASRock… will post about them later.

Edited by eicar
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ASRock has one Micro ATX with the Intel N100 (4 cores, 6W, passive cooling), the N100M, which distributes the 9 PCIe 3.0 lanes of the Alder Point N chipset pretty nicely.

https://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/N100M/#Specification

x2: one PCIe 3.0 x16 slot (x2 electrial), so you would get almost full network speed with a 10GbE (SFP+) x4 NIC, and probably also decent speeds per port with a dual SFP+ X710-DA2 card
x1: one open PCIe 3.0 x1 slot, e.g. for an additional HBA for a maximum of 2+2 SATA ports
x1: two on-board SATA
x2: M.2 Key M PCIe 3.0 x4 (x2 electrical) for a maximum of 4+2 SATA ports
x1: LAN ports
x1: USB etc.

So with the right SATA controller and an M.2 adapters, you could build this out to eight SATA lanes at almost full SSD speed (2+2+4), or two more if you're going for HDDs and a 4-port x1 PCIe SATA card (2+4+4). Using a 5- or 6-port SATA adapter in the M.2 Key M would give you one or two additional SATA lanes for cold storage, backup drives etc. for a great total of 12. 🤯

The board only has DDR4 RAM, but 32GB are officially supported.

Even though it's passively cooled, it comes with two 4-pin chassis fan headers, which is nice.

No internal USB Type A port, so eUSB or chassis flash drive it is.

But for a DIY NAS this look like the best option so far. This board with an i3-N503 and DDR5 would be a low-power killer option, but the N100 should work too.
 

Edited by eicar
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The corresponding Mini ITX board with the N100 by ASRock is the N100DC-ITX:

https://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/N100DC-ITX/#Specification

Almost the same, but with only one open PCIe x4 slot (3.0 x2 electrical). So you'd have to choose between a NIC and a SATA HBA. If you go with a NIC you would lose SATA ports. If you choose an HBA, you would lose networking speed, but gain 4–8 SATA ports, depending on whether you want to use SSDs or HDDs, for a total of 12–14, plus 1 or 2, if you use a 5- or 6-port M.2 Key M SATA adapter.

Not bad at all, but I'd want faster network speeds, so between the two boards I'd probably go for the Micro ATX.

There are three more Mini ITX boards, but from ASRock Industrial:

IMB-1007J: https://www.asrockind.com/en-gb/IMB-1007J
IMB-1006J: https://www.asrockind.com/en-gb/IMB-1006J
IMB-1005J: https://www.asrockind.com/en-gb/IMB-1005J

These all come with the Intel N97 (4 cores, 12W) with mostly passive cooling, except for the 1006J.

The 1007J model comes with support for DDR5 32GB, the other two DDR4 16GB. All of them have an on-board USB Type A port.

The downsides: 1 on-board SATA, only x1 M.2 Key M, only x1 PCIe 3.0, so not much in terms of DIY SATA expansion.

So I wouldn't go for the ASRock's industrial Mini ITX boards either.

 

Looking forward to more boards.

Edited by eicar
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  • eicar changed the title to Low-power 2023+ Intel Processor boards (N & U series, all form factors)

ECS EliteGroup ADLN-I3 & ADLN-I3 IPC

 

ADLN-I3: https://www.ecs.com.tw/en/Product/Motherboard/ADLN-I3/specification

ADLN-I3 IPC: https://www.ecs.com.tw/en/Product/IPC/ADLN-I3_IPC/specification

Seems like a Mini ITX
Comes with i3-N305, i3-N300, N200 or N100
Only up to 16GB DDR4 supported, but might support 32GB

M.2 Key M and Key E are stacked.
PCIe 3.0 x1 slot (closed)
1 on-board SATA

But with a 6-port M.2 Key M adapter and a 4-port SATA PCIe x1 card, you will still be able to use this for seven SATA ports (1+4+2) at (almost) full SATA SSD speed… plus four auxiliary SATA ports (2+2)… or all of the ports if you go HDD only.

Though you might be able to use an M.2 extender to get around the problem of the stacked M.2 slots, and have space for a Key A+E adapter card and two additional SATA ports.
 

Edited by eicar
two versions: IPC & non-IPC
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  • 1 month later...

I wrote this blog post the other day exactly about this gap on the market. There seems to be an opportunity to release a nice board with the right specs for using unRAID. 

We need all that flexibility that is missing to build our power efficient setups. Several SATA ports, 2xM2 nVME´s, possibility to add a 10 Gbps network card, support for at least 64 GB RAM (ideally DDR5). I suggest we make some "noise" on social networks so Asrock and Asus see that these products are missing from their product line.  I hope we see them soon 😃 

  • Like 1
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 5 weeks later...

Not sure who's designing these but we don't want 4x 2.5Gb ports.

 

I would prefer a single intel 2.5Gb port or possible a 10Gb port that maybe can only do 7/8Gb speeds.

 

I would happily sacrifice the sata ports if it mean the extra pcie lanes could go to a pcie slot and then I could use a HBA card with sas expander build into my backplane.

 

This would make the whole server much more efferent.

 

My personal unraid server today has a 2.5Gb port on motherboard & I have a 10Gb card in but only use for direct network as saves power not needing to run a 10Gb switch 24/7. Plus only use 10Gb for big data transfers.

 

Also the current motherboards out there seem to use a bad sata expander chip which isn't compatible with APSM so you loose c states.

 

This one has 12x sata ports.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005004230895985.html

Edited by dopeytree
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The Changwang mainboards mentioned by @bulker are also available with the N95 and the 6W N200 according to this article: https://inf.news/en/digital/6714d88188125725ce046150eda492e4.html

 

But I'm with @dopeytree on this: one 2.5 GbE port would be enough… you could have two PCIe lanes (x4 physical) instead. The ASRock boards are better designed. It looks like Changwang just modified one of those N-series router boards. (The internal USB-A is nice, though.)

 

And yes, the JMB585 supports AHCI and NCQ, but not ASPM: https://www.jmicron.com/products/list/15 … but afaik it generally draws less power than HBAs with ASPM support. (But it wouldn't really matter with HDDs, I assume.) So yeah, I'd look for something using the ASM1166: that chipset supports ASPM, right?

 

Personally, I'm more inclined to go for a Micro-ATX board using the U300/U300E, once (if) those are released.

Edited by eicar
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I've gone crazy the last couple days researching this very topic. Glad I stumbled upon this thread! 

I feel like I must be picky, are there any options yet for a n200 with either 2 nvme M key (1 for SATA expansion) or 1 nvme, 6 SATA

  

DDR5 and 2 NICs is a bonus and 12v power would be preferable. I keep finding tiny PCs that are close to what I need but most require 19v or they only offer 1 nvme without another drive type for a cache. 

  

12v is only requested because I run my drives in a 5 bay with SATA pass through. Throwing a 19v board in the mix (like the tiny PCs or asrocks n100) requires me to have 2 PSUs 

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1 hour ago, eicar said:

The Kontron K3931-N4 has DC input (8–34 V, 10 A max, 125–130 W max) and an on-board 4-pin LP4 SATA power connector, and there are splitter cables like this one – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08R2K8MHP – to power five drives from one connector. Wouldn't that work?

 

EDIT: Some user say this cable fried their disks. Don't know why that would happen, but it would probably be wise to look for quality brands.

 

General DISCLAIMER: please anyone correct me if the are mistakes below.

As for boards with the N200 (6W like the N100, but slightly more powerful incl. more EUs on the iGPU), we currently have Kontron, Changwang, ECS and Maxtang. Changwang & ECS wouldn't work for you, because they don't have DC input, I think. So currently the only boards with DC input and an N200 option are the Maxtang ALN-10 N200, and the Kontron K3931-N4.

DC input: the Kontron has 8–34 V DC input (130 W maximum), the Maxtang boards have 12 or 19 V (maximum Watt unknown, but probably a bit lower).

RAM: Kontron has DDR5, Maxtang DDR4.

Ethernet: both have two ports, the Kontron 2.5 GbE + 1 GbE, the Maxtangs 2 x 2.5 GbE.

Native SATA: both only have one direct SATA port.

Native SATA M.2 Key-B: both have this (one lane of PCIe 3.0), which would be fine for an adapter card with two SATA ports, e.g. this one: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002MRKGLW … it comes with the ASM1061R chipset, which supports "partial and slumber power management states", which I assume is the aforementioned ASPM.

M.2 NVMe Key-M: only the Kontron has Key-M slot (at PCIe 3.0 x2 speed), which you can use e.g. for a cache volume.

PCIe expansion: both have a physical open x4 PCIe slot, both with PCIe 3.0 electrical, the Kontron with one lane (x1), the Maxtang with two lanes (x2); on the Kontron you could use this for 2+2 SATA ports, on the Maxtang for 4+4, using a PCIe SATA card, which would need to have the right chipset for ASPM. Note: "2+2" and "4+4" means you can use it for 2 or 4 SATA SSDs at (almost) full speed, or for 4 or 8 SATA HDDs.

Internal USB: both have an internal USB 2.0 Type-A port, good for an Unraid boot drive.

I would probably go for the Kontron board: with the Key-B adapter card and a PCIe SATA card it would yield a maximum of 7 SATA ports, or 5 usable ports for SATA SSDs at almost full speed, i.e. overall less than the Maxtang, but you'd have the option for an M.2 PCIe cache drive with 1.969 GB/s on paper (PCIe 3.0 x2).

However, in both cases the network would obviously be your bottleneck, and no option to upgrade with a PCIe NIC, unless you drop the M.2 cache drive on the Kontron and buy an M.2-to-PCIe adapter/riser.

For the SATA power issue see above. But good cables that aren't too long can handle 10 A, and with a 12 Volt line even 5 A should be OK to power five HDDs. So I assume that it could work. (But I'm not sure, of course, so someone would need to chime in.)

NOTE: the Key-E M.2 slots on both boards are CNVio only, i.e. you can't use it for a Key-E-M.2-to-dual-SATA adapter card.
 

Edited by eicar
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The Biostar BIRPL-PAT might be the first SBC motherboard that comes with a U300 option: https://www.biostar.com.tw/app/en/ipc/introduction.php?S_ID=90

 

But it's a 3.5 inch board without any PCIe expansion, and only one Key-M M.2 slot, so it's not suited for a NAS build.

 

But in general, you could do a lot with a U300 board: https://www.techpowerup.com/cpu-specs/processor-u300.c3072

 

Example using the available PCIe lanes etc. on a micro-ATX board:

  • PCIe 4.0 x4 slot (CPU-direct)
  • PCIe 4.0 x4 Key-M M.2 NVMe slot (CPU-direct)
  • 6 native SATA ports (chipset, x1 + x2)
  • PCIe 3.0 x2 Key-M M.2 NVMe slot (chipset)
  • PCIe 3.0 x4 slot (chipset)
  • PCIe 3.0 x1 slot (chipset)
  • 2 x 2.5 GbE LAN ports
  • 96 (2 x 48) GB DDR5 RAM (non-ECC)
  • built-in WiFi (CNVio)
  • internal USB 2.0 or 3.0 Type-A

The DMI only has PCIe 2.0 x8 speeds (ca. 3.938 GB/s), but definitely enough for a big SATA storage pool, so it would be a total banger. Maybe the BIRPL-PAT is the start for some nice NAS boards in the future.

Edited by eicar
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…and now the first Mini-ITX boards with the U300E: DFI RPP171 and RPP173. (Also available with the Core i3-1315UE, i5-1345UE & i7-1365UE.)

https://www.dfi.com/product/index/1633

These are industrial motherboards. Both have DC input, the 171 at 12 V, the 173 at 9–34 V. Otherwise, they seem to have the same specifications. More info here:

RPP171: https://www.rosch-computer.de/produkt/industrie-mainboards/atx-stx-itx-industrie-mainboards/mini-itx-mainboards/dfi/MI-RPP171
RPP173: https://www.rosch-computer.de/produkt/industrie-mainboards/atx-stx-itx-industrie-mainboards/mini-itx-mainboards/dfi/MI-RPP173

  • two native SATA ports
  • no internal USB Type-A
  • 3 x 2.5 GbE LAN
  • 64 (2 x 32) GB DDR5 non-ECC, possibly 96 (2 x 48) GB
  • 1 x PCIe 4.0 x4 slot
  • 1 x PCIe 4.0 x4 M-key M.2 slot
  • 1 x A-key M.2 slot
  • 1 x B-key M.2 slot
  • 1 x E-key M.2 slot (CNVio only)

So I assume you could use two M.2 slots (A-key & B-key) for two dual-port SATA-adapters for a total of 6 SATA ports. However, the only A+E-key SATA adapters I could find use the JMB582 chipset, i.e. no ASPM, so you'd probably have to go for an M.2 A+E-key to Mini-PCIe adapter like the Delock 62848; then you could add a dual or even quad SATA card with ASMedia chipsets.

The board only has two SATA power ports, so you'd need a lot of splitter cables.

Edited by eicar
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On 9/22/2023 at 1:05 PM, eicar said:

Some of us need or want a low-power NAS/server, either as a main or secondary storage device.

I don't quite understand the premise of this thread.

What do you mean by saying a low-power NAS?

If you mean overall power efficiency then all other things being equal, there's very little difference between the ultra low TDP CPUs and their more common brethren within the same generation.

In addition, a "regular" say 60W TDP CPU might actually be a more efficient solution overall.

Edited by Lolight
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On 12/14/2023 at 8:16 PM, dopeytree said:

Catching up on the zimacube and it looks like they have now added 2x pcie slots to the n100 board so that could be a good contender.

Limited by Ram Slots but it looks a nice low powered option.

Low powered as in more efficient?

Those are two different things.

Low TDP CPUs are specifically designed to be implemented in small-factor systems with heat dissipation constraints.

They don't have much (if any) additional efficiency built in them when compared to other CPUs within the same generational design.

 

As in Effeciency - energy used for the same amount of calculations.

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Someone above asked about a n100 NUC with 2x nvme - the BEST n100 builders are called CWWK they have a special carrier board that I think doubles or triples the nvme slots.

 

Look them up on server the home for reviews or buy on aliexpress & or amazon (cheaper on aliexpress). My n100 box with 8GB ddr5 ram & 128GB SSD cost £115.

 

TDP doesn't really mean sh*t.

My 11-900t is supposed to be a 35w TDP but in general the usage is 88w - 130w but this is with HBA, 128GB RAM, 2x nvme ssds, fans & 8x drives but they are spun down. 

 

I have a n100 box as a pfsense router as am interested in these low power boxes but I think I would order a proper motherboard so I can use PCIE lanes and have a 13th gen cpu with its energy efficient cores.

 

I'm going to wait and see what boards come out in the next few months and then maybe switch my system over. I now a HBA card kinda kills the energy efficiency but it would still be lower than at current.

 

Edited by dopeytree
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The more modern a CPU is, the more efficient it usually is. In terms of computational power, an N100 is probably on a par with a 6th or 7th gen Intel Core processor, but more efficient, both at load and idle. (And it should be, because it uses only modern E-cores.) In terms of money spent on hardware, there is probably no significant difference between a used 6th gen Intel Core CPU + board and a new N100 board. In the end, however, it boils down to average power consumption and energy costs, and prices are crazy in some places, e.g. here in Europe. So something like the N100 does have a place.

 

However, with a modern Intel Core CPU, you could actually build a very efficient server that might just outshine the N100 if you use the right components; case in point, Matt Gadient's 7W-idle build with an i5-12400 here: https://mattgadient.com/7-watts-idle-on-intel-12th-13th-gen-the-foundation-for-building-a-low-power-server-nas/ … which is definitely better than the current 12–15W idle of the Asrock N100M—maybe because of the crappy Realtek NIC on the Asrock?—, and way more potent at intermittent high loads of course. (You could probably build something similar with a W680 chipset board, but those are still expensive.)

Edited by eicar
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  • eicar changed the title to Low-power 2023+ Intel N & U series boards (all form factors) + info on turnkey solutions

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