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PC maker Topton is selling a Mini ITX motherboard designed for network-attached storage (NAS) systems. The 170 x 170mm motherboard supports up to 8 storage devices, thanks to 6 SATA 3.0 connectors and two M.2 2280 slots that can be used for PCIe 3.0 NVMe storage.

Available with a choice of Intel Celeron N5105 or Pentium Silver N6005 processors, the computer also has two SODIMM slots for up to 32GB of DDR4-2933 memory. The board is available from Topton’s AliExpress store for $196 and up.

The starting price gets you a barebones model with a 10-watt, 4-core, 4-thread Celeron N5105 processor based on Intel Jasper Lake architecture. You’ll need to supply your own memory and storage.

Prices for configurations with a higher-performance Pentium N6005 chip start at $237 for a barebones model. But Topton also allows you to configure the system with memory and storage, and a fully decked-out model with 32GB of RAM, a 1TB NVMe SSD and Pentium N6005 chip is just $472. You’ll still need to supply your own case and operating system though.

Ports include:

  • 4 x 2.5 Gbps Ethernet ports (Intel i226-V)
  • 1 x HDMI 2.0 port
  • 1 x DisplayPort 1.4a port
  • 2 x USB 3.0 Type-A ports
  • 2 x USB 2.0 ports

The board also has connectors for case and CPU fans, a TPM module, two SODIMM slots for dual-channel non-ECC memory, and support for Wake-on-LAN functionality.

Topton says the motherboard supports Windows 10, Windows 11, and Linux-based operating systems.

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  1. I replaced a 2 bay QNAP TS233 NAS with 28TB and Plex with this, and if it’s just that what you want to upgrade from, it’s more than you can wish for, especially when all costs combined are still lower than most 4-5 port synologys.

  2. Three things:

    There is no such thing as an Intel i266-V NIC. You meant the i226-V.
    People should know these are individual NICs and NOT an integrated 4-port switch. In other words: if you plan on trying to make a 2/3/4-port switch out of the NICs (using bridging), the bridging capability must be done in drivers (i.e. CPU-driven, no hardware offload capability). There are pros and cons to this (I think the pros outwin the cons), but people should be told this.
    The SATA controller is not mentioned. Here is the scoop: the Pentium N6005 on-die SATA controller only supports two (2) SATA600 ports, yet this has 6. I had to dig through their AliExpress store to find the answer: SATA ports 1-5 are controlled by a JMicron JMB585. That means the CPU’s on-die SATA controller is only used for 1 port (either Port 0 or Port 6, depending on if they start their numbering at 0 or 1. I suspect Port 0 though.) The JMB585 is a 5-port SATA600 controller running at PCIe 3.0 x2. PCIe 3.0 x2 provides a little under 2GBytes/sec of bandwidth. Five SATA600 ports can take up a total of 5*600MB/sec worth of bandwidth, which is roughly 3GBytes/sec. Thus, PCIe 3.0 x2 does not provide enough bandwidth for 5 SATA ports to be used at maximum speed all simultaneously. Considering we have SATA SSDs which can push 550-575MB/sec each, this system would not be good for a NAS. PCIe 3.0 x2 can’t even handle 4 ports for bandwidth (2.3GBytes/sec); JMicron should have made a 4-lane (x4) version, which would have provided a little under 4GBytes/sec worth of bandwidth, which is enough for 5 ports. JMicron also has a long-standing track record of silicon bugs dating back to the early 2000s; I have avoided them for over 20 years for this reason. ASMedia is a better choice for third-party, but really Intel and AMD are the best choice (via southbridges). This is why disclosure of the SATA controller model, specifications, and what SATA ports use which controller, is important. The takeaway is: if you see a motherboard that does not mention what SATA controller or southbridge (maker and model) it uses, then stay away from it; they’ve omitted this information for a reason.

  3. Interesting part is that this CPU support only two SATA, but on the mother6there are 6 SATA ports. I am not sure this will work. The CPU also support only 16gb of ram. Since we are talking about NAS, we should expect to see ECC RAM, but this is not the case.

    1. They probably put a pcie-to-sata controller on the motherboard somewhere.
      I’m not sure why everyone is expecting ECC in something this cheap. I had a quick look at few devices calling themselves NAS, but Synology boxes don’t start coming with ECC until you get up to the $800 range. If you want to go DIY (with mini-itx), it still took spending at least $500 on parts to get ECC last time I looked at PCpartpicker.
      I get that ECC is important if you’re actually using RAID or ZFS, but you can use other forms of organizing your drives as one volume that don’t require quite so many operations per second, like snapraid+mergerfs.

      1. ECC is not important when “using RAID”. ECC is important for a lot of reasons, but it has nothing to do with RAID or ZFS exclusively. There is plenty of fanboi-sims online (for decades) about this. ZFS advocates (of which I am one, but I do not fall into the must-use-ECC category) bring it up, citing heavy use of RAM through its internal cache (ARC). However, Linux uses this RAM as well (see: buffer/block cache) for any I/O operations; there’s effectively no difference in this regard from the ARC. Therefore, ZFS is not special in this way. And ZFS’s checksuming capability (which is the main reason to use it!) has no relevancy either; all that does is ensure data integrity when read/written from/to the storage medium (disk/etc.). Same applies to Btrfs, by the way.

        In summary: if your RAM is bad, crashes/data corruption are going to happen no matter what, regardless of no RAID vs. RAID vs. ZFS vs. Btrfs. ECC RAM helps alleviate the “RAM is bad” concern, though usually ECC only supports single-bit errors; 2 or more bits being bad = corruption. There are some companies/CPU models that can correct 2-bit errors, but they’re few and far between.

    2. I’ve just written a reply/comment that explains the SATA controller. The TL;DR: the JMB585 SATA controller (which controls 5 SATA ports; the CPU controls the remaining one) does not offer enough PCIe lanes (bandwidth) for all 5 ports to be at maximum throughput simultaneously. JMicron chose PCIe 3.0 x2 when hey should have gone with x4 lanes. You have been warned.

    1. The intel website does NOT list what is possible, just what is “supported”.
      If you look at the Intel web site, the J5040 “supports” only 8GB, while 16GB are working fine (I have this set up).
      It’s the same for the N6005 Jasper lakes.

    1. Ditto for use as a software router, lack of ECC seems like a pretty critical fault for something meant to be a utility device, potentially for prosumer or business use.

    2. You really didn’t expect anything of value from a board that’s only sold through AliExpress, did you?

  4. Well, I like the port selection. I could use it as a drop-in replacement for what I’m currently using, and there sure seems to be a lack of options that wouldn’t be a downgrade in some obvious way. It’s almost as powerful as the 3020 I’m using as an NVR, so I might be able to consolidate the devices.
    I’d see about replacing the heat sink with something passive though.
    But replacing any of my stuff is a project for when something breaks. Hopefully by that point it’ll have moved off of aliexpress.