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There are a growing number of relatively inexpensive mini PCs with multiple Ethernet ports, allowing you to build your own router, firewall, or other networking appliances. But Storaxa goes further than most.

It has four 2.5 GbE Ethernet ports and support for WiFi 6, allowing you to use it as a networking device. But it’s also designed to be used as a NAS (network attached storage) device, with 5 bays for hard drives and 4 M.2 connectors for solid state storage. Storaxa is expected to have a retail price of $399 when it ships this summer, but the makers of this NAS/router are offering discounts to backers of a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign.

Super Early Bird rewards started as low as $219 (45% off), but those rewards have all sold out. As I write this article, backers can still save 40% off the retail price by backing the campaign with a pledge of $239. After that reward runs out, the crowdfunding price goes up to $279 (or 30% off the retail price). Shipping to the United States will add an extra $25, while shipping to most other regions costs $35.

Just keep in mind that backing a Kickstarter campaign isn’t quite the same thing as pre-ordering a product. There’s a chance that there might be delays, the product might not live up to expectations, or it might never ship at all. But in this case the developers say they have a manufacturing partner lined up and that the “biggest risk is that we have to manufacture and ship in batches if we can’t get all the components we need for one big production run.”

The prices above are for a barebones Storaxa device that ships without any storage. But you can pay extra for an add-ons that include a second unit (for $199 + $20 for shipping) or 8TB of solid state storage ($350 for four Kingston NV2 2TB SSDs).

Each model features 16GB of DDR4-3200 memory and support for up to five 3.5 inch SATA hard drives and up to four M.2 2280 PCIe NVMe SSDs. While the base version of the Storaxa is powered by a 10-wat Intel Pentium Silver N6005 processor, as part of a stretch goal, the developers are considering offering a 15-watt AMD Ryzen 7 5825U upgrade option for backers who’d prefer a higher-performance processor.

Here’s an overview of key specs for the Storaxa:

Storaxa Specs
ProcessorIntel Pentium Silver N6005
(4-cores / 4-threads
2 GHz base / 3.3 GHz burst
10W TDP)orAMD Ryzen 7 5825U
(8-cores / 16-threads
2 GHz base / 4.5 GHz boost
15W TDP)
GraphicsIntel UHD
(450 MHz base / 900 MHz burst
32 execution units)

or

AMD Radeon Vega 8
(8-core
2 GHz
2GB max memory)

RAM2 x 8GB DDR4-3200 SODIMM
HDD slots5 x 3.5″ SATA
SSD slots4 x M.2 2280 PCIe NVMe
Ethernet4 x 2.5 GbE
WirelessWiFi 6
USB1 x USB 3.2 Type-C (10 Gbps)
3 x USB 3.2 Type-A (10 Gbps)
2 x USB 2.0 Type-A (480 Mbps)
Other portsHDMI 2.0
DisplayPort
microSD card reader
SD card reader
CoolingDual fans
Dimensions260 x 200 x 180mm
(10.2″ x 7.9″ x 7.1″)
Power consumption18W (idle) / 80W (writing data) / 120W (max)

The system supports RAOD 0, 1, 5, 6, and 10 data configurations, allowing you to maximize the storage capacity and/or set up redundant storage to prevent data loss.

In terms of software, Storaxa should support a wide range of applications, but the default setup consists of a Proxmox Virtual Environment that runs TrueNAS-Scale for storage & server management and OpenWrt for router operations.

On paper the Storaxa system looks like it offers a heck of a bang for the buck. You could easily spend $700 or more on a Synology or QNAP NAS that lacks many of the Storaxa’s features. But if you did opt for a system from a more established company, you’d also have a better idea of what kind of support to expect and you wouldn’t have to wait until this summer to find out if a crowdfunded product will ship.

via CNX Software

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  1. Just in terms of available PCIe lanes for Jasper Lake, this wouldn’t even be possible. JSL has 8 PCIe 3.0 lanes.

    This Storaxa project is based on the Chang Wang N5105-N6005-6SATA Storage Server NAS Motherboard (https://www.changwang.com/product/393.html). Counting up available JSL PCIe lanes, the 4 x i226V NICs take up 4 lanes; the internal M.2 2280 slots are actually only x1 so that’s 6 lanes so far; the board uses a JMicron JMB585 PCIe to SATA3 bridge (https://www.jmicron.com/products/list/15) which uses up to x2 lanes, and looking at the board it is assumed the controller does use x2 lanes. This also assumes that the board is using at least 1 SATA port from the SoC itself, since the JMB585 only exposes 5 SATA ports. That puts PCIe allocation at 8 lanes which maxes out the JSL SoC.

    So my main questions would be then, how is the Storaxa able to have 4 M.2 slots, when there aren’t any available PCIe lanes? If let’s say there’s a ribbon cable connecting the two internal M.2 x1 M-Key slots to the top, and each M.2 runs at x1, where do the other 2 M.2 drives get their lanes from? There is also no M.2 E-Key for a WiFi card on this motherboard. It’s possible that the internal M.2 x1 M-Key slot is muxed together with one of the internal USB 2.0 ports to jerry-rig an E-Key slot but then that will take away another x1 lane from the 4 M.2 NVMe slots, leaving it with just one available lane.

    It seems this kickstarter has gotten a lot of pledges. I find it doubtful that it will deliver what it promises and a lot of people are probably going to be burned pretty soon.

  2. Sounds more like a scam than a real device. The specs are simply a non sense given the CPU used.

  3. Interesting idea but barely enough for Home users.
    Far to be a professional device.
    But 399 is damn cheap

  4. Despite the amount of bandwidth these chips are able to deliver, and the claimed use of a ASM2812X for the multiplexing for the nvme, to me all of the numbers add up especially if you take into their account that every RAID (likely ZRAID since we’re talking about TrueNAS) configuration tested under 250MB/s; Likely they are limiting the SATA controller to just a PCIe lane or two at most, the U.2 connector on the board would have to use 4 lanes to work with the chipset for the multiplexer, and I can only speculate how they divvying up the remaining PCIe lanes, likely just one going to the OS m.2, one going to a the ethernet controller that then is connected to an internal either switch chip (although the layout of the board displayed seems to indicate four dedicated 2.5G controllers).

    All of it is in the realm of possibility, some wizardry involved without extra chipsets but seeing the stuff that has been done with some of the router computers intended for pfsense/promox setup sold on Aliexpress regularly; I can see this potentially working but man this price point is bordering unrealistic when you look up the pricing on some of these components, and keeping in mind the tooling costs to making this. They are definitely aren’t going to be making money, or at best break even with this campaign.

    That said, I am all in for this ride however it goes, and for the $263 (including the US shipping), I typically spend more on just a drive let a alone an entire NAS so why not.

  5. It’s super sketchy! It’s using N6005. That cpu has 8 pcie gen 3 lanes. 1 lane aka pcie 3.0 x1 is 1Gbps, or 1 / 8 = 125MB/s.

    4 x 1GbE ports = 4GbE or 4 lanes. But they claim to have 4x 2.5GbE ports, so that’s already 10Gbps bandwidth or 10 lanes. But okay, let’s assume it’s not going to get anywhere near 4Gbps speed IN TOTAL aka 4 lanes. Fine.

    5x hdd will need at least 100MB/s x 5 = 500MB/s or 4 lanes or pcie 3.0 x4.

    4x nvme will need at least 4x pcie 3.0 x4 = 16 lanes. (highly) Impossible to achieve. And to find other manufacturers that build 2 nvme ports on the same kind of cpu/config is already very difficult, maybe we can find one or two existing machines in the market and that’s it. Okay so perhaps they’ll share the nvme ports with just 4 lanes. So 4 lanes for hdd, and 4 lanes for nvme.

    With a bunch of usb ports and other stuff that usually will take AT LEAST 1 lane, you can’t reserve 8 lanes for nvme and hdd.

    So okay, perhaps they know a magic independent standalone chipset or daughter board that doesn’t need to use the cpu’s pcie lanes. And perhaps that might be the plan, since the nvme slots are right at the top and the board most likely be at the bottom or sides. The problem with that will be 1. It’s expensive and 2. Time consuming to build a new mini board for their purpose/form factor.

    I wouldn’t even trust it if they sell it for USD 1K.

    1. PCIe Gen3 supports 8 GT/s, in turn that’s ~1 GB/s & with 2.5Gb only using 312.5 MB/s, only single lanes would be necessary for each port; unless there’s a 2 port PCIe Gen3 ×1 option out there, which would allow them to use just 2 lanes & save 2 for other components.

      Likewise, a single SATA/SAS controller could handle the 5 drives, & it will only need a PCIe Gen3 ×1 connection.

      The NVMe slots would likely not run above ×1, as most NASes which use these Intel SoCs have offered it as single lane.

      Nonetheless, there’s likely going to be a lane limitation unless a multiplexor or PCH is used.

      Unless there’s that aforementioned 2 port option or they adjust the configuration to match the capabilities, chances are the Intel version will probably not make it into production.

  6. Very nice
    Specs look pretty good
    I’m in the market for a new NAS
    I think this will do
    I’m backing this right now

  7. Their specifications make zero sense.

    Neither of those processors (N6005 & 5825U) support DDR5 natively.

    The N6005 (https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/products/sku/212327/intel-pentium-silver-n6005-processor-4m-cache-up-to-3-30-ghz/specifications.html) only has 8 PCIe lanes, so each wired NIC would consume 1 each & then each m.2 NVMe slot would get only 1 each as well. With the N6005 only supporting 2 SATA ports, it’d need a separate controller to support the other 3 drives, but there would be zero PCIe lanes remaining for that unless a multiplexor or PCH is added, making this whole device more expensive to produce.

    The 5825U (https://www.amd.com/en/product/11601) has 20 (16 usable) PCIe lanes, so it could natively support all the wired network connections with each NVMe getting 2 PCIe lanes each, however both WiFi & SATA would require a lane each, since neither are native to the processor.

    1. The 5825U model supports ECC and they already said it will be available as an upgrade (they’ll install the memory or you could do that, but by default the base product would ship with non-ECC RAM). The N6005 doesn’t support ECC so you’re out of luck. From the design on their page, I see no battery setup so you’d have to put an external UPS on it for that.