The maker of the ZimaBoard and ZimaBlade single-board computers is preparing to launch a “personal cloud” computer called the ZimaCube. It’s basically a network-attached storage device with a choice of Intel Processor N100 or Core i5-1235U processor options, but the system also has a bunch of special features that could make it a multi-purpose PC or networking device.

Those include support for 6 hard drives, up to four 2.5 GbE Ethernet ports, and up to 64GB of RAM. Retail prices are expected to start at $699, but Icewhale Technology is running a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign with prices starting as low as $499.

The starting price is an Early Bird deal for a model with an energy-efficient 6-watt Intel Processor N100 chip based on Alder Lake N architecture.

Folks who want a higher-performance ZimaCube Pro model with a 15-watt Intel Core i5 chip will end up paying $899 or more during crowdfunding, or $1,199 at retail. But the processor isn’t the only thing that sets Pro version apart. It also supports up to twice as much RAM, has twice as many Ethernet ports, supports PCIe Gen 4, and has two Thunderbolt 4 ports, among other things.

While neither model is as cheap as an entry-level QNAP or Synology NAS, the prices don’t look bad at all for a 6-bay NAS with the kind of flexibility Icewhale is offering in terms of storage, expansion options, and software support.

 

ZimaCubeZimaCube Pro
ProcessorIntel Processor N100
4-cores / 4-threads
Up to 3.4 GHz
6W TDP
Intel Core i5-1235U
10-cores / 12-threads
Up to 4.4 GHz
15W TDP
RAM8GB DDR4 (included)
32GB max (16GB x 2)
16GB DDR5 (included)
64GB max (32GB x 2)
Storage256GB SSD (included)
6 x SATA III bays (2.5″ or 3.5″ drives)
2 x M.2 2280 PCIe NVMe slots
256GB SSD (included)
6 x SATA III bays (2.5″ or 3.5″ drives)
2 x PCIe NVMe SSD slots
4 x additional NVMe slots
PCIe1 x PCIe Gen 3 x41 x PCIe Gen 4 x16
1 x PCIe Gen 4 x4
USB1 x USB 3.0 Gen 1 Type-C
4 x USB 3.0 Gen 1 Type-A
2 x USB 2.0 Type-A
2 x Thunderbolt 4 / USB-C
6 x USB 3.0 Gen 1 Type-A
Ethernet2 x 2.5 GbE Ethernet4 x 2.5 GbE Ethernet
Video outHDMI 2.0
DisplayPort 1.4
Power220W (100V – 240V)
OSTrueNAS
ZimaOS
CoolingActive cooling
2 x 80 x 80mm fans
Dimensions240 x 221 x 220mm
9.45″ x 8.7″ x 8.7″
Weight5.4 kg
11.9 pounds
Crowdfunding priceEarly Bird: $499
Kickstarter Special: $599
Early Bird: $899
Kickstarter Special: $999
Retail price$699$1,199

via LinuxGizmos and NAS Compares

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  1. Nice product but I don’t trust any brand that launch their products on Kickstarter. Pray that you don’t need to replace anything the next 10 years or you are screwed.
    1000$ is not a competitive price compared a refurbished server, don’t speak about low consomption please because if you do the math is most of the time a huge BS if is not for a long term investment.

    1. There is one possible issue with commercial servers (aside from how long they’ll last on your UPS): they’re not designed with low fan noise in mind.
      Some other commenters have noted that microATX and ITX cases exist. At least that way your parts are replaceable, assuming the whole industry doesn’t suddenly decide to drop ATX or even desktops as a whole for some stupid reason, most likely no one being able to afford respectable graphics cards anymore or government putting down more rules about power consumption for PC components.

  2. no external wifi antena … hm
    6 disc is good but this is hotplug hardware raid ? ….hm
    (I prefer 3-4 disc)

    1. In my experience, and having done a couple searches, it’s not that this box has anything that those don’t have. However, those products are usually at least as expensive if not more so and aren’t as easily modified as this would be. For example, while I can find plenty of 6-bay NAS in the $700-1000 US range, I don’t see any with that many NVME options, and many of them have some manufacturer’s software they’re supposed to run. Being X86 devices, I’m sure you can erase that, but I’d start wondering what tradeoffs that might bring. For example, I’ve seen some that either had hardware which wouldn’t work properly without the manufacturer’s firmware or a tiny internal boot disk that was designed only for theirs and doesn’t work well for anything else.
      My solution to this was to build my own, but the result was larger than someone might like and didn’t save that much on costs.

      1. I was referring to just buying the case from Amazon. Separate motherboard, separate PSU (full-size ATX) and SATA expansion PCIe card.

        1. In that case, the main differences will be the size and power requirements. Even my home built device used a MicroATX motherboard so I could fit it into a smaller case, and that’s quite a bit bigger than this unit is. Similarly, most of the motherboards for DIYing are not going to support the low-power chips this box has in it. For someone who basically just wants a box to store and retrieve files or a basic media server, using something with low-power components means they don’t have to deal with the heat output or the fan noise that it would bring, and having a smaller box means it’s easier to put out of the way. I’m not surprised that people want smaller NAS boxes than building them into a full tower.

          1. SFX PSUs are the smallest boxes.
            https://www.amazon.com/SilverStone-Technology-Mini-ITX-Aluminum-SST-CS01S-HS/dp/B09VCMRV63
            https://www.amazon.com/N2-Aluminum-Support-Integrated-Removable/dp/B0BQJ6BCB7
            My Lian-li case is no longer sold… 6 internal bay, mini-itx board, full-size ATX PSU. I have to un-screw the side of the case and the drives are not in caddies, but I can hot-swap any drive if needed. Presently I use this case as my off-line backup as it has many older, small capacity disks. The script does a WOL and a shutdown when finished. I have been using a RPi4 and two USB disks for the last 3 years as my primary storage… getting ready to replace it with an RPi5.

  3. This device looks like a relatively good cost as pre-built NAS hardware goes. While you can get cheaper ones, they usually significantly restrict the bays available and have one option for software that gets any kind of support. I still feel like a machine that’s as powerful as a cheap mini PC but has a larger case and more drive ports should be cheaper, but since the other suppliers have decided it won’t be, I have to accept reality.
    This reminds me of the Storaxa NAS concept that was announced early this year. That was similarly interesting to me, but they have had delays in production and whether they’ll succeed or not seems uncertain.

  4. Was it them who decided to list Mac OS as supported software? While Hackintoshes are still possible, I wouldn’t expect to get it running well on a generation of chips Apple never used, nor would I sell a product with that when Apple really doesn’t approve.

    1. You know what? I think I misread something – they’re listing macOS compatibility, as in you can use the NAS with macOS or other devices, which makes more sense. But it does have TPM, which means you could install Windows on it if you wanted to.