Like every other website on the planet, SmallNetBuilder uses cookies. Our cookies track login status, but we only allow admins to log in anyway, so those don't apply to you. Any other cookies you pick up during your visit come from advertisers, which we don't control.
If you continue to use the site, you agree to tolerate our use of cookies. Thank you!

Router Charts

Click for Router Charts

Router Ranker

Click for Router Ranker

NAS Charts

Click for NAS Charts

NAS Ranker

Click for NAS Ranker

More Tools

Click for More Tools

NAS Reviews

FreeNAS
At a glance
ProductiXsystems FreeNAS (Mini Second Generation)   [Website]
SummaryPreconfigured four-bay Intel octo-core Atom based NAS running FreeBSD-based FreeNAS 9.3
Pros• Plug and go FreeNAS
• Good documentation
• ZFS filesystem
Cons• Not for NAS newbies
• ZFS filesystem
• No built-in backup
• Relatively expensive for a four-bay NAS

Typical Price: $1131  Buy From Amazon

Introduction

Updated 11/10/15: Changed name from "2014" to "Second Generation" per iXsystems request. Charts screenshots were not updated. Updated features table.

If you like to "do it yourself", you've probably considered building your own NAS using the FreeNAS open source software based on the FreeBSD operating system. If you'd prefer an off the shelf pre-built NAS, but still want to use FreeNAS, the FreeNAS Mini is iXsystems' product for the SOHO market. They also offer enterprise-level systems based on FreeNAS under the TrueNAS product line.

Several years ago, Doug Reid covered iXsystem's FreeNAS Mini and included background on how FreeNAS came to be. This review covers the Second Generation version (Gen 2) of the FreeNAS Mini, which features new case, processor and motherboard and an updated operating system. In addition to our normal suite of tests, we also tested the FreeNAS Mini with an optional 10GbE connection.

iXsystems FreeNAS Mini Gen 2

For comparison throughout the review I'll be using the QNAP TVS-471-i3-4G High-performance Turbo NAS and QNAP TVS-463 Golden Cloud Turbo. Both of these were also reviewed using our latest NAS benchmark tests and were also tested with 10 GbE connections.

The FreeNAS Mini Gen 2 is built in an off-the-shelf Ablecom CS-M50 case. The callouts below show the front panel of the FreeNAS Mini. The tool-less drive trays are hot swappable, and the drive bay cover, shown in the product shot at the top of the review, is lockable.

iXsystems FreeNAS Mini Gen 2 callouts

iXsystems FreeNAS Mini Gen 2 callouts

The photo below shows the rear panel of our review unit. As you can see, the power supply is built in and takes a standard AC power cord. For those of you who still remember serial ports, the FreeNAS Mini has a serial port (default 9600) as well as an IPMI (Intelligent Platform Management Interface) port for out-of-band management. Note that the optional 10GbE dual port card has been installed on the right.

iXsystems FreeNAS Mini Gen 2 rear panel

iXsystems FreeNAS Mini Gen 2 rear panel

The callouts below, taken from the FreeNAS Quick Start guide, identify the ports above.

iXsystems FreeNAS Mini Gen 2 rear panel ports

iXsystems FreeNAS Mini Gen 2 rear panel ports

Both the IPMI and the Gigabit Ethernet Ports have two LED indicators. One shows Activity/Link, and the other shows Speed. Note that there are slightly different indications for the IPMI port and the Gigabit LAN ports.

iXsystems FreeNAS Mini Gen 2 LED indicators

iXsystems FreeNAS Mini Gen 2 LED indicators

Inside

The FreeNAS mini is based on the ASRock Intel Avoton C2750 ITX Motherboard and CPU combo. DIYers can find the complete board (without memory) on Amazon for $390. The board features one PCI-Express 3.0 slot, eight SATA3 ports and four SATA2 ports. Only 3 USB 2.0 ports are supported. As shown in the rear callouts above, there are also 2 RJ45 Gigabit LAN and one dedicated IPMI dedicated LAN PORT. The image below shows the main board with a large heat sink installed.

iXsystems FreeNAS Mini Gen 2 Main PCB

iXsystems FreeNAS Mini Gen 2 Main PCB

The image below shows the left side view of the FreeNAS Mini. That's the Intel X540-T2 dual-port 10GbE board with the black heatsink.

iXsystems FreeNAS Mini Gen 2 inside left view

iXsystems FreeNAS Mini Gen 2 with case removed to show the bottom of the main PCB

Here's the right side view, showing the Flex ATX 250W power supply.

iXsystems FreeNAS Mini Gen 2 inside right view

iXsystems FreeNAS Mini Gen 2 inside right view

The top view, below, shows this single large fan used to cool the system. There's also a spot and power cables for two SSD cache drives.

iXsystems FreeNAS Mini Gen 2 inside top view

iXsystems FreeNAS Mini Gen 2 inside top view

The QNAP TVS-471 proved to be difficult to disassemble, so we weren't able to extract individual component part numbers as we normally do. However, I've taken what information that we were able to determine for key components and put it into the component summary comparison table below. Note the FreeNAS uses ECC RAM.

  iXsystems FreeNAS Mini Gen 2 QNAP TVS-471-i3-4G QNAP TVS-463
CPU Intel Atom C2750 @ w.40 GHz (octo-core) Dual-core Intel Core™ i3-4150 3.5 GHz AMD 2.4GHz quad-core GX-424CC processor with Radeon graphics
Ethernet Intel WGI210AT (x2) Intel WGI210TA (x2) [guess] Intel WGI210AT (x2)
RAM 16 GB ECC upgradeable to 32 GB total 4GB DDR3 (expandable to 16GB) 8 GB DDR3 SoDIMM
Flash ? 512 MB DoM 512 MB USB DoM
USB 3.0 N/A ? Asmedia 1074 4 port USB 3.0 controller
SATA ? ? Marvell 88SE9215 (x2 on backplane)
10GbE Intel X540-T2 QNAP LAN-10G2T-D QNAP LAN-10G2T-D
Table 1: Component summary
Table 1: Key component summary and comparison Feature

Power consumption with four SmallNetBuilder-provided WD Red 3TB (WD30EFRX) drives was 47W (active). There is no power save mode. RAID 5 and RAID 10 rebuild time was immediate. Fan and drive noise was rated as medium.

More NAS

Wi-Fi System Tools
Check out our Wi-Fi System Charts, Ranker and Finder!

Support Us!

If you like what we do and want to thank us, just buy something on Amazon. We'll get a small commission on anything you buy. Thanks!

Over In The Forums

Dear Com,i already got alot support from here by reading the posts. Unfortunately I did not find any post about the professional settings on the RT-AC...
Is there any way to get a list of all settings that differ from the default settings?Thanks
Hello dear Members and Staff...and VoxelI want to disable admin login to the router using Wifi (any means necessary) keep it only on cable (common sec...
Exchange users are frustrated from Exchange database corruption. Then Exchange users try to search a helpful resource through which Recover all Exchan...
Hello, need some help.Since latest windows update i cant access my drives plugged to 68U at windows 10!Someone that had the same problem after windows...

Don't Miss These

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3