Fanless Alder Lake network appliance comes with six 2.5GbE interfaces

An OEM fanless network appliance has shown up online with a choice of 15-watt Intel Core i3-1215U, Core i5-1235U, and Core i7-1265U Alder Lake processors, and six 2.5GbE interfaces, as well as HDMI and DisplayPort video outputs, and support for M.2 NVMe SSD and 2.5-inch SATA drives.

The design looks very similar to another white brand fanless network appliance with six 2.5GbE ports and an Intel Gemini Lake processor that we covered last year. Besides the faster processor, the new system replaces i225-V controllers with i226-V controllers, some of the USB ports have been upgraded to “USB 3.2”, and DisplayPort output was added for dual display setups.

Fanless Alder Lake network appliance

Specifications:

  • Alder Lake SoC (one or the other)
    • Intel Core i3-1215U hexa-core processor with 2x Performance cores @ up to 4.4 GHz, 4x Efficiency cores @ up to 3.3 GHz, Intel UHD Graphics; PBP: 15W
    • Intel Core i5-1235U 10-core processor with 2x Performance cores @ up to 4.4 GHz, 8x Efficiency cores @ up to 3.3 GHz, Intel Iris Xe Graphics; PBP: 15W
    • Intel Core i7-1265U 10-core processor with 2x Performance cores @ up to 4.80GHz, 8x Efficiency cores @ up to 3.6 GHz, Intel Iris Xe Graphics; PBP: 15W
  • System Memory – Dual-channel Memory DDR4 (2400/2666/3200MHz) supporting up to 64GB RAM in total
  • Storage
    • M.2 2280 (PCIe x4) socket for NVMe SSD
    • 2x non-standard SATA III connectors (See photo below)
    • MicroSD card socket
  • Video Output
    • HDMI 2.1 up to 4Kp60
    • DisplayPort 1.4a up to 8Kp60
  • Connectivity
    • 6x  2.5GbE RJ45 ports via Intel i226-V controllers
    • Optional WiFi 6/Bluetooth 5.x or 4G LTE cellular via M.2 module and 2x antenna openings
  • USB – 2x USB 3.2 ports (20 Gbps???), 2x USB 3.0 ports (5Gbps???), 1x USB Type-C port  (no details provided)
  • Misc – Power button, reset pinhole, HDD and Power LEDs, 12V cooling fan, internal serial and USB headers
  • Power Supply – 12V-19V DC power jack; the motherboard also features a 4-pin ATX power connector
  • Dimensions –  145.6 x 145.6 x 53.6 mm (Aluminum alloy enclosure)

Alder Lake Mini PC HDMI 2.1 DisplayPort USB 3.2

The network appliance / mini PC can also be mounted to a VESA mount through an adapter using the screw threads on the bottom plate. It is offered as a barebone model, or with RAM and NVMe SSD with Windows 11 Pro apparently preinstalled on the system. Most people will probably install other operating systems such as pfSense, OPNsense, Proxmox, and so on that are better suited to the networking capabilities of the computer.

12th Gen Intel motherboard with SATA drive
Motherboard’s description and a SATA drive connected to a non-standard SATA connector through a custom cable.

A forum user on Chiphell tested (installed) several operating systems including Promox VE, Windows 11, and Unraid, but failed to install Esxi 8.0 on his device. He also posted various external and internal photos showing the hardware design.

Network appliance motherboard RAM SSD

The Alder Lake network appliance is sold on Aliexpress for $369.45 and up, and you may find it from other sellers as well at the exact same price at the time of writing. The fan does not seem to be included, nor are the antennas and WiFi module so you would need to purchase those separately if needed.

Via Liliputing

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7 Replies to “Fanless Alder Lake network appliance comes with six 2.5GbE interfaces”

  1. It looks nice and great, but I’m having some doubts about the relevance of such an E+P CPU for network processing where you generally want something fairly balanced. If the E cores are sufficient to process most of the traffic, then the P cores are overkill as well (or needlessly inflate the price). So I don’t know well what to think about this.

    1. > If the E cores are sufficient to process most of the traffic

      …then you still need 11-12 PCIe lanes for the six i226-V and the two M.2 sockets. Intel CPUs only featuring Goldmont Plus/Tremont/Gracemont cores w/o P cores are limited to 6, 8 or now 9 PCIe lanes.

      1. In fact it depends. Usually boards with many ports involve a PCIe bridge. In practice you only need two Gen3 lanes for six 2.5G ports. But in such small devices it’s pretty rare to find PCIe bridges.

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