In our series of fanless firewalls, we saw two regular requests. One is for 10GbE units and the other is for AMD based unit reviews. Today we have the AMD Ryzen 7 5825U based machine which has been a hot topic with its 4 x 2.5 GbE ports. While reviewing this device, we found a lot to like, but also a lot of great features that we weren’t expecting. We found enough to change our publication order to publish this review earlier than planned.
AMD Ryzen 4x 2.5GbE background
As we did with this series, we have a video that you can find here:
This was done on the new set, so we can show the aerial view on this one. We always suggest watching the video in its own window, tab or application for the best viewing experience.
The unit itself was a superior unit. The barebones were around $435 through KingNovyPC and Topton on AliExpress. Upgrading to the AMD Ryzen 7 5800U saves around $17. The Ryzen 5 5600U is about $90 less than the unit we reviewed, but with fewer cores.
We also configured this unit with 16GB of DDR4-3200 and a 512GB NVMe SSD for a total price of $555. It’s firmly in the “Mini PC” price and less in the <$250 router/firewall range.
We found that the configuration we purchased severely limited performance, but we also found hidden features and specs on AliExpress that conflicted and often didn’t make sense between sellers reselling this device.
In the video, we showed the system running OPNsense 22.7, pfSense 2.7-development, Proxmox VE, Ubuntu Desktop, and Windows 11. The biggest challenge was Intel i226-V 2.5GbE network card compatibility.
With that, let’s get to the hardware.
AMD Ryzen 4x 2.5GbE External Hardware Overview
On the front of the device, we get a power button and two blanks for the WiFi antenna posts. We also get a TF slot. In this case, the TF slot is a MicroSD card slot without the vendor paying for the MicroSD name license. There are five USB ports. The four Type-A ports are split between USB 2 and 3.
The Type-C port is perhaps the most interesting. This is actually a third display output, and one can also power the device through this Type-C port.
The back of the device has an HDMI and DisplayPort output. This means we get a total of three 4k60 display outputs on this little machine designed to be a firewall/router.
Alongside these we get four 2.5 GbE ports. These are powered by the new Intel i226-V 2.5 GbE network cards. Generally the compatibility is good, but if you want to use the current pfSense 2.6 it will be a challenge. pfSense 2.7-development is a development branch, but it includes support. Our Windows 11 installation required adding drivers after installation. Overall, however, operating systems such as Proxmox VE, OPNsense, and Ubuntu performed well with network cards.
This device may confuse some as it has a metal casing with ribs, but make no mistake: it’s not fanless. The top of the chassis has a cutout for the CPU fan.
The sides would look solid if we had a black background.
But actually both sides have ventilation. One is a system vent, while the other is for CPU heatsink/fan exhaust.
The bottom has rubber feet and mounting points for a 2.5″ drive. We suggest against using the 2.5″ driven mount as this will block airflow to the memory and storage. Instead, our unit comes with a fan. We suggest this is a useful feature that helps keep the SSD and memory cool.
Next, let’s move on to the inside of the chassis.
#AMD #Ryzen #GbE #Firewall #Router #pfSense #OPNsense #Proxmox #Windows