If you’ve slept on the launch of the TrueNAS Mini X+ system, it’s time to pick up the pace. TrueNAS Mini X+ is an appliance that’s here to stay, and every FreeNAS hardcore fan should consider having one in their possession.
Because it makes data storage incredibly versatile, secure, and customizable, mostly thanks to its most advanced ZFS structure and FreeBSD building blocks. However, one reason stands above them all when it comes to becoming an avid fan of TrueNAS – it is free-to-use premium-grade software.
With that in mind, here’s a comprehensive overview of TrueNAS Mini X+ with hardware/software specs, packaging, features, performance, and pros and cons.
In this article
Part 1. About Truenas Mini X
If you’re looking for enterprise-grade storage for backing up your files, virtual machines, photos, music, and movies from a single device, TrueNAS Mini X is the right solution for you. TrueNAS Mini X offers everything you need to make the most out of your data performance while getting the necessary protection.
Armed with industry-standard Western Digital Red Plus hard drives, TrueNAS Mini X gives you a perfectly balanced virtual environment adjusted for NAS workloads. You can count on the highest levels of power efficiency, performance, security, convenience, and reliability.
However, it doesn’t stop there; it actually gets better! TrueNAS excels at a wide variety of applications, such as:
- SMB and home office use cases;
- Personal cloud capabilities;
- Remote/home office development;
- Video surveillance;
- Data security, storage, and management;
- Multimedia distribution and processing;
- Data backup and file-sharing.
Whether you need an ideal solution for private cloud management or an enterprise-grade OpenZFS file system, TrueNAS Mini X does it all and more.
It’s much more than just a storage solution; it’s an entire data management and protection system with measures against ransomware, data corruption, loss, deletion, and more.
However, the only area where it falls short is data recovery. Fortunately, there are excellent TrueNAS data recovery solutions.
Accidentally deleted important files on TrueNAS?
No worries. Wondershare Recoverit can get back your lost files within 3 steps. The ultimate and professional NAS data recovery software is totally reliable and 100% safe.
Part 2. Truenas Mini X Packaging Unit Overview
Since TrueNAS Mini X+ is a 5-Bay NAS, you can expect robust retail packaging. In fact, the packing unit is so stellar that it can easily stand shoulder-to-shoulder with enterprise solutions from HP, Netapp, QNAP, and Synology.
The first thing you’ll notice is how well-protected the drive media is. Wrapped in pre-cut hard foam, the TrueNAS Mini X+ drive media arrives pre-installed inside the metal trays, sitting securely encased in anti-static packaging. You can clearly see that the brand invests time, effort, and resources to protect your package while in transit globally.
Here’s what you’ll find in the packaging unit:
- Power cable – a standard three-meter power cable (not your average one-meter off-the-shelf cord);
- Two ethernet cables – you get two Cat 6 cables, each seven feet long;
- Key and screws – standard accessories needed to set up your TrueNAS Mini X+ unit;
- First-time setup guide, warranty, and instructions – here is where TrueNAS makes all the difference. Instead of packing need-to-know information in a single-folded paper sheet that covers little to no relevant aspects, the TrueNAS Mini X+ unit arrives with detailed information on login and security credentials, first-time setup instructions, and manual instructions.
Why is this so important, you may ask?
Well, because the NAS systems are constantly evolving and online resources on system updates are fairly scarce. So, detailed instructions on everything you should know before using your TrueNAS Mini X+ unit might just contribute to the prolonged lifespan of your newly bought system.
Part 3. TrueNAS Mini X Hardware Specs
TrueNAS Mini X+ comes with relatively compact hardware packed in a desktop chassis. The outside of the unit is an 8.25″ x 10.5″ x 9.5″ or 210mm x 267mm x 241mm enclosure. The unit’s front side is heavy on the mesh to ensure proper airflow supply for the drives.
You’ll find top features, such as the lock and status LEDs. Although it’s good to check your drives’ status with a glance, the system lock is the real deal here. It acts as a theft deterrent and can prevent accidental power off, including accidental removal or drive disconnect.
When you take a look inside, you’ll find two 2.5” and five 3.5” drive bays. The latter bear drive locks for extra security. You’ll also find two backplanes for SATA-based drive bays.
If you take a look at the system’s rear, you’ll find the standard goodies – the mITX NAS layout with thumb screws, the system’s primary fan, and the power supply. The rear I/O panel packs quite a few top-notch ports, such as:
- One out-of-band management port;
- Two RJ45 networking ports (Atom C3000 series SoC 10 Gbase-T)
- VGA port;
- Two USB ports.
On top of all this, the almighty TrueNAS Mini X+ system also comes with an optional Chelsio T520 NIC – a nice alternative, much worshipped in the FreeBSD community. When it comes to internal hardware, you’re in for a nice treat.
The main motherboard holds all SATA and USB ports. The full-height expansion slot allows for professional cable management. You’ll see a SATA DOM for OS installation, which is a nice touch since it instructs your TrueNAS Mini X+ to rely on storage bays for storage instead of the operating system.
Motherboard, Memory & Power supply
TrueNAS Mini X+ packs a Chelsio T520 dual SFP+ 10 Gbe NIC motherboard with an active Atom C3758 SoC cooler. The chassis also contains the 250W 80Plus Bronze FSP power supply.
Finally, the Mini X+ offers two DIMM per channel with the Intel Atom C3758 memory, giving you the standard 32GB of ECC system memory. You can upgrade to 64GB if need be.
Part 4. TrueNAS Mini X Software
The TrueNAS Mini X+ system uses a Supermicro motherboard, meaning you can manage your system via the standard Supermicro server tools. You can also tap into the user-friendly WebGUI to get better interface management practices.
You can remotely reboot the system using the web management platform and unlock additional features, such as:
- Remotely troubleshoot your NAS using an HTML5 iKVM;
- Mount media for remote OS installation;
- TrueNAS Core 12 top-grade storage unit;
- Robust UI.
Now, the dashboard is a wonderful feature that makes system setup a breeze. There are new layout and setup features for easily configuring your NAS and enjoying an improved experience along the way.
It’s even better that the UI provides contextual help tips to get you through the installation process. The dashboard also gives you access to the plugin system. You can add additional functionality to the UI using traditional VMs or jails.
If you’re into FreeBSD implementations, you’ll love the TruNAS Core Plugin without a doubt. Do you know what’s crazy? The wonders don’t stop here. The pre-built system also graces your presence with enclosure management that makes managing the web UI as enjoyable as possible.
You can check the disks in the web UI, along with their status and system locations. If a drive fails out of nowhere, you can replace it easily and reliably.
Part 5. TrueNAS Mini X Scale Feature
Just take a look at the near future, and you’ll see TrueNAS Scale coming. Although currently in the Alpha testing phase, the Scale feature is so promising that most TrueNAS professionals deem it the future of all TrueNAS solutions.
Scale is a Linux-based distribution feature that supports the addition of multiple tools beyond what you need for managing a single node. In other words, you’re looking at full functionalities, such as KVM virtualization, container operations, and clustered storage.
While the feature may not be available yet, experts predict it will be available as a production system in the next 12 months. Why is this feature such a big deal? Because it allows you to build an edge cluster and deploy three interconnected Mini X+ units instead of a single one. If you ask anyone in the STH community, they’ll tell you why.
Part 6. TrueNAS Mini X Performance Numbers
Since TrueNAS Mini X+ is a FreeBSD ZFS-based solution, getting the correct performance numbers isn’t an easy task at all. You have SMB, iSCSi, and NFS protocols, CPU/network vs. disk performance, caching drives, ZFS-native drive configuration, WD Red Plus drive, and more.
Nailing the numbers accurately is a bit of a stretch. However, you can focus on the key selling points, such as CPU performance. Just install Linux Ubuntu in one of the SSDs and run CPU testing.
TrueNAS Mini X+ uses the STH benchmark – the famous Python Linux 4.4.2 Kernel Compile. The best way to test your TrueNAS Mini X+ CPU performance is to take a standard Linux 4.4.2 kernel file from kernel.org and build the standard auto-generated configuration.
The reason behind this action is simple – this configuration will test your CPU by utilizing every thread in the system tray. The overall performance of the Atom CPU should surpass your expectations.
Open SSL performance
Open SSL is a critical security protocol that secures communications between servers in a server stack. When you test your Mini X+ NAS, you should notice that it performs much better than the original FreeNAS Mini. That’s because the original NAS version used the Intel Atom C2000 series chip. TrueNAS uses the 2017 Atom C3000 Soc chip, which enhances the open SSL performance by far.
Part 7. TrueNAS Mini X Storage Capabilities
Storage capabilities of TrueNAS Mini X+ greatly vary depending on what you’re using. Cacheless WD Red Plus 10TB disks are the standard, even though you have many options at your disposal. The best way to check the storage performance of your TrueNAS Mini X+ is to run the Disk Speed Test.
It helps you ascertain whether your storage device is capable of handling the required throughput in any given video format. Use the TrueNAS-recommended RAID-Z2 and iSCSI to check your performance. Overall, TrueNAS Mini X+ shows quite an impressive storage capacity in terms of speed, capability, and performance.
Part 8. TrueNAS Mini X Noise Level
If you’re working in a really quiet environment, you may find TrueNAS Mini X+ a bit noisy. The unit is the loudest at approximately one meter in front of the chassis and can go up to 36 dBA. If you test it at idle in a 25 dBA room, it will exceed the limit. However, if you use the unit in an equipment closet or a loud environment, you’ll barely notice the noise.
Part 9. TrueNAS Mini X Power Consumption
According to the spec page, power consumption numbers show 40W (diskless) and 111W (with drives and a 10G add-on card). Run your Mini X+ fully loaded in the test unit to see what you get. TrueNAS Mini X+ goes up to 89W at idle, even at full load, with long 10Gbase-T runs, CPU, optics, and WD Red Plus 10TB drives.
The system can exceed 200W on 120V power with everything under load. It’s best to test a maximum configuration to check your power consumption and consider the results the worst-case scenario. Chances are that you won’t put that much of a load on your system in daily use.
Part 10. Pros and Cons
Here’s an overview of the pros and cons of TrueNAS Mini X+.
Two front USB ports on a compact desktop NAS
15-mm SSD bays
Lots of ventilation
Inclusive SSD+HDD options make Mini X+ ideal for enterprises
2x 10Gbe copper and management OOB port on a 5-bay design makes it unique in the market
Diverse pre-build configuration options
Great user value for the price
System software NVMe SSD included
Compact chassis design
32GB DDR4 ECC memory and an 8-core Intel CPU are great starting points
Versatile PCIe upgradability options
No HDMI for visual-out
Metal design makes it noisy
Avid TrueNAS users may find it a bit expensive compared to a homemade build
All in all, TrueNAS Mini X+ is an amazing unit, especially because it runs on a 10Gbe manageable platform. The system feels like a massive step up from previous versions. You can customize it to perfection with the integration with TrueNAS enclosure management and customizations for chassis, fans, and more. However, even though it sounds almost perfect, it’s not.
Mini X+ can be very loud at times. Although it comes with a compact chassis with top storage connectivity, there are so many screws that make it a bit difficult to service. Overall, if you have any previous experience with TrueNAS Core, you should be able to find your way around this 5-bay NAS unit.
For Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10/11
For macOS X 10.10 - macOS 13