CWWK/Topton/... Nxxx quad NIC router

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Becks0815

Well-Known Member
Oct 15, 2022
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Going OT here, anyone had a chance to see the new Intel Meteor Lake cpus?
Too late or too early. Anyone who bought a N100, N5101 or similar won't buy a new machine in near future, except the current one breaks down, or the CPU becomes a bottleneck. You can't save enough money, even if the new system would do the same job at 1W a N100 needs 10W, so an upgrade becomes relevant. I also only switched from a J3160 to a N100, because the old one was already struggling with a 200 MBit/sec connection. Otherwise I would have kept it.
 
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splifingate

Member
Oct 7, 2023
46
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Well I don't know that, at least the chipset is 3.2 capable. How can we check how many PCIe lanes it got connected to?
I'm not entirely convinced that the xhci_pci portage is actually hooked-into the PCIe bridge:

Code:
[root@n305 ~]# sudo lspci -vv | grep -P "[0-9a-f]{2}:[0-9a-f]{2}\.[0-9a-f]|LnkSta:"
00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Device 4617
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Alder Lake-N [UHD Graphics] (prog-if 00 [VGA controller])
00:0d.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation Device 464e (prog-if 30 [XHCI])
00:14.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation Device 54ed (prog-if 30 [XHCI])
00:14.2 RAM memory: Intel Corporation Device 54ef
00:15.0 Serial bus controller: Intel Corporation Device 54e8
00:15.1 Serial bus controller: Intel Corporation Device 54e9
00:16.0 Communication controller: Intel Corporation Device 54e0
00:1a.0 SD Host controller: Intel Corporation Device 54c4 (prog-if 01)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Device 54b8 (prog-if 00 [Normal decode])
        LnkSta:    Speed 8GT/s, Width x4
00:1c.6 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Device 54be (prog-if 00 [Normal decode])
        LnkSta:    Speed 5GT/s, Width x1
00:1d.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Device 54b0 (prog-if 00 [Normal decode])
        LnkSta:    Speed 5GT/s, Width x1
00:1d.1 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Device 54b1 (prog-if 00 [Normal decode])
        LnkSta:    Speed 5GT/s, Width x1
00:1d.2 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Device 54b2 (prog-if 00 [Normal decode])
        LnkSta:    Speed 5GT/s, Width x1
00:1d.3 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Device 54b3 (prog-if 00 [Normal decode])
        LnkSta:    Speed 8GT/s, Width x1
00:1e.0 Communication controller: Intel Corporation Device 54a8
00:1e.3 Serial bus controller: Intel Corporation Device 54ab
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation Device 5481
00:1f.3 Audio device: Intel Corporation Device 54c8
00:1f.4 SMBus: Intel Corporation Device 54a3
00:1f.5 Serial bus controller: Intel Corporation Device 54a4
01:00.0 Non-Volatile memory controller: SK hynix Gold P31/BC711/PC711 NVMe Solid State Drive (prog-if 02 [NVM Express])
        LnkSta:    Speed 8GT/s, Width x4
02:00.0 Ethernet controller: Intel Corporation Ethernet Controller I226-V (rev 04)
        LnkSta:    Speed 5GT/s, Width x1
03:00.0 Ethernet controller: Intel Corporation Ethernet Controller I226-V (rev 04)
        LnkSta:    Speed 5GT/s, Width x1
04:00.0 Ethernet controller: Intel Corporation Ethernet Controller I226-V (rev 04)
        LnkSta:    Speed 5GT/s, Width x1
05:00.0 Ethernet controller: Intel Corporation Ethernet Controller I226-V (rev 04)
        LnkSta:    Speed 5GT/s, Width x1
06:00.0 Non-Volatile memory controller: SK hynix Gold P31/BC711/PC711 NVMe Solid State Drive (prog-if 02 [NVM Express])
        LnkSta:    Speed 8GT/s, Width x1 (downgraded)
[root@n305 ~]#
My Vantec (JMicron) device is a 10Gbps "USB 3.2 Gen 2x1" device.

lsusb states "20000M/x2" (10000 TX/10000RX), but I do not have a device that operates @USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 to check.
 
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devast

Member
Jun 28, 2023
32
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Hey guys anyone have any thoughts on this box? Looking to get something for an OPNsense box with plans to also enable Intrusion detection.

G30M Alder Lake N100 Soft Router DDR5 SSD 4*2.5G LAN i226 HD DP Dual Display Mini PC pfSense Firewall Appliance ESXI AES-NI
It's kind of late reply, but here we go: I've got one of this unit. The cooling is bad. The case heats up a lot, and while the cpu can perfectly/easily handle any temperature, other parts inside the case (ram, and the nvme ssd if you use one) can overheat and lead to instability. If you add any forced airflow onto it (stripping a fan onto it) temps behave ok and everything is stable. Main point is, you can barely call this unit passive. Second point, the bios of this unit is quite limited. For example you have no access at all to pcie aspm settings. All aspm settings is hardcoded, and disabled. In practice this means, that while i could configure my cwwk unit to consume ~2-3w idle, this g30m can't go under 6-7w (without ssd, i'm booting from usb sd cards). Apart from that, and that the board layout looks chaotic compared to the clean layout of cwwk units, it works fine. It works ok, it's just cheap and it shows. :)
 

Stovar

Active Member
Dec 27, 2022
181
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Too late or too early. Anyone who bought a N100, N5101 or similar won't buy a new machine in near future, except the current one breaks down, or the CPU becomes a bottleneck. You can't save enough money, even if the new system would do the same job at 1W a N100 needs 10W, so an upgrade becomes relevant. I also only switched from a J3160 to a N100, because the old one was already struggling with a 200 MBit/sec connection. Otherwise I would have kept it.
Yeah quite true feels a bit like the solar panels not making profit till after a good 10 or 15+ years, for mini routers its not worth it but I got some old bulky 7-10 year old PCs that need updating.

If I sell off the parts, hopefully the cost may cover much of the newer systems whatever they maybe and hopefully Windows 12 arrives next year.

I still like the idea and technology behind Meteor lake series but lets see if the hype is real.
 

indiekiduk

New Member
Sep 12, 2020
5
0
1
It's kind of late reply, but here we go: I've got one of this unit. The cooling is bad. The case heats up a lot, and while the cpu can perfectly/easily handle any temperature, other parts inside the case (ram, and the nvme ssd if you use one) can overheat and lead to instability. If you add any forced airflow onto it (stripping a fan onto it) temps behave ok and everything is stable. Main point is, you can barely call this unit passive. Second point, the bios of this unit is quite limited. For example you have no access at all to pcie aspm settings. All aspm settings is hardcoded, and disabled. In practice this means, that while i could configure my cwwk unit to consume ~2-3w idle, this g30m can't go under 6-7w (without ssd, i'm booting from usb sd cards). Apart from that, and that the board layout looks chaotic compared to the clean layout of cwwk units, it works fine. It works ok, it's just cheap and it shows. :)
I have this case for the 2G Ram 32G SSD Wifi + J3160 2LAN 1COM by EGLOBAL and it has been running Opnsense solid for about 5 years, top fins measure 36C. Maybe the N100 runs too hot for it.
 

maor545

New Member
Oct 30, 2023
5
12
3
Got the CWWK N305 unit with the 4x NVMe expander board. Happy with it so far. runs relatively cool after repasting (40C lightly loaded).

I tried to follow the optimized BIOS options posted way back in this thread but the BIOS menus for the 4x NVMe BIOS looks a bit different. My PassMark scores:

Code:
                   PassMark PerformanceTest Linux (11.0.1002)


Intel Core i3-N305 (x86_64)
8 cores @ 3800 MHz  |  31.1 GiB RAM
Number of Processes: 8  |  Test Iterations: 1  |  Test Duration: Medium
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
CPU Mark:                          6893
  Integer Math                     29869 Million Operations/s
  Floating Point Math              18104 Million Operations/s
  Prime Numbers                    11.0 Million Primes/s
  Sorting                          10419 Thousand Strings/s
  Encryption                       6823 MB/s
  Compression                      81701 KB/s
  CPU Single Threaded              2261 Million Operations/s
  Physics                          267 Frames/s
  Extended Instructions (SSE)      3690 Million Matrices/s

Memory Mark:                       2508
  Database Operations              2504 Thousand Operations/s
  Memory Read Cached               20558 MB/s
  Memory Read Uncached             12036 MB/s
  Memory Write                     9681 MB/s
  Available RAM                    18597 Megabytes
  Memory Latency                   26 Nanoseconds
  Memory Threaded                  15840 MB/s
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I've attached some screenshots from BIOS. Could someone guide me to some reasonable performance settings?
I also got the new box with 4x SSD expansion option.
I was surprised, that the new revision of the box has 2x USB3.2 ports colored red, the original STH review unit had only USB 2.0 ports.

Also I have ordered from CWWK directly and did not have to pay any customs fee or tax (shipped to EU). The price paid was final, which is way cheaper than any aliexpress listings I have seen.

Now I wait for Amazon to deliver 48GB RAM stick.
I plan to use the box with Unraid as an all flash NAS. The SSDs will be KC3000 (micron B47R), Aorus gen4/SN700 (BiCS4) and 980 pro (VNAND-V5). I want to compare degradation of different NAND chips over time in RAIDZ setup.
 

parushev

New Member
Sep 21, 2023
3
0
1
Anyone using those appliances with expansion board and multiple NVMe drives - what are the temperatures you are reading? I'm planning to use one of those stored in an in-wall box. I won't be able to mount any fans inside. My plan is to host proxmox with opnsense VM and a second VM for seedbox and media server (no transcoding for now).
 

mjtimmer

New Member
Sep 21, 2023
9
11
3
Unless you have two or more uplinks to different ISPs there will always be a single point of failure, so what's the point...
well... mostly because you can :D
But i'm not only talking high availability for your internet router/firewall here, also redundancy/failover for things like home assistant, where having your home automation platform being unavailable for an extended period of time will really be a pain in the @ss in my case, so setting up everything with local control and then having the ability to move the HASS vm to another hypervisor in case of failures or even maintenance/upgrades is really convenient.
Also in the case of geting better availability for internet connectivity, your pfsense/opnsense setup will have a lot more (and weaker) hardware and software components to break than a single internet connection an the switch it terminates on at your home. at the moment i'm mitigating that switch part by having another switch in the setup where i can plug-in my ISP fiber when the first one breaks). And proxmox and opnsense require a lot more software upgrades and reboots (and thus: interruptions) than a managed switch.
But mainly: it's fun to play with these toys and do these kind of things, so why not? ;)
 

Xairoo

New Member
Nov 28, 2023
6
10
3
I am dealing with noisy N100's in a fanless case!

Bought 2 units and you can hear both of them. It's like a kind of coil whine but more like a power supply that makes noise.


This happens without load. The noise will go away when I run stress -c 1. It's really annoying because my real workstation is 100% silent (super good ears, but running a big MoRa watercooling system, even with the 3080 and the 5900X) in all situations.

Tried some tweaks in the BIOS but haven't found a solution yet. The seller yohirs hasn't found a solution and it sounds like they can't reproduce it or wont... the answer: " Hi,the pc is not have fan,we can't confirm the original sound from what location, please tell me where you think the sound comes from." - WTF...

Again, 2 units, both act the same. And I don't think it's RAM or NVMe related.
 

moonman

New Member
Aug 12, 2023
21
2
3
I am dealing with noisy N100's in a fanless case!

Bought 2 units and you can hear both of them. It's like a kind of coil whine but more like a power supply that makes noise.


This happens without load. The noise will go away when I run stress -c 1. It's really annoying because my real workstation is 100% silent (super good ears, but running a big MoRa watercooling system, even with the 3080 and the 5900X) in all situations.

Tried some tweaks in the BIOS but haven't found a solution yet. The seller yohirs hasn't found a solution and it sounds like they can't reproduce it or wont... the answer: " Hi,the pc is not have fan,we can't confirm the original sound from what location, please tell me where you think the sound comes from." - WTF...

Again, 2 units, both act the same. And I don't think it's RAM or NVMe related.
I have the same unit I believe (looks the same inside), and have a little bit of that as well. But I put the case on and it's not audible (or I never paid attention). When you put the case on do you still hear it? There may also be an option in the BIOS for "spread spectrum" that may help. A different better quality power supply may help as well (but there is an equal chance that it won't as well).
 

Becks0815

Well-Known Member
Oct 15, 2022
241
331
63
Take this with a grain of salt:

As far as I know, capacitors make that noise. The only way to fix/reduce this is to put some glue on them. You can see this approach if you look at professional boards. If possible, turn on the board, locate the region where the noise is coming from, and put a finger on each of them. If you can locate the piece which causes this noise, some gum/ flexibleglue might help.
 

Xairoo

New Member
Nov 28, 2023
6
10
3
Take this with a grain of salt:

As far as I know, capacitors make that noise. The only way to fix/reduce this is to put some glue on them. You can see this approach if you look at professional boards. If possible, turn on the board, locate the region where the noise is coming from, and put a finger on each of them. If you can locate the piece which causes this noise, some gum/ flexibleglue might help.
Thanks for sharing this, but please forgive me my answer: This noise will only happen to coils and electrolytic capacitor. Never had this before with tantalum electrolytic capacitors. Btw. that's what I have noticed @ work (I am a electronics technician). Sometimes this will happen, looks like this will start when the tolerances are reached.

Anyway, glue is not a solution. For me that's like a fantasy story. Like when you hear coil whine @ GPU and people advise you to replace the PSU. Okay this might work if you have a really, a really cheap PSU but for sure not with premium hardware. And that's the point. These cheap boards aren't premium.

I have the same unit I believe (looks the same inside), and have a little bit of that as well. But I put the case on and it's not audible (or I never paid attention). When you put the case on do you still hear it? There may also be an option in the BIOS for "spread spectrum" that may help. A different better quality power supply may help as well (but there is an equal chance that it won't as well).
Spread spectrum... interesting, that was new for me! Will try to find something in the BIOS, thanks!

And yeah, I'll try the laboratory power supply @ work, but I don't think that will make a difference but that's easy and fast to test.
 
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nitrosont

New Member
Nov 25, 2020
17
9
3
I pulled the trigger and bought a N100 version (four NICs and M.2 daughter board) from CWWK directly.
Right now I'm trying to prepare and get the newest BIOS.

On the site pan.x86pi.cn which is linked on CWWKs website, (with Google translator) I navigated to:
Home => BIOS update => 1.Intel mini host series BIOS => Pioneer Edition N100-N200-i3-N305-BIOS
There are three BIOS linked:
  1. Pioneer version N100-N200-I3-N305 original factory BIOS.iso
  2. Pioneer version N100-N200-I3-N305 expansion board dedicated BIOS - supports 3 select 1 and 4 M.2.iso
  3. Pioneer version N100-N200-I3-N305 supports 5 M.2 expansion boards dedicated BIOS-new version 4 M.2+WIFI to M.2 expansion boards.iso
To be honest, I understand the translation from Google. I assume #2 would be suitable for me with a M.2 daughter board? On the other hand #3 reads "BIOS-new version"... o_O

Which files do you guys use?

(On the site I assumed, the section " 4. Multi-network port network security routing series BIOS" would be correct. But that section is empty)
 

Stovar

Active Member
Dec 27, 2022
181
89
28
I am dealing with noisy N100's in a fanless case!

Bought 2 units and you can hear both of them. It's like a kind of coil whine but more like a power supply that makes noise.


This happens without load. The noise will go away when I run stress -c 1. It's really annoying because my real workstation is 100% silent (super good ears, but running a big MoRa watercooling system, even with the 3080 and the 5900X) in all situations.

Tried some tweaks in the BIOS but haven't found a solution yet. The seller yohirs hasn't found a solution and it sounds like they can't reproduce it or wont... the answer: " Hi,the pc is not have fan,we can't confirm the original sound from what location, please tell me where you think the sound comes from." - WTF...

Again, 2 units, both act the same. And I don't think it's RAM or NVMe related.
That is a pickle since it sounds like its coming from the board itself. Ask the supplier if you can return them would be my 1st thought.

These mini pcs do have very poor generic power supplies but again chances are low its this but its always worth a shot, if you have one of those
universal laptop power adapters or can borrow one its worth a test or one you can test and return ie amazon used stock/clearance etc.

You could attempt to run it in for a week or 2 and see if it helps or if there set up as routers or mini pcs move them to a cupboard and far away from yourself or others to isolate the noise. You can run usb extensions and fiber optic cables to cover extend the distance.

Another long shot but if the coils or capacitors or whatever part is causing the issue, surely they can be removed and an higher quality component part could be installed?

These are just some ideas, not sure any would work mind but long shot attempts.
 

Xairoo

New Member
Nov 28, 2023
6
10
3
I tested my GW Instek GPS-2303 power supply, that's a really good one. Nothing changed.

Also very interesting: When in BIOS it will stop while you press the arrow keys (until you release it). Kind of producing "load" LOL

And there is no such spread spectrum entry.

Returning sucks. I live in Switzerland and I don't want to deal with Aliexpress stores for too long.

Replacing the bad part is no problem because I have all tools at work, but I just have to find the bad unit. Can use a microphone to find it, but it will take less time to place it far away from me than finding the bad guy(s).

Anyway, I can reduce and also eliminate it with some stress... stress-ng -c 1 -l 25 (use 1 core and produce 25% of load on that core, maybe it can be lower, haven't tested yet).
Have to check the power consumption ;)

All things considered the N100 is far better than the RPI4 and I am happy that I canceled the RPI5 order =))
 

indiekiduk

New Member
Sep 12, 2020
5
0
1
I pulled the trigger and bought a N100 version (four NICs and M.2 daughter board) from CWWK directly.
Right now I'm trying to prepare and get the newest BIOS.

On the site pan.x86pi.cn which is linked on CWWKs website, (with Google translator) I navigated to:
Home => BIOS update => 1.Intel mini host series BIOS => Pioneer Edition N100-N200-i3-N305-BIOS
There are three BIOS linked:
  1. Pioneer version N100-N200-I3-N305 original factory BIOS.iso
  2. Pioneer version N100-N200-I3-N305 expansion board dedicated BIOS - supports 3 select 1 and 4 M.2.iso
  3. Pioneer version N100-N200-I3-N305 supports 5 M.2 expansion boards dedicated BIOS-new version 4 M.2+WIFI to M.2 expansion boards.iso
To be honest, I understand the translation from Google. I assume #2 would be suitable for me with a M.2 daughter board? On the other hand #3 reads "BIOS-new version"... o_O

Which files do you guys use?

(On the site I assumed, the section " 4. Multi-network port network security routing series BIOS" would be correct. But that section is empty)
Depends which version you bought, C - with straight heatsink fins or B - with Y fins? A - doesn't support the daughter board. Or just share the link to the product page so we can be sure.
 

indiekiduk

New Member
Sep 12, 2020
5
0
1
I got a N305 V2 with the 4x M.2 expansion board from Topton. After asking how to enable PCIe bifurcation they send me three different BIOS files (named 5M.2+WIFI, 4M.2+SATA, PXE=CSM) and said that one needs to flash a different BIOS depending on the wanted configuration. None of them seems to be flashable on the V2. Has anyone been able to enable the 4x M.2 expansion? I would like to use all 5 M.2 slots.
How did you get the 4x M.2 expansion board from Topton? Their Aliexpress store doesn't list it and it isn't an option for the MiniPC. Did you message them or something?