Topton Jasper Lake Quad i225V Mini PC Report

dazagrt

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Mar 1, 2021
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I’m not seeing that issue. I get solid 2.44-2.48gbps in both directions.
Cheers for that.

That's very close to theoretically max!
I read back to see a link to which one you bought but I found that you scored an N6005 ES cpu so I might pass on that. ;)
 

dazagrt

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Mar 1, 2021
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Well now I have something weird.

I got a NVME SSD (here) to replace the SATA I was using so I could add the fan. I come to discover my Topton unit (N5105 with 6 ports) won't boot (power light stays off) when I have the NVME installed. Any combination with the NVME (with or without fan or SATA) doesn't power on.
If the NVME was bad wouldn't the device still go to BIOS and just not recognize the drive?
No, not necessarily, it can cause some boards to not POST at all, I have had that happen in the past. Check the NVMe SSD, in a 'known good' system or external housing before going any further.
 

prdtabim

Active Member
Jan 29, 2022
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Cheers for that.

That's very close to theoretically max!
I read back to see a link to which one you bought but I found that you scored an N6005 ES cpu so I might pass on that. ;)
2.48 Gb/s is achieved in a 2.5Gb/s link using mtu 9000 ( jumbo frames ).
 

bhigh

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Oct 5, 2016
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What kind of ssd are\were you using? High performance?
The board only has a stand off for m.2 2242 drives, but I only have spare 2280 drives so I ordered the cheapest I could find. I was using an OEM sk.hynix BC711. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09V1SPXK1

The drive got up to 86+ degrees when running prime95. The drive itself was idle and would not have contributed much to the temperature.

The first one is a big one! What i mean by that, is that getting an ES CPU while expecting to receive a retail one is a really bad thing since its not stated anywhere on the sales page that is an ES CPU, so the router\minipc should be returned without a question... In other words, its a situation that the person who bought can't easily fix it or work on it by themselves.
This is just deceptive on the part of the seller. A risk of buying from a seller that's in a race to the bottom, but still inexcusable.

The second one can be worked on using several ways, so to me it can be fixed with some DiY if needed! Which is something that does not seem to be the case for everyone(by the reports on this thread), because not everyone is trying to use high performance NVME SSD's and such, in a passive cooled system and we know for a fact that high performance NVME SSD's will generate a lot of heat.

The third one can also be fixed easily by buying a good Power Supply.
This is where the value proposition of buying from AliExpress starts to drop off.

@gregg098 spent ~ $15 to get an external fan for one system, @mubs spent ~ $25 for a Noctua fan to use with his system. In both cases this raises the total cost by 10%. If you can add a fan to the case, a Noctua 40x10 5V fan is ~ $15

A quality power supply is another $25 - $30, adding another ~ 15%.

With DIY fixes the $230 barebones system costs $275 with a fan and power supply, or 20% more. For another $50 you can get something from Protectli (FW4B) or Netgate (SG-2100) with a 1-year warranty and US-based support. Performance will be a little lower but they're more likely to Just Work.

Sometimes it's better to spend a little more. For instance, a friend of mine bought a 60 gallon air compressor that was on clearance from Harbor Freight for ~ $250. The pump seized after about 6 months, so he replaced it with one that cost around $200. Then the motor burnt out (probably because the new pump was too big) and that was another $200. His $250 compressor ended up costing closer to $650. You could also include another $350 he had to spend on a 20 gallon portable tank to use while the big tank was unusable. 60 gal compressors from DEWALT or Ingersoll Rand are ~ $900 and wouldn't have left him without air for his shop and forced him to rely on an undersized tank while parts were shipped.
 
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xShARkx

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Jun 12, 2022
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The board only has a stand off for m.2 2242 drives, but I only have spare 2280 drives so I ordered the cheapest I could find. I was using an OEM sk.hynix BC711. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09V1SPXK1

The drive got up to 86+ degrees when running prime95. The drive itself was idle and would not have contributed much to the temperature.
I see, but you got the system with the i5 right? Yeah i could not see it having good thermals being passive only. To me the limit of the current chassis is the N5105, unless the manufacturers improved the heat transfer from the CPU to the chassis with copper pipes and other solutions.

This is just deceptive on the part of the seller. A risk of buying from a seller that's in a race to the bottom, but still inexcusable.
Yes, ofc! Thats why i said that you need to immediately return it without even thinking about it too much.

This is where the value proposition of buying from AliExpress starts to drop off.

@gregg098 spent ~ $15 to get an external fan for one system, @mubs spent ~ $25 for a Noctua fan to use with his system. In both cases this raises the total cost by 10%. If you can add a fan to the case, a Noctua 40x10 5V fan is ~ $15

A quality power supply is another $25 - $30, adding another ~ 15%.

With DIY fixes the $230 barebones system costs $275 with a fan and power supply, or 20% more. For another $50 you can get something from Protectli (FW4B) or Netgate (SG-2100) with a 1-year warranty and US-based support. Performance will be a little lower but they're more likely to Just Work.
To me you need to re-think those numbers tbh.

My logic here is that you are comparing the current generation of x86 routers from ali express with the old one that Protectli is offering, in other words, you are comparing the J3160 and J4125 vs the N5095, N5105 and N6005 + 1Gb ports vs 2.5Gb ports + M-SATA vs NVME and etc.

To get the correct price difference, you either have to compare the older generation of aliexpress x86 routers that use j3160 and j4125 + gigabit ports + m-sata and etc, to the current generation of Protectli products or you have to wait until Protectli(in reality YangLing) releases new versions with the new Celerons\Atoms + 2.5Gbe + NVME and etc. Otherwise this price comparison that you did here is wrong, at least in my opinion.

Both the FW4B from Protectli with the J3160 and the Netgate SG-21000 with a Dual-Core A53 ARM CPU are not going have a little bit lower performance than the current generation of x86 routers from aliexpress(N5095/N5105/N6005), in reality the difference is going to be really big:



Another thing to think about, is that when you buy a descent power supply and a descent fan like the noctua and you replace the hardware that you were using them with, you can always repurpose\reuse them for another hardware or keep them for a future hardware! So its not like you are going to buy them for 1 time use which then makes them have a worst cost-benefit ratio.

Also Protectli is using power supplies from ktec(from the pictures in their site), i think this is the right web site for ktec:


Do they make good and realible power supplies? Its a honest question, since i am not familiar with the quality of their products :D

One more think and as i have said before, is that people cant assume that everybody here in this forum is from the US and that everybody will care for an US based warranty + support... Ill be honest, the only thing that calls my attention in Protecli products is the coreboot support that i am starting to learn about :D

How good in reality is Protectli warranty and support? Are there any real feedback out there somewhere? Honest question as well, cause otherwise you just buying from YangLing which is also a chinese manufacturer for 100 bucks more.
 
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bhigh

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My logic here is that you are comparing the current generation of x86 routers from ali express with the old one that Protectli is offering, in other words, you are comparing the J3160 and J4125 vs the N5095, N5105 and N6005 + 1Gb ports vs 2.5Gb ports + M-SATA vs NVME and etc.

To get the correct price difference, you either have to compare the older generation of aliexpress x86 routers that use j3160 and j4125 + gigabit ports + m-sata and etc, to the current generation of Protectli products or you have to wait until Protectli(in reality YangLing) releases new versions with they new Celerons\Atoms + 2.5Gbe + NVME and etc. Otherwise this price comparison that you did here is wrong, at least in my opinion.
There isn't a good 1:1 comparison until newer models are available. Protectli is using a different ODM for newer systems and I can't compare the AE vs. VAR prices. I've been told that they'll be releasing additional systems in August and September too.

The J3160 running OPNsense can handle 1Gbps without too many additional packages. I have 1Gbps fiber and use a fair number of rules with fq_codel shaping. At that speed, there's no practical benefit from the 2.5Gbps links. That pegs the CPU, but it works. I'd like to run IDS and more reporting, but memory and cpu limits slow things down too much.

From what I understand, the only reason ODMs have started using the i225 is because the i210/i211 are no longer available. Someone else in this thread pointed out that the 6x PCIe 2.0 links on a J4125 to the i225 would only provide ~ 2.0Gbps. The N5095/N5105/N6005 have 8 lanes and PCIe 3.x though.

Another thing to think about, is that when you buy a descent power supply and a descent fan like the noctua and you replace the hardware that you were using them with, you can always repurpose\reuse them for another hardware or keep them for a future hardware! So its not like you are going to buy them for 1 time use which then makes them have a worst cost-benefit ratio.
If the included power supply can't be trusted, do you want to use it somewhere else? I'd wager not.

I'm assuming that any accessories or additional purposes will stay with the system. When I upgrade my current router I'm going to put it at my partner's home or pass it on to a friend. If I had a AliExpress system, I'd pass on the additional power supply and cooling since they're required for the system to run properly.

I haven't tested the Ktec power adapter, but the wall wart is cool to touch so it's not wasting too much power. Next time I have an excuse to shut down the system I'll plug it into a Kill-a-Watt to see how much it's pulling from the wall.

One more think and as i have said before, is that people cant assume that everybody here in this forum is from the US and that everybody will care for an US based warranty + support... Ill be honest, the only thing that calls my attention in Protecli products is the coreboot support that i am starting to learn about :D

How good in reality is Protectli warranty and support? Are there any real feedback out there somewhere? Honest question as well.
US and European companies are subject to stricter customer protection laws than companies on AliExpress. This carries over to the support options. I don't know how expensive or fast it is to ship between the US and Brazil, but I would think it's on par with China to Brazil?

Regarding Protectli's support, I have some experience. I purchased a FW4B (J3160) system with 8G RAM and 120G SSD for $340 from Amazon in late 2020. After only a month or two I had to RMA the drive in my system. They asked for logs and I sent them output from the syslog and smartctl. They sent a new drive which arrived 2 days later.

Assuming that you bought a system with memory and ssd from AE, the base price would have been about $300, closer to $350 with a new power supply and a fan. Buying a replacement drive would have cost about $30, bringing the AliExpress system price up to $380.

I hope I'm not coming across as a shill for Protectli, but their hardware is the most comparable to AliExpress systems. The only connection I have is that I own an FW4B, and I recently emailed them about the newer systems and they were able to give me a few hand-wavy answers about future plans.
 
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xShARkx

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Jun 12, 2022
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There isn't a good 1:1 comparison until newer models are available. Protectli is using a different ODM for newer systems and I can't compare the AE vs. VAR prices. I've been told that they'll be releasing additional systems in August and September too.
Well if we are talking about the exactly same hardware, then the only comparison 1:1 that you can do is if you compare Protectli with YangLing which is the ODM...

For me this difference is about 100 bucks if i buy strait from YangLing instead of buying from Protectli, without taxes and etc ofc :p.! In other words, if i buy strait from the ODM which is YangLing ill pay US$ 240,55 for the F4WB bare bones model and if i buy from Protectli it will be US$ 339,00 and again without including taxes and etc.

But to illustrate better what i mean, lets use this as an example:


Its US$ 160,00 for a x86 router with a j4125 + 2.5Gb which is much less than the US$ 230,00 that you used for your calculations as base price while comparing a system using a j3160 + 1Gb ports + M-Sata and etc from Protectli, against a system using a n5105 or above + 2.5Gb ports + NVME and etc from Aliexpress.

What i mean is that this J4125 system already has better hardware than the FW4B and its cheaper than the N5105 systems and above, so if you want to do a comparison of Cost x Benefit between an Aliexpress system and the FW4B system from Protectli, then you should start either with a system with the same CPU or the closest thing, which is the J4125 so the calculation should start at US$160,00 and not at U$$230,00, and that's what i mean :D

PS: There are even cheaper j4125 models than this one that i've found for US$ 160,00

The only thing you might need to buy for a j4125 system is a power supply since from what i saw so far from people who got them, is that they don't get hot at all! So a fan is not needed...

So if we do the calculations using this j4125 bare bones system which is US$ 160,00 + US$ 30,00 for a power supply, then we have US$ 190,00 which is almost half of the price for the FW4B bare bones which has inferior CPU and ports.

The only advantage Protectli has here is the coreboot support, and according to you a better warranty\better support.

The J3160 running OPNsense can handle 1Gbps without too many additional packages. At that speed, there's no practical benefit from the 2.5Gbps links. I have 1Gbps fiber and use a fair number of rules with fq_codel shaping. That pegs the CPU, but it works. I'd like to run IDS and more reporting, but memory and cpu limits slow things down too much.
Well the thing is that each person will have a different use, necessity and/or want to do something with it just because they want to do it, so just because the j3160 is enough for you, it might not be enough for someone else...

I see ppl that will host more than only a router system on their x86, in other words, it will have more than one function. I even see ppl from my own country doing load balance / link aggregation of over gigabit speeds of like 1.5 Gb or more, ppl that want to use snort, suricata and other things for security and etc.

From what I understand, the only reason ODMs have started using the i225 is because the i210/i211 are no longer available. Someone else in this thread pointed out that the 6x PCIe 2.0 links on a J4125 to the i225 would only provide ~ 2.0Gbps. The N5095/N5105/N6005 have 8 lanes and PCIe 3.x though.
I can't say anything for sure about any of this information and for the hypothetical max speeds based on the PCIe situation of the j4125, well the only thing i can say is that 2 Gb is still > than 1Gb.

If the included power supply can't be trusted, do you want to use it somewhere else? I'd wager not.

I'm assuming that any accessories or additional purposes will stay with the system. When I upgrade my current router I'm going to put it at my partner's home or pass it on to a friend. If I had a AliExpress system, I'd pass on the additional power supply and cooling since they're required for the system to run properly.
Well when i buy one of these systems and then later when pass it or resell it to someone else, then i either charge the person to include the upgraded power supply and noctua fan(cause like i said they are good quality, can be repurposed be myself and i had to pay more for them) or i keep them for myself to reuse\repurpose them, and then i warn the person who is getting the system that the original power supply that came with it is not good and that it needs a fan :D

If its something of good quality that i can reuse\repurpose, then i won't give it for free for sure :D... Unless its for a person that is a really good friend of mine and\or that owe something to.

So this way, the extra price payed for the power supply and fan had a really good cost-benefit ratio when reusing them or i get most if not all of my money back when reselling them...

I haven't tested the Ktec power adapter, but the wall wart is cool to touch so it's not wasting too much power. Next time I have an excuse to shut down the system I'll plug it into a Kill-a-Watt to see how much it's pulling from the wall.
Thanks for the info and ill wait those results :)

US and European companies are subject to stricter customer protection laws than companies on AliExpress. This carries over to the support options. I don't know how expensive or fast it is to ship between the US and Brazil, but I would think it's on par with China to Brazil?
The time for a something to arrive from the USA to Brazil, i cant say for sure! Since i never brought anything coming from there :p Why? Cause the import tax of anything coming from the USA is an absurd, Its like paying for the product twice or eve more than twice the price.

For me and from china, it takes usually about 15 to 30 days and the shipping price for 90% of things in aliexpress is free. Another reason is that things that i buy from aliexpress and because the way the shipping works from china, the chance of not paying any import taxes is high unless its smartphone or something like it.

Regarding Protectli's support, I have some experience. I purchased a FW4B (J3160) system with 8G RAM and 120G SSD for $340 from Amazon in late 2020. After only a month or two I had to RMA the drive in my system. They asked for logs and I sent them output from the syslog and smartctl. They sent a new drive which arrived 2 days later.
Good info, thanks :)

Assuming that you bought a system with memory and ssd from AE, the base price would have been about $300, closer to $350 with a new power supply and a fan. Buying a replacement drive would have cost about $30, bringing the AliExpress system price up to $380.
Sry and again, what kinda of calculation are you doing? Cause the one that i did, has completely different prices...

PS: We also can't use prices from 2 years ago.

J4125 system from aliexpress in 2022 with 8GB ram and 128GB SSD:



N5105 V3 system from aliexpress in 2022 with 8GB ram and 128GB NVME SSD:



FW4B system from Protectli in 2022 with 8GB ram and 120GB SSD:



On amazon its even worse, since its US$ 500,00 for the F4WB.



Se that amazing import tax and fees? LMAO.

I hope I'm not coming across as a shill for Protectli, but their hardware is the most comparable to AliExpress systems. The only connection I have is that I own an FW4B, and I recently emailed them about the newer systems and they were able to give me a few hand-wavy answers about future plans.
You are not, don't worry! I am just brain storming possibilities, information, facts and etc with you :D
 
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rwojo

New Member
Jul 7, 2022
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Wow, yeah. This is a 15W TDP part so would demand something better, the heat pipe should help a ton.

Right now I'm going to hold off until others pave the way and stress test. I'm currently in the hole around $300 for the N6005 6 port that nuked itself that I will have to either get a refund for or file for credit card protection.

This is a vibrant space though, exciting!
 

ReturnedSword

Active Member
Jun 15, 2018
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Santa Monica, CA
Topton asked me to advertise this model the other week before it was even posted onto their store. It seems some customers have already gotten it since the This is the new X6A model with Tiger Lake support and using a new chassis revision. I told them declined as I will not blindly recommend without testing it myself or seeing actual pictures, and preferably if I had one on hand I can test myself. I offered to test for them but they declined :p

This was the origin of the long discussion I had with Topton about thermal design that I mentioned previously. A summary of my thoughts:
  • New chassis revision with redesigned cooling fins and sides.
  • Revised ventilated bottom panel plate that started with the X4C “V3” N5105/N6005.
  • Addition of two heat pipes and improved copper plug/transfer plate.
The main issue here is the new chassis revision seems to actually have less mass, and has deleted the side fins. Aluminum is excellent at radiating heat compared to copper or other metals, however to radiate the heat to the ambient environment the mass should be sufficient to sink the heat, then the surface area should be sufficient to radiate the heat faster than the heat can be sinked (absorbed) by the overall mass of aluminum. Usually this is facilitated by using more and/or thinner fins to increase surface area.

However if the fins as too dense there is an effect in thermal dynamics that would cause a “bubble” of heat to be trapped between the medium conducting the heat and ambient air. This is why dense fins are usually assisted by something to move the ambient air, e.g. a fan.

The new chassis has less fins (the sides) and from visual observation it appears the overall mass is less. Also flat sides don’t radiate heat that well.

Addition of heat pipes is good, however I’m not sure if the heat pipes are even soldered to the chassis or not. In any case there needs to be a way for the waste heat to transfer, commonly using solder, less common would be using thermal paste or tape. Physical contact is not a good way to transfer heat as there will always be physical imperfections, more so in lower quality CNC manufacturing. The best way would’ve been to revise the cooling fins, including the sides, and use heat pipes to transfer a portion of waste heat distributed from the top and the sides of the chassis.

The previous chassis couldn’t handle Tiger Lake, as it can barely handle Jasper Lake. This chassis is a revision or iteration, not a totally new chassis. Ability to use a fan would help cool the NVMe and RAM, however it doesn’t do much to help the chassis itself move heat faster. I doubt this model would allow Tiger Lake to run to its potential in a passively cooled configuration.

Topton should pay us to consult for them lol. I guess the “good” part of all this is it seems Topton, Changwang, Bluetech are iterating quite fast.
 

LucidityCrash

New Member
Jul 18, 2022
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How have you guys returned units ? ... just got a message effectively telling me to commit customs fraud to return it
 

dazagrt

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Mar 1, 2021
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How have you guys returned units ? ... just got a message effectively telling me to commit customs fraud to return it
I formally lodged my "return & refund" dispute yesterday, so we'll see what happens, but they have until the 28th.

"If the seller does not respond or no agreement is made before 2022-07-28 03:04:10, AliExpress will step in and help you to solve this issue. "
 

Lance Longreen

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Sep 10, 2019
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Was told by the Topton /Kingnovy circus that even the N6005 says plus 100 units in stock on Aliexpress this is actually at 0 units an dit will be months for more N6005 units... Will a N5105 be sufficient for a 250/250 connection with basic snort ruleset and a OpenVPN tunnel of around 150 Mbit?
 

gregg098

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Jun 7, 2019
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I got my N6005 unit about a week and half ago and so far its been OK. I think the one I got is the V1. I have Proxmox loaded on mine with OPNsense in one VM, then a few LXCs for things like my Unifi controller, Omada controller, and for a VPN. I'm using 1 port for WAN (2.5G cable modem) and 2 ports in a Proxmox bond to my main switch (1G). I use all Linux bridges to pass to OPNsense. I don't use IDS/IPS, but have 5 VLANs and a bunch of firewall rules and misc services. I get full internet speed (~1350 down / ~42 up).

The CPU temps idle between 45-55C (and up to 60+ occasionally when under some load). NNVMe temps around 50-55C. I have not done extensive testing, just observations. I also did add some thermal pads on the NICs and NVMe before turning it on the first time. I did not do anything to the CPU.

I added THIS fan and it dropped CPU temps to low 30s and keeps the NVMe temp around 45C. The unit I received has openings on the bottom around the VESA mount so I chose to put the fan under the unit blowing up into it. It seems to cool better this way vs blowing away from the unit or putting the fan on top. The fan size is almost perfect for this setup and its very quiet. It would be nicer to not have a fan, but it is what it s right now.

Originally I use some of the BIOS tweaks listed in these pages and things seemed to work OK, then I had a few days where my OPNsense VM kept stopping on "internal error" according to Proxmox. Internet would just die until I restarted it manually. I never really did figure out what it was, but I ended up reverting all BIOS settings to default (I did re-enable a few things like C states and some others that made sense, but didnt tweak thermal limits or anything). I also did a fresh install of OPNsense since I wanted to configure it a little differently anyhow. Things have been rock solid since then. I'm not entirely sure which change fixed my crashing issue, but it works now. The VM that crashed was used on another machine temporarily for some time now with no issues.

Topton was never really honest about when the unit shipped. They marked it shipped right before the Ali Express window ran out and gave me bogus tracking numbers. Support gave me the run around ("it takes awhile to show up in the system") and then it finally actually shipped 2+ weeks later (with a different tracking number). I paid for DHL and got it in two days once it actually made it out. I was really surprised how fast I got it once it did really ship. What's funny is that I order stupid crap from AliExpress sometimes, things like pet toys and other junk. I never pay for shipping on these items. In the time my Topton order with DHL was "shipped," I ordered and received two other junk orders via free air mail from China to US, all of which had updated tracking the next day. And Topton just kept telling me it hasn't updated in the system yet...

Anyways, just some observations so far. If the unit performs like it has the last few days, I'm happy enough.
 

ch0wner

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Jul 25, 2022
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Hey guys! just joined the forum. Glad to see there's an active thread here with very useful comments.
I'm gonna purchase the "new v3" version off toptop's store:


  1. I was just about to ask if any of you had already purchased it and could confirm how are the temps on this chassis?
    1. Would I be better off going with the "old v3" a.k.a the "fat" chassis?
  2. What are the tests I should run upon receiving the device (prime95?)
  3. Should I reapply the thermal paste as some of you did?

Also, my main goal is to install pfsense directly on this machine because I thought the N5105 won't be able to carry the load of virtualizing. However i've seen some of you already successfully installed pfsense over Proxmox and got pretty good results.

If that is the route I shall choose (could help me run some more stuff alongside the pfsense) what should I pick for RAM and SSD? I saw some of you guys also had problems with NVME getting overheated/not recognized by the MOBO.

Cheers!
 

cat2devnull

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Jun 30, 2022
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Also, my main goal is to install pfsense directly on this machine because I thought the N5105 won't be able to carry the load of virtualizing. However i've seen some of you already successfully installed pfsense over Proxmox and got pretty good results.
I have mine running Unraid with pfsense in a VM with 3 of the NICs passed through, plus a chunk of memory and disk. I also have a cluster of dockers running various home automation functions. I'm limited to Gb networking due to my internet link and core switching. All of this is well within the capabilities of the N5105. I have a second 12th Gen Intel server running Plex, NAS, Frigate and other CPU/GPU intensive applications.
 
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ReturnedSword

Active Member
Jun 15, 2018
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Hey guys! just joined the forum. Glad to see there's an active thread here with very useful comments.
I'm gonna purchase the "new v3" version off toptop's store:


  1. I was just about to ask if any of you had already purchased it and could confirm how are the temps on this chassis?
    1. Would I be better off going with the "old v3" a.k.a the "fat" chassis?
  2. What are the tests I should run upon receiving the device (prime95?)
  3. Should I reapply the thermal paste as some of you did?

Also, my main goal is to install pfsense directly on this machine because I thought the N5105 won't be able to carry the load of virtualizing. However i've seen some of you already successfully installed pfsense over Proxmox and got pretty good results.

If that is the route I shall choose (could help me run some more stuff alongside the pfsense) what should I pick for RAM and SSD? I saw some of you guys also had problems with NVME getting overheated/not recognized by the MOBO.

Cheers!
I would not get that model (X2C). As I shared about my observations before, the “fat” chassis can barely handle a N5105 at load, and N6005 overwhelms the chassis. The X2C seems to be a cost optimized “V3” with a cheaper chassis because after all metal costs money. Topton confirmed this is to release a cheaper 4 port unit due to customers in price-sensitive countries.

In terms of virtualizing, it’s possible, even with passthrough as the NICs would be connected to independent PCIe lanes and root ports. However typical virtualization use cases entail utilizing the resources at higher load since usually virtualization is to consolidate independent systems. Personally I would be more comfortable with the “fat” chassis.