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iXsystems FreeNAS Mini Goes XL With 8-Bay Model

The fastest NAS we've ever tested, the iXsystems FreeNAS Mini, went XL with a new 8-bay model. The new iXsystems FreeNAS Mini XL cures one of our only complaints about the system--limited capacity.

The increased capacity appears to be the only change to the FreeNAS Mini XL. The two systems share the same performance specifications and feature list. You can read our review of the FreeNAS Mini here.

The system uses a powerful 8-core Intel processor running at 2.4 GHz. This is enough processing power to drive the additional disks in the ZFS environment. The new XL model retains the internal drives bays used to increase performance through ZIL and L2ARC (read and write) cache technology. iXsystems stated that the new system can support up to 48 TB of raw data depending on the RAID type used. When larger hard disk drives come to market, the figure will increase.

ProductFreeNAS Mini XL
Price$1,499.99 Diskless
CPUIntel 8-Core 2.4 GHz with AES-NI
Memory32 GB DDR3 ECC64 GB Optional
Drive Bays8 Hot Swappable
RAID LevelsRAID-Z1 (RAID 5)RAID-Z2 (RAID 6)ZFS Mirror (RAID 10)ZFS Stripe (RAID 0)
RAID EngineZFS
Network2x Gigabit Ethernet2x Ten Gigabit Ethernet (Optional)
Network ManagementDedicated RJ-45 IPMI Port(Remote Hardware Management)
Read/Write CacheRead Cache - L2ARC (Optional) Boost performance by adding a dedicated, high-performance read cache. Write Cache - ZIL (Optional) Boost performance by adding a dedicated, high-performance write cache.
Weight23.5 Pounds (Diskless)
Warranty1 Year Limited

Since our review of the FreeNAS Mini, iXsystems has made 10-gigabit Ethernet an option for this product family. The new optional feature carries over to the XL and increases the servers' bandwidth back to the network. This allows more users to utilize the system at the same time without a larger performance decrease.

iXsystems has also made improvements to the popular FreeNAS operating system since our review. The company told us that more changes are planned for the coming year, with a focus on an easier-to-manage user interface.

The new FreeNAS Mini XL ships in a number of different configurations but starts out at $1,499.99 with 32GB of ECC DDR3 system memory. Users can opt to have iXsystems install disk drives, additional Ethernet options and cache SSDs, with the price increasing along the way.

Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware, covering Storage. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Follow Tom's Hardware on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Chris Ramseyer
Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews consumer storage.