Can anyone suggest the relative importance of the various factors which can maximise the performance of a pfSense box?
Out of CPU, ram, hard disk size/speed, NIC etc, is it possible to identify the weakest link or suggest an upgrade which would provide the greatest benefit?
I talking about a small home system for a limited number of users… and a limited budget :)
NIC is the most important, then the CPU. Memory makes little difference for all but the fastest systems. Just make sure you have enough memory to handle all of your states and services. Harddrives don't matter much. I would recommend SSDs only because they're cheap, quite, power efficient, and typically reliable. CFCards are cheap, but they tend to fail in funny ways that makes you wonder why you're having problems.
At the moment I'm using an old ThinkPad laptop with the addition of a USB ethernet NIC which only supports 100Mb, the onboard Intel NIC does 1GB, so there is obviously a bottle neck. I've been looking for a 1GB USB NIC which FreeBSD supports but have been unable to locate one. I do have both USB and PCMCIA 1Gb NICs but can't find drivers for them…
Incidentally, is there any way to measure performance of my pfSense box?