New build (overkill) for a home router



  • Decided on (and ordered) some hardware for a new pfSense build…

    I decided I didn't like any of the prebuilt options. I want something that has power to spare. Experience has taught me, at least in the computer world, too much power is better than not enough. (Too much power can be dealt with via a fan. If you don't have enough, there isn't much you can do about it.) I VERY seriously considered one of the netgate/pfsense boxes, but I decided that if I'm going to spend $375 (shipped) for their 4 port version, I might as well build something more powerful for ~400 (also shipped.)

    Here's my order list (via amazon)

    • Supermicro Mini ITX A1SRI-2558F-O Quad Core DDR3 1333 MHz Motherboard and CPU Combo

    • M350 Universal Mini-ITX PC enclosure PicoPSU compatible

    • PicoPSU-90 + 80W Adapter Power Kit Cyncronix Rating

    • 2x Kingston Technology ValueRAM 8GB 1600MHz DDR3L PC3-12800 ECC CL11 1.35V SODIMM Notebook Memory KVR16LSE11/8

    • … will also re-use one of the 120GB SSD drives that I removed from other machines (because they were too small.)

    • 1x day off work to get pfsense up and running.

    This processor is the same one in the netgate/pfsense SG-4860. That should be plenty of power for 1 gigabit LAN->WAN routing while running whatever processes tickle me at the moment.  (The irony being that I currently only have a 180/12 provisioned cable modem.)

    The memory is The Flaw in my project. I originally was going to go with a single 8GB SODIMM, but decided (after reading comments on these forums) that memory performance is important to routing performance, so changed my mind to 2x 4GB modules so they could be interleaved. However, when I ordered, amazon didn't have availability (for shipping) of 2 4GB ECC SODIMM PC3-12800 modules, so I decided to just bite the bullet and get the 2x 8GB SODIMM's. I realize that 16 GB of RAM in a psSense is complete overkill, but it was the only way for me to get interleaved memory in a timely fashion.

    Once I have the box up and running, I might decide that I need to add a fan. I really can't tell until I plug it all in and see how it runs.  In theory, it shouldn't need a fan…

    Did I miss anything?

    Take care
    Gary



  • I have a similar setup and really like it. I just run mine straight off a 12 volt power adapter (brick) instead of using the pico psu. The board supports 12v input or ATX input.



  • @cwagz:

    I just run mine straight off a 12 volt power adapter (brick) instead of using the pico psu. The board supports 12v input or ATX input.

    I considered that, but couldn't find the proper 4 pin DIN brick and adapter on amazon.  I might convert over to that at some time (or perhaps just take out the pico PSU and wire directly from the pico PSU's case plug to a 4 pin plug.)  For now, however, I'm okay with the picoPSU.  It makes feeding power to the SSD a bit easier.

    (I really wish these supermicro boards took mSATA… that would really simplify things for me.)



  • I don't really think that the little difference in memory chip will produce significant performance difference in routing.



  • overkill, but great build!



  • @garyd9:

    Decided on (and ordered) some hardware for a new pfSense build…

    I decided I didn't like any of the prebuilt options. I want something that has power to spare. Experience has taught me, at least in the computer world, too much power is better than not enough. (Too much power can be dealt with via a fan. If you don't have enough, there isn't much you can do about it.) I VERY seriously considered one of the netgate/pfsense boxes, but I decided that if I'm going to spend $375 (shipped) for their 4 port version, I might as well build something more powerful for ~400 (also shipped.)

    Here's my order list (via amazon)

    • Supermicro Mini ITX A1SRI-2558F-O Quad Core DDR3 1333 MHz Motherboard and CPU Combo

    • M350 Universal Mini-ITX PC enclosure PicoPSU compatible

    • PicoPSU-90 + 80W Adapter Power Kit Cyncronix Rating

    • 2x Kingston Technology ValueRAM 8GB 1600MHz DDR3L PC3-12800 ECC CL11 1.35V SODIMM Notebook Memory KVR16LSE11/8

    • … will also re-use one of the 120GB SSD drives that I removed from other machines (because they were too small.)

    • 1x day off work to get pfsense up and running.

    This processor is the same one in the netgate/pfsense SG-4860. That should be plenty of power for 1 gigabit LAN->WAN routing while running whatever processes tickle me at the moment.  (The irony being that I currently only have a 180/12 provisioned cable modem.)

    The memory is The Flaw in my project. I originally was going to go with a single 8GB SODIMM, but decided (after reading comments on these forums) that memory performance is important to routing performance, so changed my mind to 2x 4GB modules so they could be interleaved. However, when I ordered, amazon didn't have availability (for shipping) of 2 4GB ECC SODIMM PC3-12800 modules, so I decided to just bite the bullet and get the 2x 8GB SODIMM's. I realize that 16 GB of RAM in a psSense is complete overkill, but it was the only way for me to get interleaved memory in a timely fashion.

    Once I have the box up and running, I might decide that I need to add a fan. I really can't tell until I plug it all in and see how it runs.  In theory, it shouldn't need a fan…

    Did I miss anything?

    Take care
    Gary

    I have the 2758 version on a shelf in my office at work - arrived DOA (overheat led stuck on)

    Supermicro is normally rock solid though - I'm sure you'll be happy with it.

    Never got around to rma'ing it since I discovered the joys of the 2u short depth form factor.

    I need to be able to rack and the 2u is tons more expansion friendly than 1u.



  • @robertfranz:

    Supermicro is normally rock solid though - I'm sure you'll be happy with it.

    Never got around to rma'ing it since I discovered the joys of the 2u short depth form factor.

    I need to be able to rack and the 2u is tons more expansion friendly than 1u.

    I don't have a rack to put rackable stuff in.  If I ever get one (do they sell 1/3 height racks?), I might transplant this machine into a rackable case.

    I have to tell you (and anyone else who listens) that this machine is awesome.  Not as awesome as the 2758, of course, but for $60 (US) less than the 2758, it's still really nice.  The thing is WAYYYY overkill for what I'm using it for, but that's okay.  Too much processor power and memory is always better than not enough!

    I ended up putting a tiny 40mm x 10mm  fan in the box that spins at a mere 3500 RPM (which makes it impossible to hear from 2 feet away.)  The 4 core temps stay between 40 and 48 degrees celsius, and that's in an area that has an ambient temp of around 30 C.  I'm sure if I put more than 1/2 second of thought into it, I could probably keep the thing cooler, but 40-50C is well within spec for that board/processor.  (Just plopping a 120mm fan on the top of the case running at a very slow speed would probably make a huge difference.)

    My biggest problem now is that I feel like I need to pay for a higher uplink speed in order to properly make use of this thing. :)



  • @garyd9:

    @robertfranz:

    Supermicro is normally rock solid though - I'm sure you'll be happy with it.

    Never got around to rma'ing it since I discovered the joys of the 2u short depth form factor.

    I need to be able to rack and the 2u is tons more expansion friendly than 1u.

    I don't have a rack to put rackable stuff in.  If I ever get one (do they sell 1/3 height racks?), I might transplant this machine into a rackable case.

    I have to tell you (and anyone else who listens) that this machine is awesome.  Not as awesome as the 2758, of course, but for $60 (US) less than the 2758, it's still really nice.  The thing is WAYYYY overkill for what I'm using it for, but that's okay.  Too much processor power and memory is always better than not enough!

    I ended up putting a tiny 40mm x 10mm  fan in the box that spins at a mere 3500 RPM (which makes it impossible to hear from 2 feet away.)  The 4 core temps stay between 40 and 48 degrees celsius, and that's in an area that has an ambient temp of around 30 C.  I'm sure if I put more than 1/2 second of thought into it, I could probably keep the thing cooler, but 40-50C is well within spec for that board/processor.  (Just plopping a 120mm fan on the top of the case running at a very slow speed would probably make a huge difference.)

    My biggest problem now is that I feel like I need to pay for a higher uplink speed in order to properly make use of this thing. :)

    they do sell 12U and 24U rack enclosures, if you have the room:

    https://www.amazon.com/Tripp-Lite-SR12UB-Enclosure-Capacity/dp/B0043WF9E8


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