Hardware Build Critique

  • I've been looking to build a pfsense box for some time, but have been deliberating between server options like the Dell R210 II w/ E3-1220 vs. custom builds.

    For a high-performance build, I was thinking of something like this (Prices are in useless CAD money  :'()

    Dell PowerEdge R210 II Rack 1U Server Intel Xeon E3-1230 16GB  for $300.

  • I'd take the R210 II any time. Why bother with custom builds when you can have a rock solid server platform with the benefit of ECC RAM and iDRAC management, especially for less money? It's a high quality hardware with spare parts available all over the eBay. A no-brainer for me. It will be noisier though… I wouldn't put it next to my bed for sure. :)

    The R210 has a dual Broadcom NIC on board. I don't know what is the current state of the BSD driver for these, I generally tend to stick with Intel em driver so I would whack some Intel card in just to be sure (the HP NC360T you mentioned for the custom build will work fine). The Xeon E3-1230 has more than enough power to run a networking appliance, especially since it does support AES-NI which allows for fast VPN setups.

  • Dell PowerEdge R210 II Rack 1U Server Intel Xeon E3-1230 16GB  for $300.

    Plus a SSD, perhaps plus an Intel i340-T4 or i350-t4 or perhaps an Intel Pro/1000 PT quad port NIC
    and all will be fine for you to run a big and strong pfSense appliance.

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