Thoughts about this Apollo Lake Celeron board (N3350)?



  • The CF card in my trusty Alix.2D13 got corrupted yet_again after a power outage (at least that's what I suspect - haven't tried to fix it yet), and I'm thinking to get something more future proof since I may want to start using OpenVPN and maybe some day I'll have faster WAN as well (there's always hope, currently ~4Mbps  :o). Anyway, looking to get this: https://www.minipc.de/catalog/il/1409

    "This board is produced by MITAC, the OEM producer of Intel DN2800MT. This board is based on Intel DN2800MT, but is equipped with the modern Intel Apollo Lake platform."

    Intel Apollo Lake N3350 dual core processor
        Dual channel DDR3L 1867 SO-DIMMs, 8GB MAX
        2x Intel I211-AT (10/100/1000 Mb/s) Ethernet LAN controller
        2 SATA 6Gb/s (one multiplexed with an m.2 slot)
        Two RS232
        One PCIe x1 connector
        Two M.2 slots for storage and wireless expansion
        8 V to 24 V wide-range voltage input via back-panel DC jack or internal power connector

    My question is not so much about performance - I'm pretty sure this will be plenty fast for my needs. More about compatibility with pfSense. I've heard people having difficulties getting pfSense to run on UEFI-only systems, as well as FreeBSD 10 and 11 not officially supporting Apollo Lake yet. I may have missed it, but has anyone gotten pfSense to work well on an Apollo Lake Celeron?

    Any other potential problems with this board I may have missed?

    Thanks a lot!


  • Banned

    I'm not sure what you mean about FreeBSD 10 & 11 not supporting Apollo Lake? (links?)

    I've benchmarked my J3355B on pfSense and it is a strong performer on pfSense.

    pfSense 2.4.0 BETA is very stable for home use (I've been using for months with many packages and no issues).  It is FreeBSD 11, supports UEFI and has OpenVPN 2.4 with AES-GCM for your servers!

    Unless you need a really small form factor then I would advise passing on the N-series Apollo Lake Celeron board you listed and getting a J335B-ITX board + an eBay used i340-t4.
    https://www.amazon.de/Asrock-J3355B-ITX-Hauptplatine-schwarz-braun/dp/B01M9EXCYB/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492586619&sr=8-1&keywords=j3355b

    http://www.ebay.de/itm/Intel-NetApp-I340-T4-Gb-Ethernet-Server-Adapter-P-N-111-00865-A0-E1G44HTG1P20-/142335277721?hash=item2123d7fa99:g:J1cAAOSwdGFY4gxo

    A quick google search turned up those two that you can buy right now in your area. You can probably find a better deal than my google search.
    That combo looks to be ~€9 cheaper than the board you posted and it is more powerful with double the NICs.


  • Banned

    BTW, you might want to try out pfSense 2.4.0 BETA on your current machine.

    2.4 includes ZFS install support which is MUCH more resilient to corruption than UFS.



  • Thanks for the reply, pfBasic!

    Right now there is only one link I can find again, I didn't take note of the others:
    https://www.reddit.com/r/PFSENSE/comments/5s4s02/apollo_lake_support_my_asrock_j3455bitx_experience/

    This discussion is 2 months old, so this may not be the current state. Or maybe they were wrong even back then? It's just that searching for "pfsense apollo lake" doesn't turn up too many informative hits on compatibility yet. I'm happy to hear this should work just fine.

    As for the alternative you propose - I can see why you recommend it. It's cheaper, slightly more powerful, more and better (?) LAN interfaces. It's just that I'm sold on a low footprint and really low power consumption. Yes, I know it's never going to be interesting financially, even for 24/7 operation. But I want my basic network equipment to be able to run on battery backup for as long as possible.


  • Banned

    Well those are all great reasons to go with the N-series Celerons then!

    There was an issue a couple of months ago about system time. It was something that had been in the code for a while but it doesn't affect too many people. It has since been patched. It also was not Apollo Lake specific.

    His setup didn't work on 2.3 UEFI because 2.3 doesn't support UEFI, 2.4 does.

    In general, you don't really have to worry about compatibility issues with pfSense so long as it is an Intel CPU & NIC. Not saying that's the only stuff that works, just that you almost certainly won't have compatibility issues if using those things.



  • Great - thanks again! Stuff is ordered, but it'll probably be a while until I get 'round to setting it up (2+ weeks at least, probably more). I'll report back once it's running.



  • @JanW:

    Great - thanks again! Stuff is ordered, but it'll probably be a while until I get 'round to setting it up (2+ weeks at least, probably more). I'll report back once it's running.

    I'm interested in this board as well, any news to share?



  • I've installed pfSense 2.4.0 Beta on it and things work very well. So far, I haven't had the time to do much testing on VPN performance, but I'm not worried - as I mentioned, my WAN is slow. I've not done much testing of power consumption either, but I was unimpressed with the little I've seen. I'm not sure I remember the numbers correctly, but I think idle was like 7W (at the wall with a reasonably good 19V wallwart) - I was hoping to get below 5W at idle. Probably just me being a bit too obsessed with idle power of my devices.

    Be aware that cases with existing cutouts for PD10BI/PD10RI do not fit the PD10AI. You need either a case that accepts the included I/O back panels or a Dremel. I chose the latter option, as at the time the case I got was listed erroneously as compatible and I didn't feel like waiting for an RMA. That was a pain but ended up working nicely.



  • would suggest something with a quad core



  • @pfBasic:

    BTW, you might want to try out pfSense 2.4.0 BETA on your current machine.

    Really?
    Show me how on this:
    @JanW:

    my trusty Alix.2D13

    That's a 32-bit AMD Geode CPU in there…


  • Banned

    Good catch.