Mini-ITX home use



  • Hi, Ive done enough research to know PFSense is what I want, but as always the devil is in the details.
    Im looking for some hardware suggestions, and this is where I am at so far.

    I have a home Cable connection 20Mbit down/800k up, which will be upgraded to 50Mbit down eventually.
    I have 3 machines running off this connection, which mostly is torrent style traffic, and a lot of Gaming MMO.
    From the specs on the site a 500 MHz CPU is recommended for this speed connection, perhaps faster if i will want to enable Trafic shaping?
    Ive been looking at an mini ITX with dual LAN, but most seem to have horrible LAN chipsets.

    Can anyone make a suggestion of hardware they found would be good in this situation?

    Many thanks



  • I wouldn't focus so much on the lan chipsets. I got a 100/10 Mbit connection with multiple servers and clients behind a passively cooled Jetway J7F4K1G2E based Mini-ITX box running pfSense 1.2.1. Even with 100Mbit of bittorrent traffic the cpu usage rarely goes higher than 30%.

    This board uses dual Realtek RTL8110SC 10/100/1000 PCI NIC's which is basically the cheapest GBit NIC's you can find…



  • VirginMedia by chance?

    Very simply, avoid the low end (10/100) Realtek chipsets, the newer Gbit chipsets are ok.  Go with Intel (server grade) if you can but check everything against the supported hardware list (for FreeBSD 6.2 for pfSense 1.2 or FreeBSD 7.0 for anything later) before you buy.

    Otherwise, decide what you want it to do.  The faster the CPU and the better the NICs you use then the less latency you'll have.  If you want to make use of snort, squid etc then more memory (and more CPU power) is good.



  • For a home usage with a bandwidth of less than 80 Mbps and if you just need a firewall and VPN router, then an ALIX board should be enough.
    Remember those boards consume only 5-6 W :-)



  • I use an Alix 2C3 with a 24Mb down and 2.7Mb up (on a good day, a bit less if bad weather) internet connection.

    pfSense and m0n0wall have no problem doing full speed - about 300kB/sec up and 2.7MB/sec down is really no problem at all. I think CPU usage with full down+up speed is about 2% to 3%, but I've only checked CPU usage with m0n0wall, as it worked with filtering and traffic shaping (at the time) when I was setting it up.

    500MHz is a bit overkill, but I suppose it gives a bit more of headway for when you move to a 100Mb connection in a few years, and maybe you could expand to using some pfSense packages or something.



  • Great info, thanks, think i will go with the J7F4K1G2E as recommended.
    editOr not, seems this board has issues with QOS and Altq
    http://forum.pfsense.org/index.php/topic,3991.0.html
    sigh



  • That topic refers to pfSense 1.2 behaviour. That pfSense version was based on FreeBSD 6.x

    pfSense 1.2.1 (snapshot builds are now available) is based on FreeBSD 7.0. The FreeBSD 7.0 man page for altq driver says altq is supported by the re driver which I presume unlogic is using on the Jetway board.

    You can find the FreeBSD man pages at http://www.freebsd.org/cgi/man.cgi



  • @wallabybob:

    That topic refers to pfSense 1.2 behaviour. That pfSense version was based on FreeBSD 6.x

    pfSense 1.2.1 (snapshot builds are now available) is based on FreeBSD 7.0. The FreeBSD 7.0 man page for altq driver says altq is supported by the re driver which I presume unlogic is using on the Jetway board.

    You can find the FreeBSD man pages at http://www.freebsd.org/cgi/man.cgi

    Thats correct!

    Actually I wasn't even able to install pfSense 1.2 on that board but 1.2.1 works like a charm!



  • How interesting! I checked the man pages, and the RTL8110S is listed, but not the RTL8110SC which this board has
    http://www.freebsd.org/cgi/man.cgi?query=re&sektion=4&apropos=0&manpath=FreeBSD+7.0-RELEASE

    However, if your saying that the board works with QOS enabled, under the new version of BSD, I am happy to assume the chipsets are close enough and go ahead and order one
    Cheers for the updated information!


Log in to reply