HP T5740 Thin Client - Throughput question



  • Hey all…been awhile since I posted...probably years.  I've been too busy with work and life so I havent been able to do much.  pfSense is still the superior platform to use after all my recent readings...at least for what I've used it for in the last 10yrs or so.  I never have issues...it just runs...and if it ever fails...it's normally hardware related.  Which is also rare.

    I know with all the available bandwidth from ISPs nowadays, the old hardware I'm using may cause an issue now.  I've read up on it some, but it's always a little vague to me.  I mainly use it as a firewall/dhcp/dns server.  I use openvpn, but not daily.  Just whenever I leave town and have to remote back in.  I don't use it real heavy and dont really copy/move files across the VPN connection.  I just use VPN basically to access devices within my network.

    So will this HP T5740 Thin Client with gig nics work fine?  I'm looking at getting something smaller/lighter for my Dad...so if he has to move it, it wont throw his back out.  He's getting really old and the old machines I used to use and actually still using for him are really heavy.  I believe these thin clients will work fine for him because he will probably never use anything near 500mb up/down.  in my case I will be moving and most likely getting a 1gb connection.  So I think for him it will be fine...but for me.  Will it do 1gb up/down with only using it as a firewall/vpn and some natting into devices?

    Here are the specs of the device I'm looking at.

    CPU Type: Atom
        CPU Speed: 1.66GHz
        Bus Speed: 667 MHz FSB
        Memory Type: DDR3
        Memory Size: 2GB (4gb max)
        Memory Rating: PC3-10600
        Memory Speed: 1333MHz
        Flash Drive: 4GB IDE 44 Pin
        Empty SATA slot for extra flash drive
        Video: On-board
        Network: Gigabit Ethernet
        Ports: 6x USB, Ethernet, 1x VGA, 1x Parallel, 2x PS/2, 2x Audio, 2x Serial, 1x DisplayPort

    Thanks!
    HaO



  • I just read something else…that may deter me from buying an older thin client.  I need to find out why someone on the forums said the following.  So, if it's totally useless because of a future upgrade...then i'll just probably stick with an older pc with gig nics.

    @DeLorean:

    When version 2.5 arrives, all the cheap Thin Clients that now are used for pfSense become totally useless,
    unless you keep version 2.3.4 using.
    Even the nice XTM5 boxes will be useless then.
    The Thin Clients that have a AES-NI supported cpu, are at least 2 or 3 times more expensive,
    at not so attractive anymore for the use of pfSense.

    Grtz
    DeLorean



  • No AES-NI in the HP T5740 so it will be subject to the issue raised and apart from that, the Atom N280 is very slow.

    Also the T5740 only have one NIC so you need to deploy VLANs and have a managed switch to use it as a firewall.



  • Thanks for the reply, i'll have to read up on what AES-NI is then i guess…but this one im looking at has an expansion slot so it has multiple NICs.  But most likely...i'll be sticking with a PC from what I'm reading/seeing.



  • Ahh okay, I didn't see PCI in the specifications but then it does have the PCI expansion module after all. I don't have that on mine. I still wouldn't recommend it for pfSense though because of the CPU limitations.



  • Thanks P3R,  I finally caught up on some of that reading.  It appears my current hardware does support the AES-NI, so at least I know what I have will suffice for at least a little longer.

    For anyone interested I purchased a few older Dell Optiplex machines…used off business lease a few years back for cheap.  I used a couple for pfSense, and they've been great.  They've ran for a few years without issue, just one power supply failure...easily replaced and not working again

    The CPU I have in them is as follows copied and pasted from dashboard:
    CPU Type Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU E8500 @ 3.16GHz
    2 CPUs: 1 package(s) x 2 core(s)

    I guess I'll just stick with my current hardware for a little longer.



  • @HaOsLsE:

    Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU E8500 @ 3.16GHz

    Wow, that chip is from Q1-2008 and burns some 65Watts. And you post about jet-engine noise from switch fans?  ;)



  • If you replace that E8500 box with something newer that has AES-NI, and pfSense support, you will probably break even on the energy bill alone by the end of a year



  • As stated by Intel:
    Thermal Design Power (TDP) represents the average power, in watts, the processor dissipates when operating at Base Frequency with all cores active under an Intel-defined, high-complexity workload.

    I was very careful with selecting low TDPs, 10 and 17 W (and payed a premium to get them), but my CPUs are normally never even close to base frequency so I tend to think that I could have gone with normal CPUs and shouldn't have been so afraid of high TDPs. After all it's the power actually consumed that's interesting not the CPU TDP.


  • Banned

    @johnkeates:

    If you replace that E8500 box with something newer that has AES-NI, and pfSense support, you will probably break even on the energy bill alone by the end of a year

    Not a chance.

    The CPU's are almost certainly near idle in his application 99.9% of the time. 65W TDP does not mean the CPU draws 65W of power, it dissipates up to 65W worth of heat. Not a power consumption figure, although a decent enough ballpark scale for relative comparison to other intel CPU's.

    Real world use, he probably averages ~35W from the wall with that if he's using a HDD. If he replaces the HDD with a SSD, or a pair of thumb drives in 2.4.0 ZFS install he would probably lose ~7-10W at the wall. Replacing the CPU with a modern SoC, probably lose another 8-10W at the most. Most of those savings would come by eliminating fans, the CPU's really aren't doing much work in these applications.

    Putting those figures into $$$ - In the CONUS Alaska unsurprisingly has the highest average $/KwH @ ~$0.21 (most of the US is about half that). But going off the highest average cost in the CONUS that comes out to about $18.40/yr per 10W in a 24/7/365 device.

    A J3355B is a very cheap & modern SoC @ $55. Assuming he only had to buy that (which is very unlikely as he would likely have to purchase new RAM at a minimum) it would take him about 3 years to pay back the cost of a new CPU with his electricity bill - if he lives in Alaska. In many states it would be 6 years or more.

    The cost of energy usage is often greatly magnified with pfSense since it's a 24/7 device. It should certainly be a consideration, but it simply isn't as critical as it is made out to be. If you are running a business that uses a great many of these devices then it becomes much more important. But for home users the math generally suggests you should reuse old hardware or buy something old and cheap off eBay rather than spend significantly more on power efficient hardware.

    If you want to save $ today with your electricity bill, then dig out two old thumbdrives from your drawers (or buy some cheap USB 2.0 drives  for ~$4/ea), save your config file, reinstall pfSense 2.4.0 BETA (it won't be BETA for much longer) on ZFS to the thumb drives and save 7-10W of electricity by unplugging that HDD.

    That translates to ~$12.80/yr in AK or ~$6.40/yr in most of the US for 7W of savings. Most of us probably have 2 thumbdrives in a drawer somewhere.
    Even if you do though you aren't exactly saving the big $$'s



  • I don't live in the USA so I don't know about power usage and cost over there, and I don't know about E8400 idle power usage either. I do know that a E4400 (which used to be in my portable ITX pfSense box for demonstrations) with a laptop HDD and a dual intel NIC, with 4GB DDR2 RAM, will take about 40W in BIOS Idle. pfSense bootup is about 65W, pfSense booted and idle is 46.8W. That's with no special packages installed. From my local tariff, that translates to about 120 USD per year. Sure, that's not the price of a new box, but if you are going to invest in a replacement (as per this topic), taking the saved cost from a inefficient CPU and adding it on top of what you were willing to spend in the first place gets you a better system for the same price and savings after the first year.


  • Banned

    Well then you're paying about $0.30/KwH - very high and not representative of your average household.

    I would also suspect there is something wrong with your system, most likely your power supply or fans.

    My box uses an i5-2400, with a desktop HDD & a quad port NIC, 2x4GB DDR3it pulled 41W from the wall. Under load (lots of VPN usage & packages) it would go up to ~10% CPU, the wattage would maybe change 1 or 2W, but pretty much only if the fans picked up pace.

    The i5-2400 is a 95W part that's not much newer than what you're using. I did unplug all unnecessary components such as optical drives, but that shouldn't make much difference.
    All of my parts should be more power hungry than yours, and my system was working harder but you're somehow pulling more power. Maybe the difference of architecture but I very much doubt it. Something was probably wrong.

    I have it on USB install now and it pulls an almost constant 34W from the wall without the HDD.



  • @pfBasic:

    Well then you're paying about $0.30/KwH - very high and not representative of your average household.

    I would also suspect there is something wrong with your system, most likely your power supply or fans.

    My box uses an i5-2400, with a desktop HDD & a quad port NIC, 2x4GB DDR3it pulled 41W from the wall. Under load (lots of VPN usage & packages) it would go up to ~10% CPU, the wattage would maybe change 1 or 2W, but pretty much only if the fans picked up pace.

    The i5-2400 is a 95W part that's not much newer than what you're using. I did unplug all unnecessary components such as optical drives, but that shouldn't make much difference.
    All of my parts should be more power hungry than yours, and my system was working harder but you're somehow pulling more power. Maybe the difference of architecture but I very much doubt it. Something was probably wrong.

    I have it on USB install now and it pulls an almost constant 34W from the wall without the HDD.

    That's why I suggested something newer. While C2D era Intel CPU's are much better when compared to Pentium 4 era CPU's, the i-series 2nd generation are way better than the C2D series. The i-series 6th gen is better than the 2nd gen by 20% in terms of power consumption.

    Another unit i've been measuring on recently is a qotom box with a  i3-4005U, 8GB RAM, an mSATA SSD and 4 Intel GbE interfaces. It runs less than 12W during idle and about 19W during load, which is with OpenVPN, UniFi Controller, Captive Portal and multiple VLANs (with software tagging) on a 1G WAN link with about 40 clients.

    Comparing those two, and the cost (about 230 for the qotom box), you get:

    • a more capable CPU than any Core2Duo
    • less power consumption
    • less heat (it's passively cooled!)

    and in my country:

    • save about 50% electricity and use that money to upgrade your box
    • start saving on power after the 1st year

    This is why I posted: don't use that E8xxx CPU. You simply can't put a system together that is efficient in any way, unless electricity is free. Maybe in the USA electricity is super cheap, but in the rest of the world it may not be.

    According to this: http://www.parkytowers.me.uk/thin/hp/t5740/ the thin client from <2005 uses about as much power as the i3 system. hah!


  • Banned

    Yeah, if you live in a part of the world with exceptionally high power costs then by all means focus on efficiency.

    If you live in the Land of The Free then buying that $230 qotom box will take most people something like 7+ years to pay off in electricity if you're upgrading from the old power hog you already have. It would take about 4 years to pay off the difference between buying it and a $100 eBay special.

    There are always exceptions to the rule, but I'd say that spending significantly more for energy efficient parts is only valid for home users in fringe cases.

    That's not to say I don't support low power consumption!

    If you're building new or replacing broken parts then I'd strongly recommend the cheap route to low power (if you have nothing you can reuse). I'm not suggesting any specific eBay parts I'm linking, they're only examples.

    Buy a used SFF chassis w/ power supply - nothing else needs to be working: ~$30
    Alternatively, if you already have a case but no PSU and live in a high energy cost area, consider a pico-PSU 80 @ $35
    Buy J3355B: ~$57 Buy some SO-DIMM DDR3: $~12
    Buy a pair of USB 2.0 Flash Drives if you don't already have some: ~$10
    If you have neither a dual port NIC or a switch that supports VLAN's you'll need a NIC!: ~$15

    So assuming you have absolutely nothing on hand you can reuse, that system will run at probably about 10W for ~$125. This is what I'd suggest for the OP if he ends up replacing his current hardware.

    I've tested the J3355B at the following throughputs:
    ~300Mbps w/ OpenVPN AES-128
    ~60Mbps w/ OpenVPN AES-128 AND Suricata with a moderate ruleset

    Obviously if you aren't using VPN heavily (routing most of your traffic through the VPN) it will do Gigabit easily.


  • Netgate Administrator

    Just to put a number on it I would expect an Atom N280 to be capable of passing somewhere in the 350-400Mbps range with default firewall and NAT.

    It's the right decision not to spend money on that at this point. Besides the previously mentioned lack of AES-NI (pfSense 2.5) it's a 32bit CPU which means it won't run pfSense 2.4. We will be supporting older versions for sometime after the newer releases but we expect 2.4 to be released relatively soon.

    Steve