6 x Intel LAN / i3 7100U Fanless Mini PC



  • Hi,

    New here, decided to bite the bullet and purchase some hardware for my first pfsense box.

    I've ended up purchasing one of these:

    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Eglobal-6-Intel-Lans-Fanless-X86-Mini-PC-Core-i3-7100U-Celeron-3865U-Multi-Function-Firewall/32824644734.html

    Has anyone had any experience with these before?

    The specs seem to be pretty solid.

    It does say in the specs that it's a Skylake i3 7100U 2.4ghz, however, i3 7100U is Kaby Lake and the Kaby Lake 7100U runs at 2.4GHZ whilst the Skylake 6100U runs at 2.3GHZ, so I'm hoping it's just an error in their posting / language barrier.

    Any opinions or advice on setting up pfsense on these would be appreciated.

    Once it arrives and I've set it up, I'll post up my opinion.

    Cheers,

    Zoperd.



  • A little bit more expensive than Qotom one which has 4 intel ports. Hope it will not have port number order issue in Qotom.



  • @newabc:

    A little bit more expensive than Qotom one which has 4 intel ports. Hope it will not have port number order issue in Qotom.

    I still dont get the  "problem" …
    Once you have the physical layout mapped  it  cant be a problem, just a minor inconvenience

    /Bingo



  • @bingo600:

    @newabc:

    A little bit more expensive than Qotom one which has 4 intel ports. Hope it will not have port number order issue in Qotom.

    I still dont get the  "problem" …
    Once you have the physical layout mapped  it  cant be a problem, just a minor inconvenience

    /Bingo

    Yes. I have one Q355g4 as yours too. Just a minor issue that won't affect how we use it.



  • @newabc:

    A little bit more expensive than Qotom one which has 4 intel ports. Hope it will not have port number order issue in Qotom.

    About £90 more expensive - still it has a much more powerful CPU.



  • I'd have a look here , before selecting a KabyLake" , w. a "China Bios" … Is it updated ??
    https://forum.pfsense.org/index.php?topic=132783.msg730001#msg730001

    I was looking at an "Aliexpress" i7, that coulod take 16GB ram.
    For playing w. vmWare but didn't dare to trust the Bios update level. And i didn't want to disable HT

    /Bingo



  • I would personally Future Proof and choose a CPU with AES-NI on it for the Future Update, or if you plan to use OpenVPN Tunnel (Like i do)

    I chose an ITX AMD-APU-5000 (AsROCK) SoC which happens to have AES-NI

    Cost of that was £45, Then your case, so total for Case and such cost me £125 roughly.,



  • If it is the 7100U then it does have the AES-NI


  • Banned

    :-X, I'd return that and get something better for less.

    That thing is $450 on "sale" with 4GB RAM & 64GB SSD (don't need 64GB).

    Try:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lenovo-ThinkCentre-M81-0385-A1U-SFF-i5-2400-3-1GHz-8GB-DDR3-500GB-HDD-NO-OS-/201962015906?hash=item2f05dfcca2:g:IikAAOSwOMdZS~Nh

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/IBM-Intel-I340-T4-1Gbps-PCI-E-Ethernet-Server-Adapter-Card-49Y4242-Low-Pro-/132300108148?epid=1372166994&hash=item1ecdb37174:g:WXUAAOSw0xRZl2lK#viTabs_0

    Sell or use elsewhere the included 500GB HDD and put in a little cheap SSD like this

    https://www.amazon.com/Kingspec-KSD-SA25-7-Channel-Internal-Solid/dp/B00JYB99O4/ref=sr_1_2?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1503195075&sr=1-2&refinements=p_n_feature_three_browse-bin%3A14027456011%2Cp_n_feature_keywords_four_browse-bin%3A6158693011

    That workstation has 8GB RAM, comes with one GbE Intel NIC, and has two PCIe v2.0 slots sized x16 and x1

    So for <$150+ shipping you get 5 intel GbE ports.

    If you really want all 6 GbE ports then get a PRO/1000 single NIC and put it in the x1 PCIe v2.0 slot for $160+shipping

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/WY573T-Gigabit-Ethernet-Desktop-PCIe-Network-Adapter-intel-PRO-1000-nic-/132009714280?hash=item1ebc646268:g:PVIAAOSwImRYMli1

    The i5-2400 CPU is certainly more powerful than that i3-7100U, it will use more power but in terms of cost it will be in the neighborhood of ~$30/yr depending on your cost/KwH.

    That's about a decade to pay the difference in electricity costs and you get a 500GB HDD out of the deal… and double the RAM... and a more capable CPU.

    Just a suggestion - home users are almost always better off buying used workstations for a high performance box or building around cheap SoC Celerons for more average use-case boxes (Apollo Lake).

    Buying these new boxes for a house is ludicrous in terms of price/performance. The $160 dollar box outperforms that $450 box in every category except size (it's still SFF) and power consumption.



  • Or, as suggested, the Qotom box.



  • @TS_b:

    The i5-2400 CPU is certainly more powerful than that i3-7100U, it will use more power but in terms of cost it will be in the neighborhood of ~$30/yr depending on your cost/KwH.
    That's about a decade to pay the difference in electricity costs and you get a 500GB HDD out of the deal… and double the RAM... and a more capable CPU.

    No, the i3-7100U is a significantly better CPU. And who needs a big hard drive and a bunch of RAM in a firewall? I'd certainly pay a premium not to have to deal with someone else's junk or have to deal with ebay, though I understand some people really love the thrill of the bargain hunt.


  • Banned

    @VAMike:

    No, the i3-7100U is a significantly better CPU. And who needs a big hard drive and a bunch of RAM in a firewall? I'd certainly pay a premium not to have to deal with someone else's junk or have to deal with ebay, though I understand some people really love the thrill of the bargain hunt.

    In terms of performance/power consumption the i3 is better, otherwise - no it isn't, at least not in anything that matters for a router.

    Both 64bit, AES-NI, VT-x+d, i3 is newer architecture but i5 has double the actual cores all clocked 700MHz higher. i5 beats out i3 in single and multithread passmark.
    The i5 will put out more throughput on OpenVPN (multithreaded), IDS/IPS, pfBNG, Squid, etc. than the i3. But it will suck down more power in doing so.

    Really though the point is moot. Both are probably significant overkill for the application.

    No one wants a big HDD in a router - that's why you pay $25 and replace it with an SSD.
    A bunch of RAM? Well that depends on what you're doing with it. If you have a lot of lists in pfBNG and want to use TLD then bring RAM. I've exceeded the capabilities of 8GB on my home network with TLD.

    eBay is about as difficult to buy off of as amazon - just use buy it now. It's also not a bargain hunt. There are pages of workstations like that, and NICs like that, so on and so forth.

    To each their own, $300 is a big premium to pay for a home router when you're also taking a performance hit over the cheap option. Although again, you'll likely never see the limits of either CPU in a home network even with significant package usage and a fast WAN.



  • WD Black 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 6 Gb/s 32MB Cache 7 MM 2.5 Inch Performance Mobile Hard Disk Drive (WD5000LPLX) by Western Digital

    HyperX HX424S14IB2K2/16 Impact Black 16GB Kit of 2 (2x8GB)2400MHz DDR4 Non-ECC CL14 260-pin Unbuffered SODIMM Internal Memory Black by HyperX

    Do you suppose this hardware would work in the barebones model? I am considering the same device, but I am averse to SSD failure and want to keep logs.

    @Zoperd, have you possession of a manual in English? Have you completed your install?



  • @Albert:

    WD Black 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 6 Gb/s 32MB Cache 7 MM 2.5 Inch Performance Mobile Hard Disk Drive (WD5000LPLX) by Western Digital

    Do you suppose this hardware would work in the barebones model? I am considering the same device, but I am averse to SSD failure and want to keep logs.

    I'd honestly expect that hard disk to fail before an SSD would.





  • The FAST 2016 paper Flash Reliability in Production: The Expected and the Unexpected, by Professor Bianca Schroeder of the University of Toronto, and Raghav Lagisetty and Arif Merchant of Google, covers:
    "KEY CONCLUSIONS
    Ignore Uncorrectable Bit Error Rate (UBER) specs. A meaningless number.
    Good news: Raw Bit Error Rate (RBER) increases slower than expected from wearout and is not correlated with UBER or other failures.
    High-end SLC drives are no more reliable that MLC drives.
    Bad news: SSDs fail at a lower rate than disks, but UBER rate is higher (see below for what this means).
    SSD age, not usage, affects reliability.
    Bad blocks in new SSDs are common, and drives with a large number of bad blocks are much more likely to lose hundreds of other blocks, most likely due to die or chip failure.
    30-80 percent of SSDs develop at least one bad block and 2-7 percent develop at least one bad chip in the first four years of deployment."

    From http://www.zdnet.com/article/ssd-reliability-in-the-real-world-googles-experience/



  • @Albert:

    @VAMike
    Did you see this thread?
    https://forum.pfsense.org/index.php?topic=34381.0

    That thread is rather irrelevant. It boils down to this: if you use shit SSDs, they will randomly fail. Newsflash: that goes for all your components.
    On top of that: HDDs have failures just the same, just as they have wear all the same. The difference is moving parts vs. no moving parts, and not having moving parts is better. End of discussion?



  • @Albert:

    @VAMike
    Did you see this thread?
    https://forum.pfsense.org/index.php?topic=34381.0

    Yes, it's pretty silly.



  • I guess I'm a little conservative about hardware choice. I think I'll stick with HGST and Western Digital for now, though. I'm unconvinced about SSDs being as reliable as HDD.

    On another, perhaps more useful note, I have a question in to one of the purveyors of this hardware in an attempt to determine if the BIOS is updated to fix the hyperthreading instability in intel gen 7.



  • @Albert:

    I guess I'm a little conservative about hardware choice. I think I'll stick with HGST and Western Digital for now, though. I'm unconvinced about SSDs being as reliable as HDD.

    On another, perhaps more useful note, I have a question in to one of the purveyors of this hardware in an attempt to determine if the BIOS is updated to fix the hyperthreading instability in intel gen 7.

    If you were conservative, you'd be using an industrial compact flash card.



  • @Albert:

    I guess I'm a little conservative about hardware choice. I think I'll stick with HGST and Western Digital for now, though. I'm unconvinced about SSDs being as reliable as HDD.

    Hey, if you want to base your decisions on a 6 year old thread about dodgy hardware, it doesn't really matter to me. Have fun!



  • I've had two regular hdd's fail on pfsense until now. After i got the ssd I've had no problems.



  • @TommyL:

    I've had two regular hdd's fail on pfsense until now. After i got the ssd I've had no problems.

    My Kingston hyper X 120GB SSD has been running 24/7 for almost a year, thank God nothing has gone wrong. Even when I turned the mains power off, it re booted very quickly.



  • @Waqar.UK:

    @TommyL:

    I've had two regular hdd's fail on pfsense until now. After i got the ssd I've had no problems.

    My Kingston hyper X 120GB SSD has been running 24/7 for almost a year, thank God nothing has gone wrong. Even when I turned the mains power off, it re booted very quickly.

    I had 9 Toshiba Q300 all die within a week, but my old X25-M is still working. Just like any hardware: bad series exist, but that doesn't make the whole thing bad. I have a bunch of Crucial and Samsung drives in the field that work fine as well. Have working HDD installs as well, just as failed HDD installs.



  • @johnkeates:

    @Waqar.UK:

    @TommyL:

    I've had two regular hdd's fail on pfsense until now. After i got the ssd I've had no problems.

    My Kingston hyper X 120GB SSD has been running 24/7 for almost a year, thank God nothing has gone wrong. Even when I turned the mains power off, it re booted very quickly.

    I had 9 Toshiba Q300 all die within a week, but my old X25-M is still working. Just like any hardware: bad series exist, but that doesn't make the whole thing bad. I have a bunch of Crucial and Samsung drives in the field that work fine as well. Have working HDD installs as well, just as failed HDD installs.

    I think I am persuaded to go with mSATA or M.2 in the future. I just wish I had more data on which supplier is more reliable. I have always been a fan of Kingston for reliability in RAM. I was considering Samsung for some M.2 purchases.



  • @johnkeates:

    @Waqar.UK:

    @TommyL:

    I've had two regular hdd's fail on pfsense until now. After i got the ssd I've had no problems.

    My Kingston hyper X 120GB SSD has been running 24/7 for almost a year, thank God nothing has gone wrong. Even when I turned the mains power off, it re booted very quickly.

    I had 9 Toshiba Q300 all die within a week, but my old X25-M is still working. Just like any hardware: bad series exist, but that doesn't make the whole thing bad. I have a bunch of Crucial and Samsung drives in the field that work fine as well. Have working HDD installs as well, just as failed HDD installs.

    That is pretty horrendous. I looked up who made the storage chips and it was their own.



  • I'm using Tosh A100 (240G) in my Qotom i5 , no probs detected.
    http://www.toshiba.eu/hard-drives/solid-state/ssd-a100/

    As John writes , maybe a bad series.

    I had a Segate 1G SSHD go bad within  year , replaced it with a Toshiba 1G SSHD - Has been running fine for 2+ years now.
    I promised never to use a Seagate again (too bad they bought the samsung disk division)

    For the time being - Toshiba is my favourite 2.5" manuf.

    /Bingo



  • I just got a Qotom clone, the 4-port model that's so popular (only a Celeron CPU, which should be plenty for my purposes).  It seems solidly-built, and everything works out of the box except the wifi card.  Wifi hardware compatibility seems to be "the catch" when it comes to this class of boxes and PFSense.
    Mine came with an AzureWave AW-NU708H:
    https://wikidevi.com/wiki/AzureWave_AW-NU706H
    I have no clue how to get it to work.


  • Galactic Empire Netgate

    QOTOM related questions go to QOTOM thread. Locking this thread as it's already off-topic.


Locked