Pfsense on Mac Pro

  • I am trying to boot pfSense from a USB key on a Mac Pro (A1481, this one: but not having any luck.

    I have tried 2.3.5, 2.4.2, and a daily/latest snapshot. They all do the same thing, which is that they seem to boot, and I see an ncurses screen flash up for a second, but part of the way through the boot process, it starts spewing "pcib8: power fault detected" constantly, scrolling everything off the screen, so it's impossible to interact with the installer.

    I see references to this in the pci source code of FreeBSD, eg:, line 1194 specifically.

    Is there anything I can do to work around this issue? eg if it was possible to have a version of the kernel compiled that had that printf line commented out, ie to make it a silent error, then there may be no actual problem, and I would be able to continue. Perhaps there are some kernel options I can try?


  • Playing or going to be used in production ?

    VMware Fusion or virtualbox for playing VMware ESXI for production (assuming it works) maybe.

    Expensive router I'd say.

  • A bit of both. Production for home, which is playing.

    Yes, expensive router. I don't like Apple gear, and my housemate who bought it (and works for Apple) doesn't use it. It's sat turned off for a long time, I figured rather than spending money on more hardware I would use it to route our gigabit internet connection.

    I took your advice and installed virtualbox and I'm running it under that. Thus far I can only manage to get 108Mbit through it, even though it has 2x 1Gbit interfaces, vs zeroshell running in qemu/kvm on my i5-3570 with a quad Gbit NIC bridged to it which can handle about 350Mbit. Plugged raw to the connection I have seen 905Mbit. I tried VT-d on my machine, and while the CPU and mobo chipset support it, the crappy bios on this board (ASUSTeK P8Z77-V) doesn't have the required VT-d support, which is why I'm limited to 350Mbit.

  • VirtualBox is not known to have great network performance in general, don't know on macOS. Maybe VMware is better? and pfsense have a package to improve performance.  For a gigabit connection a bare metal hardware would be better. Some FreeBSD on macOS links:

    Some tips: virtual machines don't like offloads enabled. Try disable offload option in "System/Advanced/Networking"

  • VMware Fusion will help.  It's a better (IMHO) hypervisor.  And if you do decide to get some dedicated hardware, you can install ESXi onto it and move the VMware Fusion VM from the Mac to your new ESXi installation.  Just need to re-map the NICs to it, and it'll work.

  • I ended up buying a second hand Optiplex 755 with a dual core CPU and a gig of ram for $30, and stuck a realtek gigabit NIC in and installed pfSense on the hardware.

    I've seen 685/21Mbit, so not terrible. It's not the 900Mbit I've seen, but it's way better than the 300 I was getting.

  • Banned


    and stuck a realtek gigabit NIC in


  • ^^that. You might want to exchange the Realtek for an Intel NIC and speed should go up.
    At least if your CPU can still cope with it.

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