Is this hardware too much/ Power drain ?

  • I have this machine that is doing absolutely nothing;

    Intel Pentuim 4 3.0ghz HT
    1 gb DDR 400mhz
    2 x Intel Pro 1000 GT PCI cards

    The reason i ask is that if i was to get a P3 machine would i save alot of power over using this 24/7 or is it roughly the same ?

  • P4 HTs use a massive amount of electric. My old P4-D 2.6GHz HT system used about 150 watts more than my Core2Duo E8400 (but the motherboard was changed, too). Whether or not a P3 would use less would need more research… but if you have a spare C2D, then that would be much better in terms of electricity usage :)

    Get a kill-a-watt style device and do some testing. Different devices vary by quite a bit - age of components/graphics cards/CPUs/number of HDDs, etc.

  • I also have this system that i have just found in the loft;

    Athlon 1700+
    1gig ddr 400mhz
    40 maxtor IDE
    Possibly use the Intel pro cards in this also

    I would think is much less of a power hog  ???

    I am currently testing on this config;

    Q6600 Quad core
    4 gig 1066mhz DDR2
    2 x Intel Pro 1000 GT PCI cards

    I dont use this machine for anything so i could get a lower end Core 2 but not sure if it would be any better than usung the athlon machine


    My own test:
    VIA ex1000g 35W
    P3 500Mhz 30-35W
    AMD Duron 1Ghz 60W
    AMD Athlon 1.3 Ghz 80W
    AMD Athlon XP 2.4 Ghz 85W
    Intel P4 3.0Ghz 140W

    So if a Watt a year cost you $2 / 2 Euro and you can get a P3 for free there are money to be saved.

    Even more can be saved with a Soekris board (5W)

  • Thank you for the reply Perry very helpful

    I would seem that there is definitely money to be saved for sure;

    My internet connection is 1.1MBps, I am running two laptops an xbox 360, playstation 3, Nintendo wii and one desktop machine. I also use giganews with 20+ connections and i occasionally use torrents. There is always plenty of network traffic being used on the network.

    When it comes to throughput how do i work out my needs, I have two 2 x Intel Pro 1000 GT PCI cards, is the throughput measuring LAN usage as well as WAN, can a Pentuim III handle a Gigabit LAN.

    I find it confusing talking about all this older PC equipment, however i dont want to end up wasting money on power consumption for potential processing power that i don't need to have.

    If i had a Pentium III 500mhz with 512mb of Ram would that cover my needs when looking at my requirements ?

  • If your 2 intel card are used as Wan Lan and it only needs to handle 1.1Mbps (not 1.1MBps) then a P3 will be fine. Traffic between equipment on the lan side will not reach pfSense but willl be handle by your giga switch.

  • Thanks again,

    My internet connection is 1.1MBps aka 8.8mbps, thats where i was getting confused, i forgot that the switches would take care of the LAN traffic and the LAN card on the Pfsense is just passing out internet traffic

  • You could also use a alix board if you don't need any package.

  • That doesn't look half bad, i wondered what all the talk of embedded devices was, TBH i have not looked into packages yet but from what i can see PFsense does everything out of the box that i would require.

    Without packages would you recommend this product for my needs ?

    This looks really promising and looks like it would blow a normal machine out of the water when it comes to efficiently when running 24/7

    So i could buy this as well as a Compact Flash card to store the embedded version on and just run it like before ?

    thanks again excellent advice

    Comes out a £139 all in for this;

    ALIX 2C3 (3LAN+USB) Enclosure - Black
    18V UK (3 Pin) Adapter for WRAP/ALIX System Board
    ALIX 2C3 System Board - LX800 / 256MB RAM / 3 LAN / mini-PCI / USB
    512MB iCF 4000 Industrial Compact Flash - 266X

  • After weighing up the pros and cons i'm still going to go for a P3 system hopefully get one just over 500mhz with 512mb of ram so it got room to grow with my needs, then have the athlon system on standby incase i need to expand in the future.

  • Yes, the Alix boards work extremely well indeed.

    I have an Alix 2C3 bought from (your quote seems to be from them also) on a 24Mbit internet connection, and CPU usage is a max of 3% when going full whack at 2.6 megabytes per second down and 280kB/sec up. It could probably handle a good 70Mbit connection just fine, but that's going by my very bad maths only :)

    I can confirm that power usage of the Alix 2C3 is 5 watts - I checked with an Aldi "kill-a-watt" style device.

  • Just out of interest what are the draw backs of running it embedded, as i dont really want to compromise on features, at the moment i'm not bothered about using packages but that may change in the future and i know this device only has 256mb ram.

    This device is also alot more money than a PIII machine even though i know i would save money in the long run on power consumption.

    Lastly how do you configure the device, it says it has a serial port, not a vga port, how do you configure ??

  • Use the serial console with a null modem cable to set the LAN IP, then do the rest of the config with a web browser.

    The only downside to the embedded version is that you can't use packages.

  • Thanks for the reply

    Sorry to sound like a total noob but i have no idea how to do that at all, I thought it would have some sort of VGA interface, is this easy to do, could you possibly tell me how to do this in layman's terms ?



  • For m0n0wall, but it's the same procedure for pfSense: (except the password is pfsense not mono)
    More detail here:

  • Would something like this work,

    I would get the bundle without the HDD so i could put in an 80gb 2.5" drive that i have and also purchase one of the CD rom drives so i could install PFsense ?

    I could then put a PCI 10/100 lan card in the pci slot

    It would seem to work :),9915.0.html

    do you think there would be a problem with the cd rom drive being recognised or are they pretty generic ?

  • I generally speak and metaphors and usually it serves me well.  In the scenario you are worried about the power consumption of this whole setup you have infront of you.  The primary component you need to worry about is the CPU.  The variation that we all seem to be missing is that although your CPU has capacities to process a certain amount of data at once you have to keep in mind that in most occasions you won't find the CPU running at it's maximum capacity.  If the cpu were a bucket and it had to be filled to a certain weight to accomplish what you needed would it matter how big or small it was?  The size of the bucket pertains to the capacity of the CPU itself.  A P3 1 ghz will have to use as much energy to process the data a P4 at 3.0 ghz, the only difference is how much it can be filled completely.  Either processor will use generally the same amount of juice when it sits at nearly idle.  Personally I suggest just sticking with what you have, good luck.

  • @Nanafriend:

    The size of the bucket pertains to the capacity of the CPU itself.  A P3 1 ghz will have to use as much energy to process the data a P4 at 3.0 ghz, the only difference is how much it can be filled completely.  Either processor will use generally the same amount of juice when it sits at nearly idle.

    Sorry, this simply isn't true.

    Your typical old P3 will probably idle around 50w.  Peak power draw will be another 25w higher.
    Your typical old P4 will probably idle around 100w. Peak power draw will be another 50w higher.

    For basic firewall use, both will remain just able idle until you start pushing a lot of bandwidth.

    It takes a bit of research to build something that uses significantly less power than the P3.  Perry already posted some typical power draw numbers back on reply #4.

  • Thought i would add that i have built my system now anyway, one of my main concerns was power, as I generally don't see the point in wasting in it for wasting sake, just so that i can say well if i ever need to push 500Mbps of traffic i can, because i wont ever have to do that.

    I built up the following system;

    Intel D945GCLF using a 1.6GHz atom processor
    2GB DDR 2 533
    On board 10/100 WAN
    Intel Pro GT 1000 LAN
    Small Cube case

    Now it uses 35w of power and sits nicely in the bottom shelf of my computer desk, rather than the probable 200W my main rig was using to power all the fans hardware.

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