PC engines board for build



  • I am new to forum and looking for suggestions to build pfsense router. It was in my mind since long time but now my router gone kaput, so searching for cheap build.
    Planning to go with PC engine's APU.3C4 system board and it costs around $170 (including case and adapter) with shipping. However dont have much information available online on its build quality and reliability. Are they really good to consider for Pfsense build.

    I am using 25mbps connection and planning to add another backup connection soon.



  • I'm running an APU2C4, it's on 24x7 with a 200mbps link. I've had it for 16 - 18 months and it's been rock solid. I ran pfsense on it for over a year, but trying something different recently.

    When I bought mine it was already in nice sturdy aluminium case, build quality seems great.

    Do a search around here, there's a few threads on APU stuff.



  • Don't use 3C4, use 2C4. The difference is a SIM card slot which is usually unused with pfSense.



  • @jahonix:

    Don't use 3C4, use 2C4. The difference is a SIM card slot which is usually unused with pfSense.

    It mostly comes down to availability, they're functionally equivalent for normal usage and basically the same price.



  • @jahonix:

    Don't use 3C4, use 2C4. The difference is a SIM card slot which is usually unused with pfSense.

    Thank you all for suggestions. I will go for 2C4, as far as i know 3C4 is for LTE sims.
    Anyone bought directly from PC engine site, how much time they will take ship it.



  • @maddy_in65:

    Anyone bought directly from PC engine site, how much time they will take ship it.

    About 3 weeks last time I ordered one.


  • Rebel Alliance

    Just check the bios version, there are a few threads on this forum about it.
    Version 4.0.7 is suggested and I have found it to be reliable.
    Newer bios versions may be experimental.  ;)



  • I ran an APU2C4 for nearly 2 years. My ISP/WAN connection is 380/20, and pfSense ran perfectly without any issues. There is some tuning you can do (search for the APU thread), but it's a very solid option. You'll have no issues on the APU up until over around 500Mbps (WAN > LAN). After that you'd be better installing IPFire or some other Linux distro. On a gigabit connection, an APU2C4 running pfSense will cap out around 540Mbps but a Linux based distro will do gigabit wirespeed. Below 500Mbps they're equal and pfSense has many more features, so I'd recommend it entirely.



  • Hello,

    I got an APU2C4 a few months now and although I'm satisfied, it limits my WAN speed to around 50Mbps. My provider tops at around 90 when not using PIA.

    I have a Voyo V1 with an Intel N4200, GBitE and USB 3.0 interfaces.
    Provided that I'm going to add a Trendnet USB 3.0 gigabit interface as a 2nd NIC, am I going to benefit using that build over my APU2C4? The N4200 seems to be higher clocked and also supports AES-NI as well.

    If not,, what hardware would you suggest in order for me to be able to utilise my IP's full speed?


  • Netgate Administrator

    That's 50Mbps over OpenVPN I assume?  Because otherwise anything could do more than that.

    Steve



  • @stephenw10:

    That's 50Mbps over OpenVPN I assume?  Because otherwise anything could do more than that.

    Steve

    Yes Steve. I should have been more clear.
    50mbps over OpenVPN. With PIA turned off, of course, it doesn't have any problem to get me the full speed of my provider.


  • Netgate Administrator

    50Mbps Ovpn is still pretty slow. I would think you could get more than that from the APU2 with some tuning.

    Steve



  • @stephenw10:

    50Mbps Ovpn is still pretty slow. I would think you could get more than that from the APU2 with some tuning.

    Steve

    Hi Steve,

    Do you have any suggestion/tweaks I should try?


  • Netgate Administrator

    At a minimum enable FastIO and increase the send/receive buffers to 512K. Those are both gui options now in 2.4.X.

    Steve



  • @stephenw10:

    At a minimum enable FastIO and increase the send/receive buffers to 512K. Those are both gui options now in 2.4.X.

    Steve

    Will try as soon as I reach home and will report back.

    Thanks Steve!


  • Rebel Alliance

    iperf testing the OpenVPN I got around 85Mbps without any additional tuning.



  • @stephenw10:

    At a minimum enable FastIO and increase the send/receive buffers to 512K. Those are both gui options now in 2.4.X.

    Steve

    Well, I changed the settings you suggested and now it hits the full potential of my IP!
    Thank you so much Steve!  8)


  • Netgate Administrator

    Yes I would have expected more without any tuning but it is very dependent on link latency among all the other variables that affect measured speed.

    Anyway glad you're seeing more now. ;)

    Steve



  • @stephenw10:

    Yes I would have expected more without any tuning but it is very dependent on link latency among all the other variables that affect measured speed.

    Anyway glad you're seeing more now. ;)

    Steve

    The thing is that it works brilliant now and I can take advatage of my full IP's speed. Ping times seem also to be lower.They went down to 17ms from 21.

    This came at about the right timing when I had started to feel disappointed with my PC Engines board.

    Thanks again :)



  • Another reason to avoid the APU3's is that the they all use the i211 Intel NIC's and the APU2C4 uses the i210 which has some advantages over the i211.  Can't remember the exact difference, sorry.

    I'm using an APU2C4 with a 100/10MBit connection without any problems at all.  I'm using IPSEC for VPN.



  • @acascianelli:

    Another reason to avoid the APU3's is that the they all use the i211 Intel NIC's and the APU2C4 uses the i210 which has some advantages over the i211.  Can't remember the exact difference, sorry.

    i210 supports wake on lan and baseboard management. I think one NIC on the APU2 may support WoL, baseboard management isn't implemented. So yes, if you need WoL, the APU2 may be a better choice (if it's working), otherwise they're the same.


 

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