WatchGuard Firebox x750e - 64bit upgrade



  • Dear fellow users,

    I am saddened to see that the good old X750e is now not supported on the newer pfSense versions, but I understand that it is for good reasons.
    Over the years I have grown some feelings towards my reliable red box, and it is a shame to discard it for a newer more up to date machine; after all, even if its electronic guts are becoming obsolete, the sturdy box is not, and that is why I am posting here today, I want to disembowel the box and make it into a updated 64bit piece of equipment that will last a few more years.

    Before I describe the change, I am an electronics engineer with plenty of experience, who is used to design complex hardware, and that could design a new motherboard for this box, but that would just be silly, as there are many easier options out there.

    Ok, my plan is as follows:

    • remove motherboard and replace it with a SUPERMICRO MBD-X11SBA-LN4F-O Mini ITX Server Motherboard
    • design some interface PCB to connect the motherboard to the front panel, with the following interfaces:
    • 4x Gigabit Ethernet,
    • 1x USB
    • 1 Serial (on existing Console port)
    • 4 Buttons (I need to figure out how they interact with LCDPROC)
    • LCD (through an FTDI FT2232D USB LCDPROC compatible)

    As I mentioned earlier, the electronics and PCB side are not a problem, additionally I believe that the power supply will be powerful enough to sustain this motherboard, which I chose for its low consumption.

    Once tested, I will make available the new boards and conversion instructions to anyone who's interested.

    I welcome suggestions on other motherboards and on which interfaces should be brought to the front panel.



  • I just took 4 X-e boxes 1 550e 3 1250e to the recycler along with a couple old servers. 100lbs of metal and 20lbs of motherboards.. Just because of how old they were.. I had one of the last 550e boxes every built for Watchguard and it is now ten years old and retired. Still sitting in the rack where it did its work but unplugged.

    Id actually suggest looking at some of the newer offerings such as the XTM5 series which is a few years newer. But even then you would be limited to the 2.4 branch.

    For the 2.5 branch you will need a CPU capable of AES-ni. Take a peek at some of the Lanner offerings as well in your research. They built the motherboards for the XTM series.

    :)



  • The problem is that I already have a red box, and that is why I would like to replace the motherboard in it; buying a newer box just to replace the motherboard doesn't make much sense to me, at that point I might as well buy a second hand server such as the Dell R210 with an E3-1220 which already has all that is needed, for pretty much the same price as the solution that I am looking to implement.

    The issue here is that I am trying to avoid is sending another piece of equipment to the landfill (or at least not all of it)

    The Supermicro Motherboard boasts an Intel Pentium Processor N3700, which already has the AES support that is required for the latest versions of pfSense.

    thank you for the tip of the Lanners offerings, I will look them up.