Looking for Low Power Budget Build Suggestions (BC, Canada)

  • I used to have an old IBM server that was big, power hungry (~350W) and loud. I was running pfSense as a VM and it was fine, however I could no longer justify it, so I sold it and reverted to using my ISP's supplied modem/router.

    My requirements:

    • Low power: 15W -ish? I don't want an old PC eating power and spewing out heat
    • Bandwidth support: Min: 200Mbps, though some some room for growth would be nice. 300/300 Mbps plans are on the horizon in my area.
    • Form factor: I'm flexible, but smaller would be better. Network rackmount is OK (~12" deep max)
    • Price: Ideally under $200 CAD all in
    • AES-NI / pfSense 2.5 compatible
    • OpenVPN: I'd use it, but not for anything beyond light remote access.


    • Espresso.bin - looks good, bug no ETA on support
    • APU2C2/APU2C4 - is this still a good option?
    • ???

  • I've had good luck with the Zotac CI323 Nano. The updated model is the CI327 Nano. However, while it looks like you can get either one of those for US$150 in the states, amazon.ca and newegg.ca both list them for just over CAD$200. And you need to add RAM and a hard drive. I've been running with only a 4GB stick of RAM and a 32GB SSD, and I run with 3 concurrent VPN client tunnels, Snort, and pfBlockerNG. So you could plausibly still stay under CAD$300 maybe. These Zotac boxes do use Realtek NICs though, so you'd also need to use the official Realtek driver:

    There may yet be better and cheaper options; I can only speak to my personal experience.

  • Thanks for the reply. Definitely worth considering the Zotac if nothing else turns up.

  • @strigona Am running an often maligned (everybody has an opinion) MiniSys 4 port, cheapest from AlliExpress, I've seen under usd$200, add your own SSD+Ram. 10 WATTS! and a side benefit NO FAN, although it does run a little warm (50c idle) but if u have fan-ed rack it should be fine, be sure to get the AES-NI ready, Intel NICs favored by Pfsense. You maybe able to get away with it looking for a used Atom-class, 300+ Passmark fine, from eBay. Just don't buy anything proprietary, Pfsense loads on any standard PC box fine.

  • I like the Qotom boxes myself, especially the i3 which has AES-NI and uses Intel NICs.


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