Upgrade or new build

  • Hi, looking for some thoughts on upgrading my old hardware vs starting over with a new build..

    I've got a 100/100 FIOS connection currently, planning to upgrade at some point, but I don't have any issues with that right now.

    My primary reason for looking to upgrade is that I'm getting into more OVPN use and my current CPU doesn't support AES-NI, as well as the fact that I built it in early 2013 so it is older hardware.

    Current build:
    MoBo: Intel DQ77KB
    CPU: Intel G540 Celeron
    Memory: Crucial 2GB Single DDR3 1066
    CPU Cooler: Dynatron K2 1U
    HDD: 80GB 2.5” SATA III
    Case: 1U iStar
    PSU: Dell laptop brick

    I'm looking at two options right now:
    Option #1:
    New CPU: i5-3470 (I don’t think anything less than the i5 in the Ivy Bridge line supports AES-NI)
    Compatible memory: Patriot 1.35V 4GB DDR3 1600
    I think I’d keep the Dynatron cooler; I know it is only rated up to 73 watts (i5 is 77 watts) but I don’t think it will be stressed much.

    This gets me an AES-NI system for $136

    Option #2
    Start over:
    MoBo: Supermicro MBD-X11SCL-IF - $230
    CPU: Intel Pentium Gold G5400 - $60
    CPU Cooler: Reuse Dynatron K2 1U
    Memory: Crucial 8GB Kit (4GBx2) DDR4 2400 - $38
    SSD: Kingston A400 120G Internal SSD M.2 - $22
    Case/PSU: Superchassis CSE-505-203B 200W 1U - $119

    Total: $469

    I could get away with sticking with my iStar case, but I’m not really happy with it as the I/O opening isn’t standard and doesn’t fit either the lo profile plate or regular plate that came with the Intel board. I also want to have the I/O on the front just to make access easier in my rack.

    Any input would be appreciated, thanks!

  • I neglected to mention that I also plan on using PFblocker, Squid and possibly Snort. This is in a home environment with typically 4 users.

  • Netgate Administrator

    Are you actually hitting the limits if your current system now?

    What might you upgrade your connection to? Full Gigabit?

    You probably aren't under any real pressure to upgrade which is to your advantage. You could wait until something suitable appears in ebay which will likely be significantly cheaper. I upgraded a test box using a 3350P a while back. Nobody wants those as they don't have onboard graphics but that's perfect for a firewall with a serial console and saves 8W of cooling.

    2GB will be a real limit though if you plan to run all of those packages.

    In that situation I would upgrade the box you have for the least amount possible. The later you can leave a complete replacement the better that hardware will be when you do buy new gear.


  • Thanks for the reply.

    I'm not hitting any limits as far as I can tell right now on anything other than my VPN speeds, which is primarily driving this.

    I am looking at full gigabit, but I'm not sure I'll go that far, maybe 500/500.

    If I upgrade to the i5 I could get either 2x 4GB or 1x8GB for the memory. Does dual channel make a difference vs single channel memory in this application?

  • Netgate Administrator

    Not really. 2x 4GB is probably cheaper though and you won't need more than 8GB. If you hit that limit you will be hitting other limits too.


  • After some research, I went with a used i5-3470T, with a 35w TDP which fits in under my boards 65w max TDP. It's a lower clock speed than I would like, but it will be fine I'm sure.

    I also picked up an 8GB stick of ram which surprisingly ended up being a bit cheaper than the 2x4 set..

    I also have an M.2 SATA SSD that I will be switching to to get rid of my current HDD. I think this should be good for my needs for now.

    Thanks for the help.

  • Go Ryzen 3200g, gigabyte b450 ds3h, 16gb ddr4, 128-256gb ssd, dual intel lan. Works like a champ for me

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