Custom Build Box?
I am looking to custom build my own PFSense box as I have significant hardware experience and I enjoy getting my hands "dirty" - it used to be in building high-end PCs, but that ship has sailed. Now, I want to build a high-performance firewall for home use as I am definitely a networking/security enthusiast and I have the rack in the basement to prove it... :)
In all seriousness, I am not afraid of overkill. In fact, I welcome it, as that usually means a more useful device for a longer amount of time. I was tempted to buy an appliance from Netgate, but I like to experiment and tinker, plus I want something I can swap parts in and out of, such as 10G and SFP, storage, and so on.
I am tempted with the SuperMicro SuperServer series, as it seems to check all the boxes. But, I wanted to get input from those who have built, or if they would build, what would be built?
For reference, I am interested in a chassis that has more flexibility. The Protectli boxes are neat, but I don't like that they are limited to 4-6 gigabit copper, and you can't change it after the fact. I know you definitely do not need Xeon-level CPU, but at the other end, the Atom boards don't seem to be as flexible either.
So, I hope what I am asking for makes sense. In an ideal world, it would be a small form factor PC (rackmount not mandatory) where I could open it up and swap components. I realize that ability to customize will come at a premium, but this also is not a situation where cost is no object. I just want to build something that is flexible and as future-proof as possible. I am kinda tired of spending money on low-powered "appliances" that are obsolete in 2-3 years. I would certainly appreciate any feedback and input.
If you want to do all that tinkering and swapping, I would probably recommend a full sized desktop PC. Run something like an i5 or i7 processor and go crazy with the expansion cards - 4 gig port cards, multiple 10gig ports, you name it. You’re not going to get too much flexibility to do all that with a 1U server box. I would say, if you want maximum performance and already built, get the high end Netgate box, the XG-1541. Add a network expansion card of your choosing, and you’re easily all set for years.
NollipfSense last edited by
@StarsAndBars I went with using a quad-core i7 Apple Mac Mini server ... replaced hard drive with SSD mirror and thunderbolt 2 PCI enclosure with an Intel i350 ... easy to upgrade to 10GBe, nice small form factor, low electricity consumption. I must say though that I like and sometimes drool when I see Netgate XG-7100U or desktop.