Curious about the difference with CF drives // HDD



  • Hello, I am really new to this whole pfSense I have an old computer that I plan to run. I already order 2x intel NICs. I have a few very novice questions.

    1. Whats the difference if I were to install pfSense on CF drive or IDE HDD or a usb drive and which is ideal?

    2. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833106121 these NICs any good since I just ordered two + its intel I've read intel is the best around here.

    3. This is just out of curiosity AMD//INTEL or pfsense runs fine on both.

    thank you! =)



  • 1. CF/USB are solid state, so no moving parts, generally considerably less power usage/heat, and they will last a lot longer under normal conditions. Except that flash has a limited number of write cycles before the cells stop working, so the number of writes must be controlled. If you run embedded, you can install on these media as the embedded install is designed to do very few writes (but there is no package support). If you want full functionality there is also industrial CF available that is designed for HDD replacement use, so should be fine for this. Others also report that standard flash works fine and lasts a long time, but YMMV with this. pfSense basically only accesses the disk to read/write configuration data and during bootup/services start. It's very light I/O load and won't affect network performance in any way which option you choose.

    2. They are good NICs, though if your hardware is new-ish I'd suggest going PCIe instead. For < 100mbit though, these PCI cards are more than fine. Others will recommend the 'server' grade NICs, but I'm personally very skeptical that there's any difference at all, especially with FreeBSD. Maybe some features are unlocked in the Windows drivers, but as far as I can tell, they are for all intents and purposes identical on FreeBSD.

    3. pfSense works well on both, though my personal experience is that the Intel motherboard chipsets are less problematic than those from others, and of course Intel only makes chipsets for their own CPUs. Any modern i386 hardware should work well though.



  • thank you very much for your detailed answers..

    Finally, which version should I install of pfSense?



  • I have been very happy using the recent 1.2.3 snapshots in production.



  • @ktims:

    I have been very happy using the recent 1.2.3 snapshots in production.

    Have you been able to upgrade your 1.2.3 snapshots using the update functionality in the web-interface? I tried this on the NANOBSD install, it said a newer version was available and I pressed the Invoke button. It downloads the image and attempts and install but the unit never reboots. When I reboot it manually after 20 minutes or so it is not updated.  ???



  • I've never used this feature. I always update from the console with the snapshot image URL manually obtained.

    Since 2.0-ALPHA reports an available update with version 1.2.2, I suspect the web update functionality only works properly with final releases.



  • @ktims:

    2. … Others will recommend the 'server' grade NICs, but I'm personally very skeptical that there's any difference at all, especially with FreeBSD. Maybe some features are unlocked in the Windows drivers, but as far as I can tell, they are for all intents and purposes identical on FreeBSD.

    Afaik the chipset differs between the desktop and the server versions with the latter using an improved interrupt handling scheme and therefore offloading the CPU. But that's cited from my rather old memory.
    The differences are important in high^2 traffic setups only.



  • @ktims:

    I've never used this feature. I always update from the console with the snapshot image URL manually obtained.

    Since 2.0-ALPHA reports an available update with version 1.2.2, I suspect the web update functionality only works properly with final releases.

    do you upload the update file or the whole new snapshot then?



  • @jahonix:

    Afaik the chipset differs between the desktop and the server versions with the latter using an improved interrupt handling scheme and therefore offloading the CPU. But that's cited from my rather old memory.
    The differences are important in high^2 traffic setups only.

    Yeah, I know what Intel says, but this is supposed to be for IPsec offload or some such, and it's not supported by the FreeBSD driver anyway. All the features that FreeBSD supports seem to be supported in all cards (TSO, TCP/UDP checksum offload, VLAN hardware tagging) desktop or server.

    I've taken a quick look at the em driver sourcecode in the past and noticed that the 82572 (Desktop 1000/PT) and 82571 (Server 1000/PT) seem to be treated exactly identically by the driver, even down to hardware eratta.

    Maybe the cards are made with better support components, or maybe it makes a difference in Windows, but as far as I can tell for use with pfSense/FreeBSD, the cards are functionally equivalent. If anyone can show me otherwise I'll surely listen, but so far I've seen nothing beyond 'buy server cards, theyre better', which I think is a pretty weak argument for spending 3-4x as much money for what appears to be identical functionality (assuming of course that 1 port/card is good enough for you).

    YMMV.



  • TYVM for all the feedbacks. Now just waiting on the NICs - should be arriving tomorrow morning..

    just things I wondering..
    pfsense works better on dual/quad cores cpus or its the same?

    thank you


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