Anything a little more power than ALIX 2D3? (Intel Atom?)



  • I've purchased an ALIX 2D3 and it seems great but I'm having a little buyers remorse because I think of how much more powerful of a machine I could have gotten for much less.  The tradeoff, however, is energy efficiency.

    There are several Intel Atom computers that I could get for cheaper (and are 5x as powerful) but I've been told they use about 70 watts under load where-as the ALIX only uses 5 watts.

    Also, almost every Atom board I see uses Realtek NICs which I've been told are garbage.

    Anyways, does something like the following exist:  (?)

    • 1 GHz or faster
    • 512 MB RAM
    • 2x good NICs (I don't need GigE on the router)
    • 20 watt load/average

    Am I asking for too much?

    Really the ALIX will do fine for my small home environment (I don't need snort or vpn) but I'm thinking about the future and if I ever get FIOS, etc.



  • Just noticed these recently at Netgate. http://www.netgate.com/product_info.php?products_id=793
    Not sure what the power draw would be. I'd be interested to hear if anyone had tested one yet.



  • Hmmm, that's a bit more than I can afford for a home setup.

    Anyways, how does the AMD Geode LX800 (500 MHz) compare to the Intel Atom N270 (1.6 GHz)?

    I'm trying to find benchmarks but I just can't find any.

    Also, the motherboard I found is extremely low-power and even has two Intel on-board GigE NICs, but I'd really like to know how much faster/slower the Atom is versus the Geode (ALIX)…



  • From what I've read most of the power consumed in current Atom based boards is in the chipset rather than the CPU and things won't improve until the next generation chipset is available.

    If you use a VLAN capable switch its possible to VLANs on a pfSense box and have just one physical interface. That might considerably expand your options for using low power systems.

    Your initial post said "I think of how much more powerful of a machine I could have gotten for much less". At least where I live, its not possible to get a new Atom based motherboard for very much less than the price of an Alix bought from PC Engines. What did you have in mind?

    My pfSense has one VIA NIC and one Realtek NIC. I think the Realtek NIC is possibly a little better behaved under pfSense 1.2.3 than under 1.2. For the relatively light duties of my home firewall the Realtek NIC seems to behave well enough.



  • I just put one of these systems here:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Intel-Atom-330-4x-GBLAN-Mini-ITX-Morex-5677-NC92-330_W0QQitemZ400076161159QQcmdZViewItemQQptZDesktop_PCs?hash=item5d2665c087&_trksid=p4634.c0.m14.l1262#ht_3924wt_1167

    Setup was a piece of cake.  It's booting from a 32GB SSD drive as we're going to integrate these into businesses that need squid for cached downloads.



  • @sofakng:

    I've purchased an ALIX 2D3 and it seems great but I'm having a little buyers remorse because I think of how much more powerful of a machine I could have gotten for much less.  The tradeoff, however, is energy efficiency.

    There are several Intel Atom computers that I could get for cheaper (and are 5x as powerful) but I've been told they use about 70 watts under load where-as the ALIX only uses 5 watts.

    Also, almost every Atom board I see uses Realtek NICs which I've been told are garbage.

    Anyways, does something like the following exist:  (?)

    • 1 GHz or faster
    • 512 MB RAM
    • 2x good NICs (I don't need GigE on the router)
    • 20 watt load/average

    Am I asking for too much?

    Really the ALIX will do fine for my small home environment (I don't need snort or vpn) but I'm thinking about the future and if I ever get FIOS, etc.

    MSI IM-945GSE
    Has an Atom N270 paired with the 945GSE chipset (mobile version of the 945GC used in other Atom boards) which uses significantly less power.
    Has 2 onboard Intel PCI-express Gigabit NICs.
    Add the ram as per your requirements, it uses DDR2 sodimm.

    I doubt it uses 20W total but it certainly uses less than 50W with a 2.5" harddrive.


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