The best mini ITX motherboard for pfSense



  • Hello guys,

    I'm new to this forum. So excuse for not being able to read it completely after 1 day :)

    I'm looking to build my own pfSense as a replacement for the crappy Sagem VDSL router/firewall I have from my ISP.

    I've been googling almost all day and can't seem to find the right motherboard for my purpose.

    The things I would like on it:

    • integrated CPU (not necesarilly fanless)
    • 2x Gbit LAN
    • VGA
    • SATA (or CF card as alternative solution)

    I was thinking about putting it inside this case:

    http://www.mini-itx.com/2009/09/13/the-m350-universal-mini-itx-enclosure-is-extremely-versatile

    But the things I care most about is the driver compatibility with the pfSense kernel.

    So I don't want to end up with a mobo with 2 unsupported NIC's :)

    I saw the ALIX system boards but they don't have SATA or IDE

    USB support for an external cdrom would also be nice to make the install proces more easily

    Do you guys have a perfect match for me? :)

    Any advice would be much appreciated!

    Sardonis



  • If I recall correctly, there is a MSI mini-ITX motherboard with two Intel GigE NICs and there have been reports in the pfSense forums that pfSense runs on it. I suggest you search the forums for MSI ITX.

    You might like to browse the range of motherboards (mostly mini-ITX) at http://www.linitx.com

    You might have a challenge finding a VDSL card (if you want to entirely replace your existing Sagem). Maybe you are just looking for a replacement firewall.



  • With Intel NIC's–

    Best choice for Atom $$ http://www.idotpc.com/TheStore/pc/viewPrd.asp?idcategory=145&idproduct=693

    Best choice for MoDT (still need mobile CPU) $$$$ http://www.logicsupply.com/products/ga_6kieh_rh



  • That atom board is sweet with features (woot, has serial too), but man… that price point hurts for the relative lack of power (compared to a similarly priced system without onboard intel NIC criteria). Of course, the necessary computing power for pfSense is completely variable.

    mini-dtx + newer celeron + 2 pci-express intel NICs = smaller price, low/equal power consumption, and plenty of power (compared to the atom setups)



  • @trentdk:

    mini-dtx + newer celeron + 2 pci-express intel NICs = smaller price, low/equal power consumption, and plenty of power (compared to the atom setups)

    Yah, but a desktop CPU is not going to be fanless and support as small a case.  It's all about priorities.



  • If you're looking for that MSI IM-945GSE mini-itx motherboard, you'l find a little better price at
    http://www.mini-box.com/MSI-IM-945GSE-Mini-ITX-Motherboard

    I've order from then a number of times and have always been quite satisfied with their promptness.

    Plus, they have these:

    http://www.mini-box.com/s.nl/it.A/id.417/.f?sc=8&category=13

    and:

    http://www.mini-box.com/M350-universal-mini-itx-enclosure

    (I do not work for them, have shares in their company, or personally know anyone there - I just like their operation.)



  • I don't like pico power supplies if I can help it, but I also don't like noise or inefficient ATX power supplies.  I'm working on a post that will outline my project, but here is the one I've found for a 1U pfSense box I'm creating.

    http://www.power-on.com/flexatx120g.html



  • I too am looking for a decent 1U solution.
    A previous post recently here had SuperMicro 1U enclosure, incuded power supply for about $90.

    The link also incuded a SuperMicro motherboard, with dual Intel gig ports.
    But, that was an "open box" special at the vendor, and that board is being phased out by SuperMicro.
    Even the compatable intel processor that someone else suggested for that board was "discontinued" by the same vendor.

    So, I'm still looking for a 1U enclose, motherboard, decent processor I can put together for reasonable amount of $ (lets say $500 max)



  • It depends on what you define as a decent processor.  For home use, the Atom is more than enough unless you go nuts on packages.  I do know that Idotpc.com will sell a 1U case with the Atom board preinstalled if you wish.

    I'm putting together a mini-ITX solution as we speak with a laptop processor but everything is quite expensive.  I wanted the best, so I pieced things from a couple vendors (like that PSU).

    If power usage doesn't matter and you want more power, then a regular Supermicro board is perfect since they include Intel NIC's.  If you are adverse to putting it together yourself, I know this company uses Supermicro too.
    http://www.ironsystems.com/items.asp?Cc=ACLASS



  • My vote is for the MSI IM-945GSE mini-itx motherboard, I have one and it works flawlessly. It is a little pricey but worth every penny. comparing a board that comes with dual Intel NIC's and a board that comes with dual Realtek NIC's is like comparing apples and oranges.
    Attached is a graph of my atom for the last 6 months - it doesn't do anything, the Intel NIC's and the 945GSE chipset are doing all the work.




  • I should have mentioned what I want to do:

    IPS edge device (snort), and possibly proxy (squid & guard) for small company.
    Something like 100 users. T1 Internet connection.
    Maybe 10 IPSEC VPN connections (probably 20 due to multiple nets at other end)

    So I figured Core 2 Duo Intel should be enough. 2GB to 4GB memory.



  • @pmb1010:

    I should have mentioned what I want to do:

    IPS edge device (snort), and possibly proxy (squid & guard) for small company.
    Something like 100 users. T1 Internet connection.
    Maybe 10 IPSEC VPN connections (probably 20 due to multiple nets at other end)

    So I figured Core 2 Duo Intel should be enough. 2GB to 4GB memory.

    Based on that, I would get a Supermicro setup and not the Atom.



  • I built some slim pc solutions which is all alluminium with LCD attached. I can get rid of the monitor and have the computer only. If you want to see it you can goto www.tammax.com . Can configure any spec even ION based too. The one on the website is Atom N270, 2GB RAM, 320GB HDD, WiFi bg, Ethernet 10/100, DVI & VGA and USB 2.0 ports. The LCD monitors range from 15" to 26" . Also there are single touch screen solution with stand or wall mounted. The whole thing is cased in full alluminium which the temp can be cooled efficiently with little ventilation. If I make sales from here I will contribute back to pfsense for each unit sold.


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