Help choosing the right hardware



  • Hello!

    I want to start learning PfSense (I already bought the book, Im waiting for it) but I need to buy a machine to learn and after that use this machine to protect my network.

    My network is about 40 servers but It may increase 1 server every 2 months. Nowadays Im using about 50-80Mbps, most servers are for web, ftp and mail working with cPanel and a few for video streaming. I want to be ready with this machine to support more than 150 or 200Mbps of throughput.

    Netgate.com recomended this server: http://www.netgate.com/product_info.php?cPath=60_107&products_id=774 but it only have base 100 ethernets, they told me about load balance the throughput using two ports but I think I'll need configure more things if I do that. So I prefer to have 1 Gig ethernet for wan and 1 ethernet for lan, its a right decision? will the recomended hardware support 200Mbps of throughput?

    Another option is: http://www.netgate.com/product_info.php?cPath=60_107&products_id=793 but it may handle the required throughput?

    My servers provider also recomended this server:
    Intel Core i5 750, 4x 2.66Ghz cores, no HT, 8M L3
    supermicro X8SIL-F socket 1156 server board
    2-Gig (1x 2G) DDR3-1333 non-ECC, 3x open
    1x 500G Western Digital Caviar Blue SATA-II 7200rpm
    on-board Intel ICH10R 6-port SATA-II Controller
    on-board 2x Intel 82574L Gigabit NIC Ports
    on-board IPMI 2.0 Adapter w/KVM-over-IP & 3rd NIC
    supermicro mini 1U SC512L-260B, 14" deep
    supermicro 1U 260-watt power supply
    For $750 shipped

    This server have on-board ethernet ports but someone in the IRC channel told me about have PCI Express Ethernets.

    Thank you for your comments.



  • Please read the Hardware Sizing guide, found one click from the pfSense home page and search this forum.  There are many threads on sizing and there's little point in re-hashing them ;)

    51-200 Mbps - No less than 1.0 GHz CPU
    201-500 Mbps - server class hardware with PCI-X or PCI-e network adapters, or newer desktop hardware with PCI-e network adapters. No less than 2.0 GHz CPU.

    That rules out both your choices (BTW, did you read the product description page for that first one?  The one where it clearly says it can't push more than 85 Mb/s?).

    Two key things to note:

    1. You'll never achieve 100% bandwidth usage.  If you need 200 Mb/s of throughput you'll either need to aggregate 3 x 100 Mb/s ports, or use a Gbit port.
    2. Packets per second usually matters more than raw bandwidth usage (more details in previous posts).

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