MSI IM-945GSE-A *success* running pfSense 1.2.3-RELEASE



  • Hi all!

    I just wanted to give a tiny bit back to the community, so I'm detailing my success with this awesome board!

    Hardware:
    –--------
    MSI IM-945GSE-A (dual Intel 100/1000 NIC, embedded Atom N270),
    1gb SODIMM,
    8gb Compact Flash,
    Startech.com flash2sata converter,
    Antec ISK300-150 mini-ITX case with 150w internal PSU

    Software:

    pfSense 1.2.3-RELEASE (http://cvs.pfsense.org/~jimp/pfSense-1.2.3-usbinstall.img.gz)

    First thing first, either my CDRW was getting long in the tooth, or my USB CDROM was having issues booting from the RW disc. I kept getting random FreeBSD crashes during boot. So I bailed on the CDRW and did a little searching for a usb/memstick install image for pfSense 1.2.3, and I almost gave up before finally finding this thread: http://forum.pfsense.org/index.php/topic,28264.0.html

    Using Jim's image I was able to get a little further along the OS installation. However, not before needing to solve a few more crashes. Apparently FreeBSD 7.2 doesn't like the internal COM ports on the IM-945GSE-A. So I disabled all 4 internal COM ports in the BIOS, and then started the install again.

    Success!

    Well, almost… After installing pfSense to the CF and rebooting; the BIOS kept tossing this message at me after POST: "Boot error"

    I did a little more research and found someone with similar "Read error" issue, and thought to myself "Ahh what the hell, it's worth a shot".

    So I followed the advice in this post (linked to on the pfSense Boot Troubleshooting page): http://www.p14nd4.com/blog/2006/02/17/bsd-bootloader-read-error/. I installed GAG from the Ultimate Boot CD, selected and named the FreeBSD partition, set the icon as Beastie for the FreeBSD partition, deleted the other GAG boot item, set the FreeBSD partition to boot after 3secs, and finally wrote the loader settings to disk.

    Success! Everything is up and running, and pfSense is booting after POST without issues. At this point I'm not sure if the boot loader issue was caused by my CF-to-SATA converter, or if there is perhaps a bug in the install scripts that mucks up the MBR. Either way, GAG was able to work around that issue.

    I'm now up and running with this kick ass, ultra quiet, and tiny little box :)

    PS) I originally wanted to run 2.0-BETA5, but even after some trickiness getting the memstick version installed it would not recognize either of the two onboard Intel 100/1000 NICs.



  • I seem to recall that Intel reorganised their FreeBSD LAN drivers so that support for  some of their newer devices moved from em driver to igb driver.

    If you were upgrading from 1.2.3 to 2,0 and your system was affected by this and you didn't look hard enough at what was reported on startup it would appear that your NICs weren't recognised.

    Fix: just reconfigure the interfaces at the startup dialog. If your WAN used to be em0 say its igb0 etc


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