ASUS Hummingbird



  • Hi everybody,

    What do you think of this board to run pfSense?


    http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=z8eiAw05gJJgiaao

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131683

    Fanless Server class motherboard, two Intel Gigabit nic (One day I will get 50 mbits Internet and I'll need the Gigabit nic in the router). It even has the required serial port onboard to run embedded!

    I will be putting a USB Flash Drive into the onboard USB-A connector. If this isn't working I'll go back to a CF-to-SATA adaptor.

    And I plan to put this "baby" into a nice Antec ISK 100 80 Watt external power supply. Although the case come with a fan I'll try to disable it and see if the CPU overheat.

    This might be overkill, but the fanless and solid state design is important to me.

    I hope someone have something to say about it, maybe even have tried it and share the experience with the rest of us.

    MageMinds



  • @MageMinds:

    I hope someone have something to say about it

    IM JEALOUS ! !
    that looks like an awesome build.

    i've added the case and mobo to my 'to-buy' bookmarks folder ;)

    report back once you've gotten it built. include pics :)



  • Looks similar to this guy

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813182234

    This supermicro has been pretty popular. Also has dual gigbit nics, integrated management. It also has a standard ICH southbridge and supports 6 SATA ports. That's been a dealmaker for a lot of people because it's a storage controller/south bridge that's more standard and more compatible with more operating systems (like pfsense).

    I just got one and I'm loving it. I love being able to point a java app on my desktop at an ISO image and not having to futz with an optical drive in my server, or bother burning a CD.

    I installed pfsense on it bare metal and it ran wonderfully.. But with 4GB of ram and the cpus mostly idle even with 24megabit cable internet it felt like overkill..
    I installed ESXi 4.1 (Boots from a flash drive of that internal port. Slick!) and pfsense runs as a virtual machine. (Recent 2.0 snapshot- I swear it runs faster under ESX than on bear metal)



  • I though of this one too, but I heard the Supermicro customer service is far behind what Asus.

    But I guest you're right about the ICH9R chipset vs the NM10. I never though to put that into a VM that could also be able to run a decent FreeNAS Home File Server or I would probably go the MyLinux (one that I setup myself) route. I could also run my Asterisk PBX off the one motherboard…

    Talking about putting all the eggs in the same pot :-)

    I would then buy a spare motherboard and spare parts for my only home server everything. I don't particularly love the raid of an ICH, they tend to drop drives for no apparent reasons. I wonder it ESXi support that kind of software RAID. I do have a hardware controller , but it's PCIe x8, I'd have to check if it would work correctly in a electrically x4 PCIe slot.

    Anyways, thanks for sharing!



  • One catch on these motherboards - The D510 does not support VT (Supposedly there are atoms that do, but this isn't one of them) so on ESXi 4.1 that limits your guests to being 32bit OSs. It probably hampers performance in some other areas too - But hey. It's an Atom. You didn't buy it for speed and big mem support in the first place.



  • Ugh.  I can help some people with this one.  Here is my experience (non-pfSense related)

    I own an ASUS P7F-E which I use as a Server board in my basement.
    http://uk.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=Q7m7Z458pnOF2Oeq&templete=3

    I bought it over the Supermicro equivalent because it has more than one PCI slot.  I needed that for TV tuners.  I still wanted something with remote KVM management so this was the only other choice.  I have used Supermicro boards in the past with good experience.

    Well, I really wish Supermicro had that second PCI slot.  The ASUS board performs fine, but the "Server" features suck.

    • The ASpeed video is slow.  Horribly slow.  I know that doesn't matter much for pfSense but its so bad that I can't even bring up a video to test my SageTV server.  Moving windows around seems like a VNC session.
    • The remote management module ASMB4-iKVM is optional and must be purchased separately.  It does not come with the motherboard.
    • That remote module barely works most of the time.  If I reboot my server from a cold boot, it'll work for a few days, but eventually will just…..go away.  I won't be able to ping or access the IP at all.  I replaced it with another and the same thing happens.  Even when working - compared to the Supermicro offering, it's just not as good.


  • Get the Supermicro instead.  I'm not sure what Asus was thinking when they did the Hummingbird.

    The extra 2 SATA ports are provided for by a separate controller (which isn't very well supported in *nix).
    Competitor's offerings with ICH8M/ 9R actually provide 4 and 6 ports respectively and are well supported.  Furthermore, the ICH doesn't eat up the precious 4 PCIe lanes and allows them to offer 4 lanes in x4 or x16 PCIe slots.

    The onboard video is just plain weird.  The integrated GPU which is effectively a 945G is actually well supported these days and does a good job.

    It's not as if the Hummingbird is actually significantly cheaper (say, a $10 to $15 over a regular D510 board) than their competitors.



  • I've been using the Hummingbird for a couple of weeks and it certainly meets my requirements.  I've had it running with 1.2.3 and 2.0 Beta5 and it works flawlessly.  I agree that there are better choices for an ESX-i box, but I want a dedicated machine for my firewall.  I just put in 4GB of memory (overkill) and a 8GB SSD drive which is all I think a dedicated PFsense box needs.  That combination in an Antec ISK300-65 case is just idling along at less than 35 watts.

    The remote management stuff is great but my only complaint is the sensor readings are way off.  It kept telling me that the cpu temperature was very high so I turned the case fan on to high and then installed a second fan.  That didn't make any difference but going directly into the hardware health on the Bios revealed the actual temperature was comfortably low.  That aside, the remote control via the browser is really useful.  I've got two of these in production now and expect to set up 4 or 5 more in the next month or so.



  • I confirm too that this board rocks … I have it running 2.0 RC1 with 8GB Kingston SSD Drive (40$) and 1GB of RAM. This thing is fast, saving and reloading the config is fast... Myself I have a Soekris net5501 with a CF and mine is sooo sloooow... I'm jealous of my friend router now... ;-)

    MageMinds


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