New pfSense user - Dell Poweredge 1750



  • Hello all…first post here.

    I am a retired ipCop user from about 5 years ago.  I had to resort to a little plastic box router since I was moving into an apartment.  Now that I am back in a house, I wanted to move to a more robust solution (even though I'll probably use onloy 10% of pfSense's abilities).  I asked a coworker is was still using ipcop and he pointed me to pfSense.

    So, my very basic question is this...

    I just bought a Dell Poweredge 1750 (the specs are listed below).  I plan on using pfSense in a very limited fashion...port forwarding, reserved IPs, etc.  No VPN tunneling or the sort (not right now anyway).  Also, I will not be running a DMZ so a 3rd NIC is not required.  I just want to know (mainly from people who have experiece with the Poweredges) if there are any common pitfalls that I should be aware of with the 1750's...scsi, xeon, ECC memory, PSU, etc.?  I have searched the forum for everything "poweredge" and nothing really jumped out.

    Model:  1750 Dell PowerEdge
    Processor:  2 x Intel Xeon 2.4GHz / 1 MB Cache / 533MHz FSB
    Memory Installed:  1 GB 1GB RAM 
    Memory Type:  4x 256MB PC-2100R ECC DDR SDRAM
    Hard Drives:  1x 36GB Ultra320 10K SCSI Drive and Tray Installed
    Riser Board:  PCI Riser Board with 2 PCI-X ports
    External Media:  CD-ROM and Floppy
    Power Supply:  320W Hot Plug Power Supplies - Optional Upgrade to Two
    Backplane:  1 x 3 Bay 80Pin Hot Swap Ultra320 SCSI
    Ethernet:  2x Onboard Dual Gigabit Intel 1000 Pro
    Video:  8MB ATI Rage XL PCI video controller
    Form Factor:  1U Rack Height

    I assume that the 1GB of RAM should be more than sufficient.  Is there any advantage to upgrading to 2GB...given my current and future use?

    TIA,

    John



  • I've installed pfsense on a 1750 and it looked fine. I actually kind of used it to clear the disks…so i didn't do much after the installation.
    1Gb of ram should be enough, but why use such a "heavy" machine? I would prefer a more energy efficient solution for a home situation. (but thats because we pay $ 0,28 per kwh.  :-X



  • That machine should work a treat. I've used pfsense on old 1650s and 1550s, and today have it on a PowerEdge R210 (which is lovely!) I've also had it on all kinds of random old desktops, some with 256mb RAM… so you'll be set. I don't think you'll have any need to upgrade the RAM unless you've got 17 kids and they're all heavy BitTorrent users.



  • Thank you for the reassurance guys!

    I have one question…

    Riser Board:  PCI Riser Board with 2 PCI-X ports

    I know the PCI-X is backward compatible with PCI (a PCI-X card in a PCI slot) although it will talk down.  Is the reverse true...PCI card in a PCI-X slot?  Will it even fit?

    Eventhough I said that I have no need for a DMZ, I am thinking of future proofing and putting a 3rd NIC in.  However, the only slots I have available are PCI-X and the only NIC cards I have are PCI.  Would I be better off finding a Intel Pro 1000 PCI-X card on Ebay cheap and using that?

    TIA,

    John



  • You could try calling Dell and see if they'll answer the question directly. I can't comment too much on the hardware, but you should be able to pick those things up pretty cheap in the future if you need them.



  • @johnodon:

    Thank you for the reassurance guys!

    I have one question…

    Riser Board:  PCI Riser Board with 2 PCI-X ports

    I know the PCI-X is backward compatible with PCI (a PCI-X card in a PCI slot) although it will talk down.  Is the reverse true...PCI card in a PCI-X slot?  Will it even fit?

    Eventhough I said that I have no need for a DMZ, I am thinking of future proofing and putting a 3rd NIC in.  However, the only slots I have available are PCI-X and the only NIC cards I have are PCI.  Would I be better off finding a Intel Pro 1000 PCI-X card on Ebay cheap and using that?

    TIA,

    John

    Check the key configuration on the PCI cards you have.  A dual-voltage card will fit into the PCI-X slot without issues.  A 3v3 only card would not fit into a PCI-X slot keyed for 5v only, vice versa.

    It is safer to get a Pro/1000 MT PCI-X card from Ebay cheap.  The reason is that the onboard NICs might be riding off the PCI-X bus.  Placing a 32bit/ 33MHz NIC in the PCI-X slot will force the entire bus to downgrade to 33MHz.  i.e.  You end up with 266MB/s of bandwidth for 3 GBe nics and quite possibly the SCSI controller as well.



  • @dreamslacker:

    @johnodon:

    Thank you for the reassurance guys!

    I have one question…

    Riser Board:  PCI Riser Board with 2 PCI-X ports

    I know the PCI-X is backward compatible with PCI (a PCI-X card in a PCI slot) although it will talk down.  Is the reverse true...PCI card in a PCI-X slot?  Will it even fit?

    Eventhough I said that I have no need for a DMZ, I am thinking of future proofing and putting a 3rd NIC in.  However, the only slots I have available are PCI-X and the only NIC cards I have are PCI.  Would I be better off finding a Intel Pro 1000 PCI-X card on Ebay cheap and using that?

    TIA,

    John

    Check the key configuration on the PCI cards you have.  A dual-voltage card will fit into the PCI-X slot without issues.  A 3v3 only card would not fit into a PCI-X slot keyed for 5v only, vice versa.

    It is safer to get a Pro/1000 MT PCI-X card from Ebay cheap.  The reason is that the onboard NICs might be riding off the PCI-X bus.  Placing a 32bit/ 33MHz NIC in the PCI-X slot will force the entire bus to downgrade to 33MHz.  i.e.  You end up with 266MB/s of bandwidth for 3 GBe nics and quite possibly the SCSI controller as well.

    Perfect!!!  Thank you so much.  Off to Ebay I go.  :)

    John



  • As i just posted in another thread, I have had problems with the 1750 OEM cdrom reading burned pfSense discs.  I eventually had to upgrade to a slim CDRW to remedy the problem.  Don't go banging your head against the wall and reburning CDs if you have strange lockups/read-errors on boot; it's likely the drives fault.



  • @mhab12:

    As i just posted in another thread, I have had problems with the 1750 OEM cdrom reading burned pfSense discs.  I eventually had to upgrade to a slim CDRW to remedy the problem.  Don't go banging your head against the wall and reburning CDs if you have strange lockups/read-errors on boot; it's likely the drives fault.

    I saw that thread when I was doing my research.  Good to know…thank you.  I have a spare slim drive from an IBM lying around collecting dust.

    John



  • On my old 1850 I also had problems with the CD drive (And even had problems with my external CD drive) - Ended up installing everything from a USB HDD.

    Their latest server have fixed the issue now it seem though.


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