Which to choose? Pentium-M 2GHz w/ 2x 88E8053 vs Core-Solo 1.83GHz w/ 2x i82573L

  • I've FTTH coming soon and am in a need to upgrade my router (currently 1.2.3 on an Intel D201GLY2 with MT dual port adapter).

    When the transition comes, I'll have a 100M/50M line coming in and the D201GLY2 would prove to be too anaemic for my needs (traffic shaping and some OpenVPN action).

    I have at my disposal, an A-Open i915GmM-HFS board with a Pentium-M 2GHz and an MSI 945GT Speedster-A4R with a Core-Solo T1350 at 1.86GHz.  For all intents and purposes, both rigs are capable of using the 2 x 1GB DDR2 sticks of ram I have.

    My requirements are for single-WAN/ single-LAN NAT routing for throughputs up to 150Mbit/s (actual line speeds would be about 95-100Mb/s down and 45-50Mb/s up on a copper GBe connection provided by the fiber modem).  Also required would be OVPN access (BF-CBC 128) to the tune of 50Mb/s total throughput.
    The system need not obtain both simultaneously just either of the 2 at any point in time but being able to reach both would evidently be a bonus.
    I intend to run pfSense 2.0 release for all intents and purposes.

    I believe that both processors are capable of obtaining the target.  The A-open board features a pair of Marvell 88E8053 PCI-E NICs and the MSI board has a pair of Intel 82573L PCI-E NICs.
    I've noted, there seems to be some issues with the Marvell drives in the 2.0 RCs but I'm unable to verify if it relates to the 88E8053 NICs or if it's only an issue with the later parts from Marvell.

    Would anyone care to offer an opinion on which platform I should choose?  I'm game for upgrading the Speedster to run a T5600 Core 2 Duo (1.86GHz dual-core) chip should there be a need for more juice and 64-bit support (for more memory).

  • Netgate Administrator

    The Marvel 88E8053 is supported by the msk driver which has bugs in the 8.1_rel version and hence pfSense 2.0. See my post here and subsequent posts.
    The bugs have now been fixed in the driver so that will eventually make it into newer versions of pfSense. I'd be interested in your experiences with it though, particularly if your NICs have firmware 2.2 or newer.

    The 533MHz FSB Pentium-M at 2GHz (at least the one I tried) is not correctly recognised by powerd and hence can't take advantage of the power savings that offers.

    Also in that thread I tested the OpenVPN capability of a 1.5GHz Pentium-M and found it to be around 50Mbps.


  • Being newer, the Core Solo will be faster at the same clock speed. As such you'll probably get a bit more out of the Core Solo than the Pentium. For OpenVPN too you'll almost certainly need a multi-core/processor setup for your target speed.

  • Thanks for the replies.  I guess it's the Speedster for me then.

    @Cry Havok:  Considering that Hacom's testing here yielded 51-56Mbit/s of throughput for 3DES/ AES256 on the Pentium-M 1.5GHz, I was under the impression that the Core Solo would comfortably do 50Mbit/s total throughput for OVPN.

  • It will, but what about everything else you want to do? What about the other 100 Mb/s of traffic you've got?

  • Duly noted sir.  ;D  Only need either of the 2 for now but I'll see if I can snitch a free T7400 from my friend.

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