Intel Atom netbook?



  • I'm thinking about picking up a refurb Atom netbook for a pfSense install for ~$155.  I like the idea because it's low power, has integrated battery backup/keyboard/screen, relatively cheap for the whole package, and I can easily repurpose it for something else when I want.

    My questions are:

    1. Will pfSense recognize all the hardware?
    2. Will this be powerful enough to push at least 25Mbps with lots of connections and full QoS?
    3. What about some Squid caching?
    4. These only have one NIC and no card slots, so are there any good/cheap USB NICs out there that aren't going to be a bottleneck or add latency?

    These are the two systems I was looking at, both are single core Atoms with 2GB of RAM and Intel NM10 Express Chipset/ICH7:

    Dell Latitude 2110
    Intel Atom N470 1.83 GHz (354 CPUmark)
    Broadcom NetXtreme Gigabit NIC

    Dell Inspiron Mini 1012
    Intel Atom n450 1.66 GHz (318 CPUmark)
    10/100 Realtek RTL8102E/RTL8103E Family PCI-E NIC



  • @atamido:

    1. Will pfSense recognize all the hardware?

    Probably. I don't have one of either of those systems.

    @atamido:

    4. These only have one NIC and no card slots, so are there any good/cheap USB NICs out there that aren't going to be a bottleneck or add latency?

    A better option would be use a VLAN capable switch (e.g. Mikrotik RB250GS for under US$40, there are plenty of more expensive options) to act as a "port multiplier": your single LAN port on the netbook can "fan out" to 4 (or more) ports on the VLAN capable switch.



  • @wallabybob:

    @atamido:

    1. Will pfSense recognize all the hardware?

    Probably. I don't have one of either of those systems.

    Sorry, I didn't mean "all".  I mostly just meant the chipset+NIC.  I'm not really concerned about the trackpad and SD card reader.  ;D

    @wallabybob:

    A better option would be use a VLAN capable switch (e.g. Mikrotik RB250GS for under US$40, there are plenty of more expensive options) to act as a "port multiplier": your single LAN port on the netbook can "fan out" to 4 (or more) ports on the VLAN capable switch.

    I'm still hoping to keep unmanaged switches and have the routing occur between NICs in the netbook.  (The AX88178 looks promising.)  But I may just have to go with a cheap managed switch to actually have a stable connection.


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