PfSense 2.0 on mini-itx with Intel D525MW board

  • Hi Everyone,

    Our pfSense box installed on a very old PC is about to conk out, and  we're planning to replace it with a mini-itx board which we're going to house on a 1U chassis. The vendor suggested the Intel Desktop Board 525MW with Atom D525 CPU and 2GB RAM, will pfSense work with this hardware? Also, which would you recommend, CF or a hard drive? I would like the CF option (no rotating parts) however I'm planning to install some packages like Unbound, is this advisable? What packages can I install if I go with the CF card option? In case, we proceed with the hardware provided of course that pfSense will work on it, it will be my first time to install pfSense on CF card, my previous deployments were all based on a PC, what image will I use? The one for embedded devices, which is NanoBSD right? I'm not familiar with what 1g or 4g stands for?

    Many thanks!

  • Netgate Administrator

    1G, 2G etc are images for diferent card sizes, 1GB 2GB etc.
    CF card amnufactures sometimes vary what size card is labled "2GB" such that you may find the 2g image doesn't quite fit on your 2GB card.
    There is no problem using a smaller image on a larger card. I use the 2G image on a 4GB CF card.

    That board should work fine. It seems to use Realtek NIC on an Intel board though. You may want to check it is supported.

    You should also bare in mind that the Atom CPU is very low powered. This won't be a problem if you are not running too many packages but will limit your VPN throughput. One of the biggest advantages of running an Atom was the very low power consumption however the recent Core i3 CPUs can do almost as well, and even use less power in some conditions, whilst giving far higher performance when required.


  • Hi Steve,

    I'm going for the 8GB, an overkill? The reason I'm going for the Atom is to save on electricity bills, and I'm not going to install too many packages, a total of 5 maybe. I should turn off logging to prolong the life of the CF card, right?

  • Netgate Administrator

    NanoBSD takes care of all the problems of excessive disk writes for flash memory, you don't have to do anything.
    There is almost no point in using a larger CF card. A 2GB card is bigger than you need. Also there is no point in getting an expensive super fast card that supports UDMA. pfSense won't use UMDA and it mostly runs from RAM once it's booted anyway.


  • The Atom will help lower your power consumption, but so will a new Sandy Bridge CPU. Even the lowest end Sandy Bridge, Pentium G620, will FAR outperform an Atom, yet with similar power savings. I just built a system that uses 36 watts when idle. The CPU is a Pentium G620 and the Motherboard is an Intel S1200KP mini-itx board with dual Intel gigabit NICs.

    At 36W, powered on 24/7, PG&E (my power company in California) estimates this box will cost me $42 a year to run.

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