Thinking about using a firebox, some questions



  • Is there any need to configure the system (BIOS) to get all the benefits of the new faster CPU?

    BTW: can I exchange the CPU in a Firebox X700?


  • Netgate Administrator

    No, there are no BIOS settings required for a different cpu, just the DIP switches.

    The CPU in the X700 can be swapped, quite a few users have done this. You can fit up to a 1.4GHz Tualatin Pentium 3.

    Steve



  • @power_matz:

    @stephenw10:

    Yes.
    If you have the choice go for the SL8BA, it's a Dothan core which runs cooler and twice the amount of on board cache.

    In case you didn't realise you have to set the jumpers (both sets) on the motherboard to select between Banias or Dothan.

    Steve

    I assume that this is discribed here in the forum, isn't it? You mean the jumpers an the side of the cpu socket?

    OK, found the trhead. But what do you mean with "both sets"?

    I'm confused because people keep talking about the x5500 peak.

    I just bought a plain Firebox x750e, and I want to upgrade the cpu to the lower powered POWERD functions so should I buy a  SL8BA for the cpu upgrade and it will work for my x750e  with only a couple of switch settings, correct?    Exactly what type of DDR 400 ram NON-ECC or ECC  get because I'm gonna order that, too.

    Also, am I'm going to need a CF writer for my windows machine to burn a fresh Pfsense CF card for the x750e and will SanDisk SDCFH-004G-A11 do?

    Thanks so much,
    corvey


  • Netgate Administrator

    See my reply in the x550e thread.
    Additionally, yes you will need a CF reader of some type to flash the image. The 4GB Sandisk card should be fine. Consider that there is very little point spending more on a faster card. It will only reduce your bootup time marginally. Once booted pfSense runs almost entirely from ram.

    Steve



  • @stephenw10:

    Quoting myself.  ::)
    @stephenw10:

    Everything I have tried has worked, this board is not fussy.

    CPUs:
    SL6N7  1.3GHz Banias Celeron-M (original cpu)
    SL7GL  1.5GHz Dothan Pentium-M
    SL7EP  1.7GHz Dothan Pentium-M

    CF:
    4GB Transend
    2GB Sony

    Ram:
    2X 1GB Nanya 6400 DDR2 (cheapest I could find on Ebay!)

    Those are the components I have actually tried myself. I would expect any Pentium-M or Celeron-M to work, SL8BA should work fine. The only thing to consider is that you need to use a cpu that is directly supported by the est(4) driver in order to use speedstep (via powerd). This is because the BIOS provides no speedstep information via acpi as it would do in a laptop for example. Only the 400MHz FSB pentium-M processors are supported:

    static cpu_info ESTprocs[] = {
    	INTEL(PM17_130,		1700, 1484, 600, 956, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM16_130,		1600, 1484, 600, 956, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM15_130,		1500, 1484, 600, 956, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM14_130,		1400, 1484, 600, 956, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM13_130,		1300, 1388, 600, 956, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM13_LV_130,	1300, 1180, 600, 956, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM12_LV_130,	1200, 1180, 600, 956, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM11_LV_130,	1100, 1180, 600, 956, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM11_ULV_130,	1100, 1004, 600, 844, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM10_ULV_130,	1000, 1004, 600, 844, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_765A_90,	2100, 1340, 600, 988, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_765B_90,	2100, 1324, 600, 988, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_765C_90,	2100, 1308, 600, 988, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_765E_90,	2100, 1356, 600, 988, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_755A_90,	2000, 1340, 600, 988, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_755B_90,	2000, 1324, 600, 988, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_755C_90,	2000, 1308, 600, 988, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_755D_90,	2000, 1276, 600, 988, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_745A_90,	1800, 1340, 600, 988, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_745B_90,	1800, 1324, 600, 988, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_745C_90,	1800, 1308, 600, 988, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_745D_90,	1800, 1276, 600, 988, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_735A_90,	1700, 1340, 600, 988, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_735B_90,	1700, 1324, 600, 988, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_735C_90,	1700, 1308, 600, 988, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_735D_90,	1700, 1276, 600, 988, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_725A_90,	1600, 1340, 600, 988, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_725B_90,	1600, 1324, 600, 988, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_725C_90,	1600, 1308, 600, 988, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_725D_90,	1600, 1276, 600, 988, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_715A_90,	1500, 1340, 600, 988, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_715B_90,	1500, 1324, 600, 988, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_715C_90,	1500, 1308, 600, 988, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_715D_90,	1500, 1276, 600, 988, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_778_90,	1600, 1116, 600, 988, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_758_90,	1500, 1116, 600, 988, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_738_90,	1400, 1116, 600, 988, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_773G_90,	1300,  956, 600, 812, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_773H_90,	1300,  940, 600, 812, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_773I_90,	1300,  924, 600, 812, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_773J_90,	1300,  908, 600, 812, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_773K_90,	1300,  892, 600, 812, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_773L_90,	1300,  876, 600, 812, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_753G_90,	1200,  956, 600, 812, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_753H_90,	1200,  940, 600, 812, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_753I_90,	1200,  924, 600, 812, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_753J_90,	1200,  908, 600, 812, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_753K_90,	1200,  892, 600, 812, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_753L_90,	1200,  876, 600, 812, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_733JG_90,	1100,  956, 600, 812, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_733JH_90,	1100,  940, 600, 812, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_733JI_90,	1100,  924, 600, 812, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_733JJ_90,	1100,  908, 600, 812, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_733JK_90,	1100,  892, 600, 812, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_733JL_90,	1100,  876, 600, 812, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_733_90,	1100,  940, 600, 812, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    	INTEL(PM_723_90,	1000,  940, 600, 812, INTEL_BUS_CLK),
    
    

    I have only ever tried up to 2GB of ram, I think I have previously said the chipset won't support more but there is often bad info on this stuff. It's standard non-ecc ddr2. You almost certainly won't need more than 2GB anyway.
    Watchguard's X****-e boxes all have the same board. The above applies to them all. The peak-e was originally far more expensive, hardly ever appears on ebay and offers no advantage for pfSense really.
    Core duo will definitely not work. 32bit only I'm afraid.

    Steve

    Thank you, Steve.    I never used CF before, only USB sticks.  So I guess I'm going to have to buy one of those, too.  I just purchased this one as it was dirt cheap:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/200708277134?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649

    I don't think 64bit is needed anyway and I take it that there are no dual core cpus are available for this x750e model, then.  The reason I ask is because I saw some 478 pin Pentium-M dual core versions.  A single core 1.7ghz should be strong enough for my needs.  It's a must that that I get a cpu with speedstep though because I am concerned with power usage.  That  SL8BA is the best I can get with speedstep for this Firebox x750e?  Any better model numbers for these mobile cpus, like one with a 4 or 8meg cache or HT perhaps?


  • Netgate Administrator

    There are faster compatible cpus. The Pentium-M 765 is probably the best you could get at 2.1GHz. However they almost never appear for sale and they command a very high price when they do. Just not worth it.
    Although there are dual core cpus that phisically fit and are basically two pentium-m chips in one package they aren't electrically compatible.
    If power is your highest priority there are low power and ultra low power pentium-m cpus but I've never seen one that is socketed, though it seems they may have been available:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_Pentium_M_microprocessors

    Steve



  • What about this SL7F3, it is 1.4ghz with only  TDP 10 watts for 10 bucks on Ebay… It even has speedstep. Do you think it'll be strong enough and will work with the x750e? All of those other low powered ones they want like between 50 to 130 bucks for them; that's crazy.


  • Netgate Administrator

    It should work. I.e. the voltage regulator on the board has to be able to go down to those low voltages but that shouldn't be a problem. It may not be any actual power saving over a standard Pentium-M. If you look at the voltage it's not any lower that some other CPUs, it's the high voltage that is lower. If your chip is running at idle most of the time (like mine is) then this may not save power. It would be interesting to find out though.
    It will be faster than the standard Celeron CPU. It's clocked higher, has more cache and more recent core revision.

    This would depend on you being able to get this CPU in a Socket 479 package and NOT a FC-µBGA. Personally I have never seen a LV Pentium-M that wasn't soldered to the board.

    Steve



  • Ah dang.. That cpu I was looking at is bga and not a socket type, crap.



  • Steve:

    Hey, you said you have the x750e down to 22 watts at idle here:

    http://forum.pfsense.org/index.php/topic,37022.0.html

    That's exactly what I'm looking to do to with mine and that sounds like great news to me. So this is possible?  What exactly were your steps to obtain this, did you buy a PicoPSU or something? Which CPU code number are you running with?


  • Netgate Administrator

    That was using a Chinese dc-dc power supply, like a picoPSU but bigger.
    http://forum.pfsense.org/index.php/topic,20095.msg170839/topicseen.html#msg170839

    Steve



  • What is "kirf" and which PicoPSU, the 60, 80, 120?  Is the power brick serving 12v or is it one of those 6-26 volt models? What is the model number of the Toshiba power brick?  Do you have a link to this chinese power supply, is it cheaper or better than the picopsu?

    –-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I went ahead and ordered a PicoPSU 120 WI version.  I have a dell power pack to tide me over.  What is the Toshiba model number and revision?  That's the most important part of the power consumption equation.

    So here's what I've purchased so far:

    Firebox x750e
    Sandisk Extreme 8GB 60mb/s  (on sale couldn't resist)
    CF reader/writer  (dirt cheap)
    PicoPSU 120 WI  (pricey booger)
    1x to 16x adapter for visual curiosity  (cheap)
    null modem cable                   
    I hope the 2GB ddr2 ram modules register in the system.  I have several pairs of those 
    Cheap winning jackpot bid on ebay so now I'll have my choice.  I hope that dirty SL7EM in the rough works. :-*

    I hope it all works…


  • Netgate Administrator

    Ah, sorry!
    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=KIRF

    Its a wide input model, 8-28V. The brick is 75W (15V, 5A) it gets quite warm so a better power brick might help.
    The PICOPSU is almost certainly far superior!

    Steve



  • @stephenw10:

    Ah, sorry!
    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=KIRF

    Its a wide input model, 8-28V. The brick is 75W (15V, 5A) it gets quite warm so a better power brick might help.
    The PICOPSU is almost certainly far superior!

    Steve

    What is the model number of that power pack and the kirf pico that you have, though?  If it's a lot cheaper than what I bought already, I can use them on other machines.  I went ahead and bought a supposedly genuine oem Toshiba labeled power brick @ 19v & 120w to match the picoPSU 120 WI I bought.  If it's overkill, I can still use it in one of the another two Atom boards I have or try it in a bigger 775 machine :)


  • Netgate Administrator

    The dc-dc power supply is 120W. I don't have it here right now but I imagine its marketed as different things anyway. I used a Toshiba power brick only because I happened to have it. I have no idea if it's particularly efficient.

    Steve



  • Cool.  The CPUs, CF reader/writer, CF card and null cable all came today.  The Fireboxs are still on the way.  I think the next time I post I'm just gonna open my own PFsense Firebox build thread since it's no longer questions about getting the hardware, but fact, that I have and not thinking about it anymore :)

    Thank a lot for the help, Steve.  You have a lot of valuable information on this site.


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