Proliant DL320 G3 or perhaps another hardware solution

  • Complete noob here.  Looking forward to utilizing pfsense.

    Picked up a DL320 G3 from eBay to play around with and to also try to learn pfsense in order to implement it in my simple home network. The 320 functions fine and I ran pfsense some this past weekend without issue. The problem I'm having is the fans on the 320, when placed in a closet with no real airflow, they sound like a 747.  I can hear them throughout the house and it just wont cut it for 24/7 use. So, if anyone has any recommendations about how to tame the fan noise that would be great. If not, then I'm entertaining the idea of selling the 320 and trying a mini itx atom or via setup. My only concern is whether or not an atom/via setup will be able to handle Gigabit LAN for pushing files around or any streaming of files. Not sure if it makes any difference but my current ISP service is 20Mb down 2Mb up.

    Thanks in advance.

  • Most normal home-networks uses a switch for communication between the internal devices. In most cases with Pfsense, you have a router and then connect the LAN-port to a switch to separate it and so that the router isnt working when the local devices are sharing data for example.

    An Atom will handle 20/2 like a charm. I'm currently running a VDSL 28/4 on a Celeron 300 MHz with no problems.

  • ahhh.  so for traffic that would be client to client on my local network the pfsense box wouldn't even be in the equation, the switch would handle that?  so with that logic, a gigabit nic on the pfsense box is unnecessary…. correct?  if so, i've seen some dual 10/100 nic alix setups on ebay that should suffice?

    .........quite eye opening

  • Netgate Administrator

    An Alix is good for around 85Mbps of routing/NAT so can easily handle your connection.

    However you should consider that you may want to use other features of pfSense which would place additional load on the box. VPN, web proxy, additional interfaces etc.
    The sort of people who go to the trouble of running pfSense at home are also likely to be running servers, multiple wifi networks etc, are you?  ;)

    A common usage is to put your wifi network on a separate interface to isolate it from your wired network. That way you can filter the traffic between LAN and WLAN, or block it completely, whilst still allowing internet access. If someone cracks your WPA key they can't access your local machines. However this means that traffic between LAN and WLAN, if you choose to allow it, has to be routed through the pfSense box which might be a restriction using an Alix.


  • Thanks for that info as well Steve. I'm just a wanna-be nerd and hope to eventually have a nice server built and perhaps a more extensive home network setup. I don't have a real need for isolating the wifi from my LAN at the moment, but I could always change my mind regarding that. My main interest in pfsense, or even smoothwall for that matter, is traffic shaping. I can't really tell that my current wndr 4000 does much of anything regarding qos.  So I figured I'd go this route and then hopefully learn a thing or two along the way.

  • if i can figure out the pinouts for the fan headers, i'm seriously considering just keeping the 320.  if i can remove the noisy fan assembly i can mod the case to fit a new cpu cooler and perhaps a couple 90mm fans or maybe even a nice big 120mm (haven't measured yet).  i'm just not sure how i would go about defeating the mobo's fan fault protection.  any one that can provide insight into this would be appreciated.

  • Netgate Administrator

    Are they some proprietary connector?


  • Yeah, I think 7 pins and it powers 2 fans.  I'd have to look again.

  • as an update, i did get this sorted out.  posting the info in the event it may help someone else.

    first off….. its been years and years since i've had schooling in electronics, circuits, etc, etc.  i mostly just fumbled around and guessed whilst hoping to not cook something on the board.

    ok, so here's what went down on the fan removal process.....

    i started out testing the voltage on the headers while the server was running.  only two showed voltage with reference to ground.  they only had ~6v on them as the fans weren't running full bore at that time.  for whatever reason, at this time the speed sensor wires showed no voltage on them.

    next i decided to remove a stacked fan assembly so i could break it down, trace wires and see what i was really dealing with.  turns out, its wasn't anything special......

    just two 3-wire fans.

    the wires in the header are as follows…..

    red = +12v
    blue = RPM Sensor
    black = ground
    grey = ground
    double grey = ground
    green = RPM Sensor
    orange = +12v

    i then, took a small 12v battery and put that to the red and black wires of a fan to power it and used my multimeter to see if a voltage was output on the rpm sensor.  there was indeed and it showed a ~6v or 7v signal which then led me to the idea of putting some voltage to the rpm sensor wire on the header.  i also measured the resistance across the blue and black wires, this gave me about 60 ohms.  from that sprung the idea of using a resistor to simulate a fan as well as hopefully give me a correct signal with which to put to the sensor wire (blue and green wires).

    as luck would have it i just so happened to have some 1/2 watt 68 ohm resistors among a few scattered bits i had laying around.  i initially used just one resistor to replace only one of the 8 fans in the fan assembly.  the resistor however was a bit warm to the touch.  i could hold it just fine without any fear of getting burned.  but just to make sure it wouldn't burn out i used four resistors in series/parallel.  i'm not sure if that makes the capacity only 1 watt or 2 watt.  either way, it should cope fine.

    how the resistor is wired  (very crude)

    instead of doing this for every header, i decided to try jumping the RPM signal to each header which worked brilliantly.

    finished harness….... or whatever you would call it.....

    not sure if anything else needs be added.  if any questions, just ask.  i've prolly forgotten something.  like i said, i mostly fumbled my way through this and got lucky.

  • Speaking as someone who has run server equipment at home (2x Dell PowerEdge 2850's) I can say it seems cool for a while, till you get a few power bills, then the cool wears off.  I was using them as a VMWare cluster for a while, now I consolidated all the VMs down to a standard Core 2 Duo desktop (HP DC7700 with 8GB of ram.)

    Noise wasn't so much an issue, though, they were in the garage, and 2850's aren't that loud when they're otherwise running fine.

    My power bill got up to $320/mo, since I shut them off it's back down to $200-$250, although weather changes may have played a bit in to it, gas heat is consolidated in to the one bill and I haven't taken the time to calculate it out.

  • i was going to purchase a atom or alix setup, but i already had purchased this and wanted the higher power cpu and it gave me a project to fool with.  i'll see how the electric bill goes, but i've never noticed much of a difference in the bill, even when i use to leave my gaming tower running 24/7 (hexacore o'clocked and crossfire setup).

    here's a few pics of what i ended up with, not pretty, but it works and was fun to build.

  • Netgate Administrator

    Nice.  :)
    Is that an unenclosed switch?
    Not too sure about that PSU though.
    Also I think you may have voided the guarantee!


  • Yeah, brand new 8 port giga switch , couldn't have left the case on it, that would have been tacky.  ;D

    I wasn't terribly comfy with the psu exposed, so I put a plexi shield on top for a bit of protection.  I have no children and its mounted in a closet so im not too worried.  Ill use this as an entry into pfsense and try to learn then later on build me something a bit more conventional.

  • Can you draw a layout of all resitor connections please?