Dell PE1850 or ???
I'm currently running my pfsense on a Dell PE 1850 (quad 2.8 Ghz, 2GB memory, 10K scsi drive, etc). I'd prefer to run pfsense on more of an appliance (personal preference, I'm odd :D). Will I see a large performance degradation by going to something like a Firebox X700? If I stick with my current setup, I'll throw another nic in so I can take advantage of my dual network drops and have an Active/Standby setup. Can I do that with the Firebox? My biggest hesitation with changing out is the server is cake to upgrade and make it overkill for a firewall, the firebox is a lot more limited…
depends on what you're doing and how much traffic you're pushing. Something like a 1850 is hard to beat for a datacenter type setup, and I wouldn't replace it with a Firebox in such circumstances (its crap NICs are too flaky for me to trust one of those for anything remotely serious). If it's something you're running at home, that 1850 is sucking a lot of power, generating a lot of heat, and has far, far more power than you need. Finding an Atom platform or something along those lines with low power consumption could well pay for itself in power savings alone over 2-4 years.
Thanks, it is in a data center, so yeah power is not a huge concern. That's good to know about the fireboxes and the flakiness. I'll stick with the 1850 route then.
If you want to use a firebox use either the X-Peak, which has all Intel NICs, or the X-e box, Marvell Gigabit NICs. Both are far more powerful than the X700, both are way less powerful than a PE1850.
There are plenty of people using the X700 (or equivalent models) without issue but the Realtek NICs in them are flaky:
The RealTek 8139 PCI NIC redefines the meaning of 'low end.' This is
probably the worst PCI ethernet controller ever made, with the possible
exception of the FEAST chip made by SMC.