ITX-M52X42A (Atom D525 / Realtek 8111D Dual Gbit LAN) - Success



  • Hi there

    I hope you'll find this info useful. I have just installed pfSense 2.0.1 on this motherboard, so here are some details on what you can expect from it or some similar hardware. Note that even if another board has the same cpu, chipset and ethernet controllers, it may perform quite differently.

    HW details:

    Motherboard: M52X42A
    CPU: Atom D525 @1.8GHz
    RAM: 512 DDR2 @800MHz
    Ethernet controllers: 2x Realtek 8111D 10/100/1000
    Storage: 2GB USB stick
    pfSense ver.: 2.0.1-i386 (I have installed amd64 but I needed PPTP so I switched to this one (PPTP has some problems on amd64 at the moment). No noticable differences in performance between the two)

    Some performance tests:

    The system works on 100/100 PPPoE connection.  
    All options on System: Advanced: Networking:

    Disable hardware checksum offload,
    Disable hardware TCP segmentation offload
    and Disable hardware large receive offload are unchecked.

    Device polling OFF:

    Idle: Latency to PPPoE gateway: ~0.400-0.600ms, CPU load: ~0%
    Downloading a torrent with ~70 connected seeders @~50mbps (~6MB/s) (limited by the torrent client): Latency to gateway: ~1ms, CPU load: ~10%
    Downloading a torrent with ~70 connected seeders @~100mbps (~12MB/s): Latency to gateway: ~3ms, CPU load: ~20-35%

    Browsing while downloading is normal (no delays, packet losses or broken connections)

    Device polling ON:

    Idle: Latency to PPPoE gateway: ~0.600-0.800ms, CPU load: ~25%
    Downloading a torrent with ~70 connected seeders @~50mbps (~6MB/s) (limited by the torrent client): Latency to gateway: ~1-2ms, CPU load: ~28%
    Downloading a torrent with ~70 connected seeders @~100mbps (~12MB/s): Latency to gateway: up to ~5ms, CPU load: ~31%

    Once again the heavy traffic does not affect browsing.

    One important thing you may need to make is to make it automatically boot with option 3 from the boot menu (Boot from USB stick). Otherwise you may encounter some problems while booting:

    Either enable SSHd or use keyboard and monitor and use option 8. Shell.

    Type vi /boot/loader.conf.local and press Insert key

    Type this:

    hw.bce.tso_enable=0 (not needed - 10x to stephenw10)
    kern.cam.boot_delay=10000

    Press Escape and type :wq and press Enter

    Reboot (the easiest way is with shutdown -r now command)

    Voila!

    I made it as noob-proof as I could so everyone should be able to do it without problems. In the following week I will make some more tests and will check the VPN performance of this board. In fact D525 is quite powerfull so I expect a pretty solid speeds there.

    Update:

    Some initial info: 1 PPTP tunnel @20mbps constant traffic makes ~8-10% of CPU load


  • Netgate Administrator

    Real numbers are always great, thanks!  :)

    I have a couple of comments though.
    hw.bce.tso_enable=0 is doing nothing for you for two reasons. You don't have a Broadcom NIC (bce(4)) and you have already disabled TCP segmentation offloading anyway.

    You almost certainly shouldn't have device polling enabled. It is only any advantage if your system is continuously working at 100% when it can improve response. When you have polling enabled it uses all your spare CPU cycles to poll the network cards. You have a dual core CPU that supports hyperthreading so pfSense sees 4 cpu cores. One of them is running at 100% hence 25% cpu usage at idle.

    Steve



  • You are absolutely right! Just realized it's not needed at all… ::) I will try to max out the cpu but it's like a mission impossible at the current speeds. Speed has much bigger impact on cpu load than the number of simultaneous connections. A 50mbps download with a single connection and with 50-80 simultaneous connections makes a difference of only 1-2% CPU load.



  • My hardware is:

    • Mainboard P5B VM SE
    • CPU E4500
    • RAM DDR2 2G (dual)
    • Additional NC360T card
      Once, I install pfsense on memory stick Transend 16G JT300. Installation is OK but the connection lost frequently (may be every 30s). I though that it was because of memory stick. What should I do to avoid it?
      Please help


  • is pfsense working fine from usb stick ?speed is enough….



  • @bmironb:

    is pfsense working fine from usb stick ?speed is enough….

    In short - yes. Even if I force the port to usb 1.1 it still loads the os quickly. Didn't have the chance to measure the time as it is under heavy use since I've configured it but I'm pretty sure it loads in less than a minute. Booting from USB shouldn't affect the network performance in any way.


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