How many cores/cpus does a pfsense box really need?



  • In what instance does a pfsense box ever need a quad core cpu? Or an i5, or i7.

    I love setting these boxes up for businesses but I want to start building cheap custom computers soley for pfsense. I was thinking of a i3 motherboard with the cheapest processor using 4GB or 8GB of memory, with a 40GB SSD hard drive. I like to use high quality hardware though like all intel. I was going to use a pci 1x gigabit nic with 2 pci gigabit nics. the pci's would be used for WANs and the pci 1x would be for LAN.

    What do you guys think?



  • @elementalwindx:

    In what instance does a pfsense box ever need a quad core cpu?

    When it has to do a "quad core" job. The basic firewall can't really use more than a couple of cores (the firewall itself is reported to be single threaded, so one core for it and one core for applications). I don't know if any of the "significant" applications are multi-threaded.

    @elementalwindx:

    I love setting these boxes up for businesses but I want to start building cheap custom computers soley for pfsense. . . . I like to use high quality hardware though like all intel.

    Sound like you want quality without unnecessary expense, in which case 4GB is way overkill for "basic" firewall.

    The Intel D2500CC motherboard has 2 x Intel PCI-E Nics on board, a PCI slot that can take a riser card accepting two PCI cards, a mini PCI-E slot (could be used for a wireless NIC) and can take up to 4GB RAM. It might be worth considering though there are currently some problems for which a FreeBSD fix has been reported but not yet a pfSense fix. See the Hardware forum for reports on this board and a number of other mini-ITX boards.



  • Two cores/CPUs is about the most that gets you significant benefit today. In a year or two, that'll be different.


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